Silver Peaks routes
Located in Dunedin area and Silver Peaks Scenic Reserve in the Otago region
IntroductionThe Silver Peaks Scenic Reserve provides challenging routes in rugged country, less than 30 minutes drive from Dunedin city.
Possum Shelter Route
Time: 2 - 3 hr
Distance: 3 km
From Green Hill, the route goes down to the south branch of the Waikouaiti River, passing the historic Possum Shelter, a memorial to the hut builders and old gold diggings from the depression years of the 1930s. The route climbs out to Mountain Road. Return to the car park via Mountain Road.
Swampy Ridge Track
Hightop to Swampy Summit
Time: 1 hr 30 min
Signposted from Hightop (on Silver Peaks Track), it takes approximately 1.5 hr to reach Swampy Summit. The track follows part of the historic route that linked the Waikouaiti and Dunedin settlements. The track beyond Swampy Summit continues to join the Leith Saddle Track, and by continuing along the ridge, the Flagstaff-Pineapple Walk (managed by the Dunedin City Council).
Silver Peaks Track
Mountain Road car park to Jubilee Hut
Time: 3 - 4 hr
Distance: 9 km
Ensure you follow the orange markers. The track begins from Mountain Road car park, and follows Green Ridge to the site of the former Green Hut (now a picnic or camping area without drinking water).
The turnoff to Possum Shelter Route is a little further up Green Hill. The track heads uphill from the Green Hut site and past the turnoff on the right that leads to Possum Hut. The sign beside it, 'Pulpit Rock' and the orange markers confirm the main track to the left. The track traverses a ridge and climbs steadily to Pulpit Rock. The 360º view from the pulpit includes the coast and many major inland ranges.
From Pulpit Rock and along the ridgeline you can view the Painted Forest, a significant stand of silver beech/tahina.
Tussock grass on Silver Peaks
Image: Liam Mcilvenna ©
This area is very exposed and weather conditions can change quite suddenly; Māori named this section Paekohu, or 'fog ridge', for good reason. At the sign for 'Jubilee Hut', follow the marked track uphill to the flat rocky crest for a commanding view of the neighbouring valleys and the Rock and Pillar Range.
The track then descends into the schist-tor-encrusted upland valley. After passing a prominent schist tor or obelisk, turn left to look down a steep ridge into the valley. From here Jubilee Hut can be seen in the distance, up on the valley's left flank. Reaching it means negotiating the aptly named Devils Staircase, an unbenched, steep 340 metre descent - take extreme care. At the bottom is a small campsite next to Cave Creek.
The track crosses the creek several times before reaching the sign on the true left, indicating Jubilee Hut is a 5 - 10 minute climb above the intersection.
Silver Peaks Route
Jubilee Hut to ABC Cave
Time: 2 - 3 hr
Distance: 3 km
From Jubilee Hut, return to the sign and cross over the creek to the original hut site. This was built by members of the Otago Tramping and Mountaineering Club in 1951 and removed when the new hut was built. The fireplace still remains. At the old hut site, take the track from behind the right hand side of the site, following the orange markers. This climbs the ridge to the north and meets an old farm track by a gate.
Follow the markers along the farm track then turn off at the sign to ABC cave.
ABC Cave to Philip J Cox Memorial Hut
Time: 2.5 hr
Distance: 4.8 km
Retrace your steps from ABC Cave to the main route and follow the marked route past The Gap and down Yellow Ridge before reaching Philip J Cox Memorial Hut.
Philip J Cox Memorial Hut
Philip J Cox Memorial Hut to Mountain Road
Time: 1.5 hr
Distance: 2.2 km
Descend the steep and narrow route, reaching the south branch of the Waikouaiti River. Take great care when crossing the river - it can be dangerous after heavy rain.
Beyond the Waikouaiti River is a grassy clearing with an 'experienced trampers only' sign. From here there's a steep clay track leading to Mountain Road.
Note: The road is closed to vehicles - it is 6 km from the route end back to the car park, taking approximately 1.5 hr.
East of Mountain Road
Black Gully Dam: 30 min, 1 km (return)
Careys Creek: 3 hr 30 min, 9 km (one-way)
Black Gully Dam Track is accessed from Semple Road and trampers can go right through to the Careys Creek Reserve at Evansdale. Also from Careys Creek are two routes that reach Mountain Road and can make for a good loop for fit parties.
From Dunedin, head north on SH1. Just past the Waitati Store at Blueskin Bay, turn left onto Double Hill Road, and then take the right fork, Semple Road, which runs into Mountain Road. The car park on Mountain Road gives access to the Silver Peaks route, Possum Shelter route and Swampy Ridge track.
Dogs are permitted from Mountain Road car park to Pulpit Rock only. Dogs must be on a leash.
A good standard of fitness, equipment and experience is necessary.
Although the Silver Peaks aren’t high by some standards, this is exposed, rugged, challenging country, with weather conditions that can change rapidly. It is often both fogged in and blasted by south-westerly storms or chilled by the prevailing nor-easterly.
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.
Map: Topo50 map sheet CE17 – Dunedin
Stay safe in the outdoors
- Take the right gear for your trip: Walking and tramping gear lists.
- Tell a trusted person your plans and when to raise the alarm if you haven’t returned. Send them the information directly, or use the Outdoor Intentions form or Plan My Walk.
- Follow the five essential steps of the Land Safety Code.
|Dunedin Visitor Centre|
|Phone:||+64 3 474 3300|
|Fax:||+64 4 471 1117|
50 The Octagon
PO Box 5244
|Full office details|