Rediscovering freedom: Mt Cargill loop

A view from the Mt Cargill loop. Photo: Clare Fraser
A view from the Mt Cargill loop. Photo: Clare Fraser
We’ve recently discovered the pleasure of the local walk. Why not walk on?

If you’ve been loving your lockdown walks, you might feel like something a little longer now we’re allowed to roam free. The one-way track up Mt Cargill can be linked to a downhill road to become a half-day loop walk.

Starting at the far end of Bethune’s Gully, the high-quality Mt Cargill Track takes you through some beautiful bush. Mountain bikes aren’t allowed on the track, but there are plenty of other dedicated tracks in Bethune’s Gully.

After initially walking through pine forest, the vegetation becomes healthy native forest and even includes a trackside mature rimu. You can drink from the creeks that cross the track and they taste great.

Partway up there’s a five-minute loop track with views up the hill. With its sunny aspect, this loop makes a great destination in its own right.

If you’re continuing on, it’s a nice even gradient, giving the legs a good workout. It’s also a great chance to switch off mentally and simply mellow out.

All of a sudden you hit the bush line and pass through the subalpine vegetation zone. You’re not too far from the summit, but get ready for some steep steps first.

The A.H. Reed Track nips around the base of the summit and has a couple of sunny lunch spots with views along the north coast.

The track ends at Cowan Rd, where there are some pretty special native plants to admire. Now it’s a long straight walk down the spine of Mt Cargill with great views over Dunedin.

The high-quality Mt Cargill Track takes you through some beautiful bush. Photo: Clare Fraser
The high-quality Mt Cargill Track takes you through some beautiful bush. Photo: Clare Fraser
Follow the tarseal route back towards town, keeping your eyes peeled for ripe blackberries near Pine Hill.

Once you rejoin the suburbs, there’s still lots to look at, including an impressive set of powerlines crossing a bush-clad gully at eye height.

Walking back to the starting point makes for a round trip of about four to five hours.

 

 

 

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