Experience the rugged hills just beyond the city while enjoying a remarkable variety of bird and plant life. Follow the contours of the valley and wander alongside Careys Creek, tucked away behind Blueskin Bay.
From the carpark on Double Hill Road, the track will take you to Evansdale Glen/Waimoi.
The gradient is initially mellow through kānuka and regenerating native forest. The track reaches some benches. This is a pleasant rest stop to enjoy the surrounds before descending steps through steep terrain into the gully. The track can be muddy and slippery as there are exposed rocks and roots.
The track crosses the creek numerous times and is muddy in places with exposed slippery rocks and roots. Tramping boots are recommended. Be aware water levels of the creek may be higher after periods of rainfall and the track muddier.
Careys Creek Track joins with with Rongomai Track and Honeycomb Track which can make a loop for a challenging side trip.
Alternatively, the track can be walked in the opposite direction from Evansdale Glen.
Side trip: Honeycomb Track and Rongomai Track Loop
Honeycomb Track distance: 1.8 km 60 min one way
Honeycomb Track ascends quickly away from the gully floor. Initially greeted with thick fern undergrowth, the bush opens up as the track climbs the ridge. This stretch is steep and rocky and often muddy. There are sections of exposed rock and uneven ground.
Honeycomb Track finishes at the logging road. There is a small section of the road to be walked to reach the beginning of Rongomai Track. Be careful on this section as the road is actively used by logging trucks.
Rongomai Track distance: 2.2 km 40 min one way
Rongomai Track starts at the beginning of a paper road through forestry, before turning into native bush at a rocky outcrop and descending into the valley. The track is rocky and ground uneven in places.
The loop can be walked from either direction. Both routes have challenging sections, however the gradient of Rongomai Track is more gradual overall.
There is an informal old forest worker track which transects Honeycomb and Rongamai Track, this is not maintained.
Careys Creek Track via Double Hill Road Entrance: Access is via State Highway One north of Dunedin – turn left just after Waitati, at Double Hill Road, which becomes Semple Road. The car park is an open area on your right and will have a sign identifying Careys Creek Conservation Area.
Careys Creek Track via Evansdale Glen Entrance: Access is through Evansdale Glen Scenic Reserve. Continue along State Highway One past the turn off to Warrington, access to Evansdale Glen is via a gravel signposted road on the left as the highway turns up the hill.
Flash flooding can occur during periods of high rain fall. Avoid the area during or immediately after periods of heavy rain.
This track involves creek crossings and can be slippery and muddy. Wear tramping boots.
Take care on Honeycomb and Rongamai Track. The tracks traverse ridges and trampers are exposed to high points which can be slippery and unstable due to the rock formation.
Stay safe when crossing rivers
If you plan to cross unbridged rivers, know how to cross safely and be prepared for if you cannot cross.
Do not cross if the river is flooded, you cannot find safe entry and exit points or are unsure it’s safe. Turn back or wait for the river to drop - which often takes a few hours after rain.
Logging trucks use Double Hill and Semple Road, take care when walking or driving. Drive with lights on.
The entrance to Rongamai and Honeycomb Track from the forestry road (Steep Hill Road) are not accessible via car as there is a locked forestry gate. The last formed car park is on Steep Hill Road at the entrance to the Silverpeaks Circuit Track, approximately 5km from Honeycomb Track entrance.
Black Gully Dam wall is still in place. Do not walk on the dam wall. There is a significant fall hazard.
Hunting: a permit is required to hunt on Public Conservation Land. For more information see the Careys Creek hunting page.
A range of native birds can be identified while walking these tracks: korimako/bellbird, kererū/NZ pigeon and pīwakawaka/fantail, as well as ngirungiru/South Island tomtit and toutouwai/New Zealand robin.
The gully is filled with a variety of vegetation which changes throughout the journey as the track undulates down the gully alongside Careys Creek.
Open kānuka forest shifts into a blend of ponga, kōtukutuku/tree fuschia and low-growing ferns in the cooler, lower sections of the terrain. There are occasional clusters of horoeka/lancewood throughout.
Black Gully Dam is situated on Careys Creek. The dam used to provide water to the Seacliff Medical Hospital. Remnants of the pipework can be seen along the length of the track.
The dam and pipeline were built in the early 1900s. At the time it was the largest public building in New Zealand. It was used until the 1950s when it was replaced with a greater water supply from elsewhere.