Chapman Road Scientific Reserve

Image: Mike Thorsen | ©


Discover rare native plants and moths in this reserve – visit in the summer months to best appreciate them.

Place overview


  • Bird and wildlife watching

Find things to do and places to stay Chapman Road Scientific Reserve

About this place

Nature and conservation

Salt pans

The soils of this reserve are highly saline (salt-rich), commonly known as salt pans. Salt pans used to cover more than 40,000 ha within the Central Otago region. Today there are fewer than 100 ha remaining. This habitat destruction is caused by a combination of factors including irrigation, mining and erosion.

Rare flora and fauna

Chapman Road Scientific Reserve to home to small and beautiful rare plants, and two rare and threatened species of native moths.

DOC's work

Due to the loss of habitat and competition from exotic weed species, most of the plants and moths in the reserve are endangered. DOC monitors these species and completes annual weed and rabbit control to protect these native species.

Natural and human history

A hundred million years ago Otago had large mountains, formed by the Manuherikia faults that uplifted schist bedrock where gold was formed. Those mountains have since eroded away. Evidence of gold mining in the 1860s can still be seen at this site today.

Getting there

Just south of Alexandra, turn off SH8 onto Earnscleugh Road, then into Chapman Road.

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