IntroductionPicnic at Boielle Flat, swim in the Waiotauru River, raft or kayak the Ōtaki River gorge, or enjoy short walks through Tararua Forest Park. Visitors can also see the steam-powered sawmill at Sheridan Creek, which operated from 1930 to 1938.
Find things to do and places to stay Ōtaki Forks area
The Otaki River Gorge is popular for rafting and kayaking. It is a grade 2 river.
The Ōtaki Gorge Road is closed to vehicles and pedestrians until further notice due to a major slip.
There is an emergency track that you can walk to gain access to Ōtaki Forks. It is 5 km long and can be accessed 200 m past the locked gate on the Ōtaki Gorge Road.
Boielles Campsite is the only open campsite in the area. Blackgate campsite is permanently closed.
Open river terraces and regenerating bush surrounding the forks reflect the farming and sawmilling history.
The steam powered sawmill at Sheridan Creek, Ōtaki Forks, operated from 1930 to 1938. It was a shoestring operation and worker safety was not a priority. But during the depression employees were pleased to have a job.
Logs were brought down a bush tramway by a rail tractor, the route included the steepest grade (1 in 5) recorded on a bush tram. There were several accidents.
The operation closed unexpectedly in 1938 when a flood washed out the bridges. Much has survived and it is a relatively complete timber industry heritage site. The site is managed as a remote experience ‘discovery’ site.
Restoration work has included the rust arrest of the log hauler and timber mill boiler. Two sections of original tramway have been excavated, placed onto new sleepers and treated with metal preservatives. The turntable has also been rebuilt.