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Fernhill Loop, Otago

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Fernhill LoopBeginner - Intermediate

Submitted by James Harcombe

Info Info

Trail Information

8.10km

640m

640m

 

Otago

Queenstown

Front country - easily accessible

Loop

Very hilly

Native bush
Plantation/exotic forest
Open tussock/grasslands

Beginner - Intermediate

1:30 (Slow)
1:10 (Moderate)
0:55 (Fast)

-17.7%

+18.3%

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Description

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%


Route Data

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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    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.

    2 km

    5 minutes

    Yes

    No

  • Staying Safe

    Moderate.

    Please refer to route description.

    Generally good.

    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

    Smiths Brewery
    Shotover Street
    http://www.smithscraftbeer.co.nz
    Best selection of craft beer in town, and awesome fries!

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