Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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Waipori Falls Government Track

Mosgiel, Otago

Submitted by Kieran Philip

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 29 ?

Gnarl Factor: 21 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Urban fringe

Out and Back

Undulating, some big hills

Native bush

Run Makeup


Sealed Road

Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +12.0%

Average Downhill Gradient: -12.0%


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Estimated Times to Run







The route follows the Government Track, which was the original “road” from Berwick through to the Waipori gold fields. Over 20 men were employed during the 1860’s to form this publicly-funded work, which was never much more than a bridle track unsuitable for wheeled traffic. When completed, it provided a cheaper alternative route to bring in supplies (horse drawn) from Dunedin, which previously had to be carted round via Lawrence (excerpt from Taieri Recreational Tramping Club).

The track is signposted on the main road, and then is very easy to follow from there on. It winds its away up through the bush and gullies for about 8.5km, then comes out on to the plateau. If you don't fancy running down to (and back out of) Waipori Falls then this is a good spot to turn around. From the top end, take a left on the road and follow the power line track down into Waipori Falls. The track ultimately pops out at the picnic area there and then you can jaunt up to Crystal Falls while your down there. It is then a trudge back up the hill and back to whence you've come from.

Waterfall, Native Bush

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A bit of parking, quite secluded, but not a spot well frequented. I'd hide or take valuables.

30 km

28 minutes




On your way down to Waipori Falls, there is a little fork in the track (near some Dalek-looking power equipment on your right), keep going straight through which then turns in to a narrower bush trail.


Windproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map

Lots of wee creeks.

Windy up on top, maybe some snow if you're lucky, but it is mostly sheltered and should be fine (but muddy) to run all year round.

Fallen trees on track can make footing dodgy at times.

Trail Legend


Clare Gunton

has completed Waipori Falls Government Track once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

98% runnable, 99% awesome (1% off for Ongaonga). One of my faves - some of the quietest and best single track in the region. The run back up from Waipori Falls is cruel and unusual punishment. Amazing this track isn’t covered in trail runners every weekend.

Mike Heydon

September 24, 2022

Government track is great until you get to the ridge and meet the pylons + clay access road - not so great in the damp.

Gwilym Rivett

June 7, 2020

This trail is deceptive! What looks like level ground under the forest cover is actually constantly ascending, leading to a higher than expected HR on what appears to be easy track. During my visit it was slow going due to the sheer number of small branches on the trail, further along as the description says there are many small creek crossings and some quite muddy areas that threaten to suck your shoes off if you're not careful. There are numerous downed trees which require a bit of scrambling and a rockfall along the path. Once you get to the power lines it's and easy and straight shot to the downhill, which is STEEP! You're treated to a beautiful view of Waipori falls and the falls themselves once you descend near the town. The description for the hike back up is accurate. If the sun is out it is a trudge. Extremely steep on gravel make for slow going but once you're back on the track and passed the rockfall and downed trees its an easy and fun run all the way back to the start. The trail doesn't appear to be visited by many people because it is overgrown in many of the single track sections which will slow your progress. I'm surprised there aren't more people because the track itself is wonderful to run with varying landscapes and views, but I was the only person I saw the entire time I was out there. Make sure you have long sleeves as about 3/4 of the way there are nettles that give a nasty sting if you pass through them with bare arms and be sure to bring basic necessities as there is no mobile coverage at any part of the trail.

Nicholas Rutledge

October 21, 2018

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