Clarke Flat & Te Wanahu Flat tracks

Walking Trail
Clarke Flat & Te Wanahu Flat, Canterbury

10 mins - 3 hrs, easy difficulty

About the trail
Easy Walking Track / Advanced Tramping Track. Various Walks.
Look out and listen for bellbirds/korimako, riflemen/tītitipoumanu, grey warblers/riroriro, tomtits/miromiro and silvereyes/tauhou. Discover a variety of vegetation and a waterfall on these walks - shorter options are suitable for children.

Dog friendly: No

Things to know

Various Tracks & Grades. Cellphone coverage in the Peel Forest area is poor.

Kahikatea Walk

Time: 1 hr return
Distance: 1.9 km
Track category: Walking track

This track can be accessed from near the campgroud at Clarke Flat or the roadside at Te Wanahu Flat.

This track offers flat easy walking, with board walks over wetter areas. Saw pits are a reminder of the fate of most of this forest, with just a remnant of kahikatea swamp forest remaining. 

Acland Falls From Clarke Flat

Time: 30 min one way
Distance: 600 m
Track category: Walking track  

The track climbs steeply and then drops into a small stream. The falls (14 m) are a short walk up the streambed.

The sunnier and drier aspect of this northern flank of the park has produced vegetation strikingly different from that found elsewhere, dominated by fuchsia, māhoe, kōwhai and kānuka.

A loop walk can be made by coming back along the western section of Allans Track to Te Wanahu Flat. Then, either cross the road and walk down steps to Kahikatea Walk and turn left back to Clarke Flat, or walk back down the road to Clarke Flat.

From Te Wanahu Flat

Time: 25 min one way
Distance: 800 m
Track category: Walking track   

Follow the track from Te Wanahu Flat, turning right after about 500 m where Allans Track joins on the left. Once in the stream bed, a short walk upstream takes you to Acland Falls.

Fern Walk

Time: 1 hr 30 min one way
Distance: 3.3 km
Track category: Walking track  

Start this track at Te Wanahu Flat.

The early part of the track passes through Mills Bush,16.2 hectares of virgin podocarp forest containing giant lowland tōtara, mataī and kahikatea trees, many of them probably 1000 years old. Their roots are spread across the path. Ferns abound along the walk – most of the 68 species of ferns in Peel Forest can be seen along the way.

Look out and listen for bellbirds/korimako, riflemen/tītitipoumanu, grey warblers/riroriro, tomtits/miromiro and silvereyes/tauhou.

Big Tree Walk

Time: 15 min one way
Distance: 870 m
Track category: Short walk

This track starts at Te Wanahu Flat.

There are large mataī, kahikatea and lowland tōtara along the track, some of which are thought to be 1000 years old. The largest tree, a huge lowland tōtara, is almost three metres across. Look out for the remains of a bush tramway route running alongside this track. At the top of the embankment you can see the original width of the tramway, marked by wooden edging.

Allans Track

Time: 2–3 hr return via Fern Walk
Distance: 5 km
Track category: Tramping track 

Start at Te Wanahu Flat.

Follow Acland Falls Track from Te Wanahu Flat and turn left onto Allans Track after about 500 metres. Allans Track then joins Deer Spur before dropping steeply to Fern Walk, which can be followed back to the starting point. This track passes through a range of botanical communities from the tall podocarp forest near the valley floor to the subalpine and alpine vegetation on the higher slopes.

River Access

Time: 10 min return
Distance:  800m
Track Category:  Walking track

The track provides access to the Rangitata River from Clarke Flat.  River levels may rise rapidly following heavy rain. The track is also used by a local horse trekking business.

Getting there

9.5 km north of Geraldine, turn off SH72 (Inland Scenic Route) into Peel Forest Road, which becomes Rangitata Gorge Road. Clarke Flat and Te Wanahu Flat are 600 m apart on Rangitata Gorge Road, approx. 14 km from SH72.

Know before you go

Cellphone coverage in the Peel Forest area is poor.

Source: Department of Conservation

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