Natural bush and spectacular views over the Southland plains are just two of the many reasons the trails around Dolamore Park and the Croydon Bush Reserve should be on everyone's must-do list.
Dolamore Park is the gateway to many pleasant easy walking tracks through native forest with varying lengths from a quick 10-minute stroll to a longer four-hour adventure.
The walking tracks are in good condition and can be walked throughout the seasons. Cautioned is needed in wet weather as tracks can become slippery tracks. Good footwear is recommended.
Visitors can take the time to discover many native plant and wildlife, which can be found in the Hokonui Hills. Or they can head to the top of Poppelwell's Lookout to take in the amazing and expansive views.
Pick the one perfect for you. Here's some of the tracks in the park, please note times are approximate:
Time: 45 minutes return to lookout
Start Point: Dolamore Park car park northern track start.
Turn left after the bridge over the Waimumu Stream onto a well-formed track, which climbs gradually though mixed podocarp hardwood forest towards a ridge. After about 15 minutes, a sign marks a turn-off towards a lookout point, which on a clear day provides panoramic views of the Southland Plains and even Bluff Hill and Stewart Island.
A boardwalk section at the start of the track is accessible to wheelchairs.
Ridge – Sequoia Loop Track
Time: 30 mins to one hour
Start Point: Dolamore Park car park opposite the kitchen.
This walk offers magnificent views of the Mataura Valley. An alternative is to take either the Fantail or Sequoia track and return via the Whisky Creek track to the car park.
Whisky Creek Track
Time: 1 to 2 Hour Loop Track
Start Point: Dolamore Park car park northern track start.(
After crossing the Waimumu Stream, turn right along the boardwalk. This is wheelchair accessible. At the junction with the Dolamore Loop Track, turn right again, cross the bridge and climb steadily to a ridge, passing through podocarp hardwood forest.
A sign marks a turnoff to Poppelwell's Lookout where you will be rewarded with seats and a chance to take in commanding views of the Southland Plains. After returning to the main track, follow it to Whisky Creek, where a short side trip can be made to Whisky Creek falls.
There is the option of returning to the car park via the Ian Gilchrist Arboretum. In places you may see pinky/red coloured rocks, which are the result of an underground coalmine fire that burnt for several years heating the ground above. The names Whisky Creek and Whisky Falls originate from the days when illicit whisky stills flourished in the Hokonui Hills.