Fernhill LoopBeginner - Intermediate
Submitted by James Harcombe
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Front country - easily accessible
Native bushPlantation/exotic forestOpen tussock/grasslands
Beginner - Intermediate
Head up the gravel track from the car park, until you reach the old power station. Turn right at this point and follow the obvious walking track. Cross the MTB track and continue on until you reach a wide footpath (about 5 mins walk). At this point turn left, then almost immediately right. From this point, the track is marked with orange arrows. After the first set of steep steps, the track traverses for a while before splitting in two next to an old tree stump. At this point, you will need to turn right uphill. Do not go downhill, as the track is difficult to pick up again from this left turn. Continue up through native beech, following the old pipeline and the orange markers.
At the dam you will need to follow the track to the right and continue on to a large clearance, that is usually occupied by downhill bikers nursing their wounds! You will need to join the obvious 4WD track for about 10m's, keeping a lookout for the track heading off to the left. It has track markers, and is parallel to the MTB track coming in from the left. Once you're on this track, navigation is pretty straightforward and obvious!
There is a river crossing that's normally quite easy, though could be dangerous in real wet conditions. The descent through the pine forest towards Fernhill, follows red tagged warratahs. Do keep your eye on these, as there are several MTB tracks that go off in a more obvious direct descent.
When you reach the bike park, you will need to turn right, then left, and descend through the middle of the bike park to join the wide footpath the other side. Turn left and head down. This then connects with the first junction you encountered on the way up.
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Features of interest
The track starts at the site of Queenstown's original power generator. There is an information board detailing this historic site (worth a read!). The track also follows the original pipeline, and passes the dam that supplied the water. At the first major clearance, it's not uncommon to spot Kea....
Make Up of Run
Technical Single Track: 30%
Moderate Single Track: 40%
Easy Single Track: 30%
Track start is up the gravel road that leads off from the North of the Fernhill Roundabout.
There is plenty of parking at the end of the aforementioned gravel road. Fernhill Roundabout is a short jog (5mins) from the centre of town.
Please refer to route description.
Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions).
There is a tap at the Midway Clearance (where the mountain bikers converge!). The tap is however disconnected during the Winter months. There are two creek crossings along the way.
Snow is often encountered on the exposed upper sections. As the track isn't very high, the snow tends to thaw and re-freeze, making for some pretty slippery conditions. The upper section tends to be muddy after rain.
As mentioned, the One Mile Creek crossing could be hazardous after very heavy rain. Watch out for the tree roots on the upper section.
Post run indulgence
Best selection of craft beer in town, and awesome fries!
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See other runs nearby:
Ben Lomond from One Mile
Mt. Crichton Loop
The Queens Drive and Wye Dome.
Mt Dewar Devil Creek Loop
Jacks Point to Queenstown Trail
One Mile - Gondola Scenic Route
Moonlighting to Sefferstown
Remarkables and Wye Creek
Lake Hayes Circuit
Queenstown Hill (Te Tapu-nui)
Moke Lake from Mt.Crichton
Moonlighting around Bowen Peak
Frankton to Morven Hill Return
Mount Aurum - Skippers
Around Ben Lomond
The Felic Relic
The Harcombe Round