The designated 4WD tracks in Oteake Conservation Park are open between Labour Weekend and 30 April. During that period, if conditions are unsuitable and/or the tracks become prone to damage, they may be closed.
4WDs on the East Manuherikia Track
Distance: 19 km
From Hawkdun Runs Road a 4WD track crosses open grassland for about 3 km to the Manuherikia River junction. From here a popular, well-formed track follows the east branch and climbs steadily to Little Omarama Saddle, providing access to Oteake's tops and descends to Broken Hut Road carpark. This road is open to vehicles from Labour Weekend until 30 April.
Distance: 25 km
From Hawkdun Runs Road a 4WD track crosses open grassland for about 3 km to the Manuherikia River junction. From here the track follows the west branch along a rough track to the Omarama Saddle (1260m) and descends to Broken Hut Road carpark on a well-formed track. This is not a through road for vehicles from 1 April to Labour Weekend - vehicles can drive to Boundary Creek Hut and Top Hut but not beyond during this period.
Distance: 34 km
From Home Hills Runs Road, after crossing flat tussock grassland the track climbs steeply on a very narrow, rocky track to the crest of the Hawkdun Range; not recommend for inexperienced 4WDrivers. The track follows the range crest, descends Walking Spur then climbs onto a plateau. It descends again, crosses Boundary Creek, climbs once more, goes down to Guffies Creek and joins the Mt Buster Track.
Distance: 28 km
This is a steep climb on a well-formed track through open tussock to the Buster Diggings (6 km). There are, however, rough, steep areas past the Buster Diggings.
Caution: there is an active slip over the Mt Kyeburn 4WD track within the Timber Creek Conservation Area. The slip makes vehicle access difficult. Use extreme caution when crossing this slip. Do not attempt to cross if conditions do not allow for a safe vehicle passage.
Distance: 15 km
Hut Creek Road runs from the junction of Mt Buster and Johnstone Creek roads near Tailings Hut. It is 8 km from this junction to Hut Creek Hut. Beyond the hut the track becomes rocky, steep and narrow as it winds through a wonderful scenic gorge. The track ends at the park boundary with no access to the Waitaki Valley. The hill leading to Hut Creek Hut is not recommended for vehicles in wet conditions.
Distance: 14 km
This track provides amazing views down into Timber Creek as well as panoramic views of the Kakanui, Rock and Pillar and Ida ranges.
Mt Kyeburn can be accessed from either Mt Buster or Danseys Pass roads. From Buster Diggings at 1,200 m the track follows the ridge below the 1,560 m summit of Mt Kyeburn, at which point it becomes narrow and exposed and drops steeply down to Danseys Pass Road.
There are several access routes on both the Otago and Canterbury sides of the park, the mains one being Hawkdun Runs Road, Home Hills Run Road and Mt Buster Road in the Maniototo, and Broken Hut Road from the Waitaki Valley.
The vehicle bridge on Hawkduns Run Road is currently out. The vehicle ford is recommended for experienced 4WD users only.
Much of the public access into the park is along easements crossing private land. Please respect this by driving carefully, keeping to tracks and roads, and leaving gates as you find them.
4WD access is limited to the formed tracks described on this page and shown on the Oteake Conservation Park map, available from the local DOC office.
Do not go off the track or attempt routes you are unsure about; it may be very difficult to reverse or pass other traffic. Experience in rough conditions on steep terrain is essential: you should be self-reliant, with recovery equipment appropriate for the conditions and terrain.
These tracks may also be used by trampers and mountain-bikers. Drive carefully and consider other users.
The 4WD roads in the conservation park are often damaged by weather events. Be prepared to turn around if conditions are unsuitable for your vehicle or too challenging for your off road driving skills.
Repairs to the roads are ongoing.