Boardwalk with a spectacular view

Recent work has vastly improved the track from Leith Saddle to Swampy Summit.
Recent work has vastly improved the track from Leith Saddle to Swampy Summit.

Dunedin professional runner Anna Frost had competed in the some of the toughest trail and mountain races in the world. However, when she is home in Dunedin she enjoys getting back out on her early training grounds, the hills and beaches around the city. Here Anna shares the fourth of her favourite Dunedin runs, the Leith Saddle track to Swampy.

Leith Saddle Track to Swampy Summit.
Difficulty Level: Medium.
Walk time: 2hr. Anna's estimated run time 1hr.
Best thing: There is a nice new trail in, so easy walking access even if a little bit steep. The views of Dunedin and north are fantastic from up here.
Caution: Parking is at the top and at the side of the motorway so take care when pulling out or crossing the road.

Drive from Dunedin up the Northern Motorway (SH1) to the top (Leith Saddle). Turn left on to Waitati Valley Rd and find a park. A few metres down the road you will find the entrance to the track, on your left.

The track climbs a ridge along a 1.7km boardwalk which has 450 steps.

The track was originally opened in 1986 but the heavy use of the track, soil structure and heavy rainfall meant by the early 1990s it was a bog of knee-deep mud. The boardwalk is now a tunnel through undergrowth.

The slope of the track lessens where the ridge flattens out before emerging in scrub. Where the boardwalk ends, there is a short muddy section before the track emerges in tussock land.

Swampy Spur is a rocky high point on the ridge with impressive views up the coast and of Mt Cargill.

Continue up the track through tussock to the Telecom tower. Take the vehicle track to the summit of Swampy. Return the same route.

• Track information sourced from Dunedin Tracks and Trails, by Antony Hamel, and pamphlets available from the Dunedin City Council.



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