The Stewart Creek access tracks to the Matatiaho Conservation Area are closed annually for fawning between 20 November and 20 December.
Craig Burn carpark to Craig Burn: 4 km return
This formed walking track leaves the carpark and travels for 2 km to the lower Craig Burn, a pleasant place to have a picnic. Return to the carpark the same way.
The end of the track meets the Matatiaho Conservation Area boundary. There are no formed tracks above this point until you reach the ridgeline - access is via scrubby, steep, and rocky terrain.
Exit from the Conservation Area is either returning the same way or via the Glen Dene Ridgeline Track to Stewart Creek carpark – from the Conservation area boundary this exit is 15 km, 5-7 hours one way.
Craig Burn carpark is just off the Lake Hawea section of SH6, 20 minutes’ drive north of Wanaka Township.
Matatiaho Conservation Area includes the lower reaches of the Long Valley goldfield, one of the few gold mines recorded around Lake Hāwea.
The rush to Long Valley began when a few men struck gold 6 km up the valley. ByJuly 1880 there were 60 men on the diggings, increasing quickly to 200. Early miners scoured the creek banks for gold as they made their way from here up to Mount Burkeand Craig Burn creeks, seeking the sourceof the gold. But as the gold finds dried up, so did miners’ enthusiasm: by winter 1881, only two remained.
Little remains of this once-active goldfield. Although it was short lived, the Long Valley goldfield gave birth to a town further up the Craig Burn. At one stage this settlement boasted three stores and two butcheries.
You can view an interpretation panel at Craig Burn carpark. Download information on the panel (PDF, 4,321K).
Adverse weather: The weather can change rapidly in New Zealand. Hypothermia is a real risk even in summer. Be prepared by having warm, windproof clothing and the appropriate footwear. Whiteout conditions caused by snow or low cloud may be present.
Be avalanche alert: This area has terrain that can produce avalanches that cross the track, usually from May into November. View avalanche information and the terrain rating for this track.
Private property: This track crosses private land. Respect the landowner's livestock and property: stay on the marked track until you reach the conservation land, leave gates as you find them and use stiles where provided. Livestock can be unpredictable – keep your distance at all times/go around if necessary.
No camping until the conservation area boundary.