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Black Gully - Blue Mountains, Otago

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Black Gully - Blue MountainsBeginner - Intermediate

Submitted by Mike Tennent

Info Info
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Trail Information







Front country - easily accessible



Native bush
Plantation/exotic forest
Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops

Beginner - Intermediate

3:00 (Slow)
2:15 (Moderate)
1:20 (Fast)



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From the DOC sign in the reserve take the trail to the right into the bush and over the small bridge.

At the first sign take the straight ahead option for Black Gully Trail Loop. From there it is steady climbing, a few flat bits. You will descend to a stream crossing, look to the left and you will see the orange triangles about 30 - 40 metres downstream. Either cross there or pick your way along the bank or head down the stream... up to you.

After that it is just climb and climb, following the ubiquitous orange triangles ever upward. Eventually you will get up above the treeline at about the 4km mark and a short climb on a poled route to the trail intersection and DOC sign. This sign says 1km to Black Gully Track and points right... going right is correct, but it will be 1.5 to 2km until you come to the next DOC sign.

This stretch is swampy in places and you will probably get wet feet. When you reach the next sign at first you will see it says nothing about Black Gully Track... until you check the back. There it says head right and 2km ....once more they fib, it's about 3km to the carpark.

Be careful navigating the tussock above the treeline as some of the poles have fallen over, but the trail is pretty easy to follow. Once back in the trees the downhillers amongst you will thrive, about 80% of the downhill is open and runnable... enjoy!

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Features of interest

Views forever on a good day. Wonderful beech forests and some knarly trail.

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 5%

Technical Single Track: 45%

Moderate Single Track: 20%

Easy Single Track: 30%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 0%

Gravel Road: 0%

Sealed Road: 0%

Route Data


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    At the very end of Black Gully Road just out of Tapanui, head through the gate and find a park. The trail entrance is behind the playground at the far end of the park from the entrance.

    Plenty of parking in the reserve.

    45 km

    34 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    There are nearly always orange triangles and then poles, but care is still required. The only confusing bit is the stream, remember, look left.


    Waterproof leggings, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions).

    Water from streams at various places on the trail.

    Could get very slippery in winter. Also after heavy rain you would probably not cross the stream.

    Lots, technical trail, angled trail (sideways) often you can't see where you are putting your feet. A trail that deserves respect.

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