Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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High on Hikuwai

Wanaka, Otago

Submitted by Malcolm Law

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 9 ?

Gnarl Factor: 14 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Urban fringe


Undulating, small hills only

Dog Friendly

Native bush

Plantation/exotic forest

Run Makeup


Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +3.3%

Average Downhill Gradient: -4.0%


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Estimated Times to Run







This is a MTB trail developed by the good people at Bike Wanaka. It is clearly marked with 'Hikuwai Loop' signs at all key junctions:

These signs will only be visible if you run the route in a clockwise direction, which is also the safest way to do it given the MTB traffic.

The only part of the loop that might provide you with any navigational challenges is the section through the Outlet Campground. You enter this about 2.5k into the run. When you first hit the campground gravel road bear left for about 20m and then take the Mt Barker Track (also signposted with a smaller Hikuwai Loop sign). Just 50m further on turn left again on to the Mt Alta Track (which has another smaller Hikuwai Loop sign) and follow the campground road parallel to the river. About 100m further along (just after camp spot no. 64 & opposite camp spot no. 65 the trail bears off to the right and becomes single track again. Once more there is a Hikuwai Loop sign to show you the way. A short section of trail takes you downhill towards the river and emerges just short of the Outlet 4WD road. Here you turn right almost 180 degrees and head back uphill into mixed kanuka/pine, following the now familiar Hikuwai Loop signs.

The rest of the run is just a case of following the signs.... should be easy peasy!

Lovely regenerating kanuka bush; glimpses of lake, mountains and river

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

Parking is at the side of the road - room for 4 or 5 vehicles. Safe, but keep valuables out of sight just in case

4 km

5 minutes




Just follow the "Hikuwai Loop' MTB signs that are mostly at ground level

Generally good.

Short-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, First aid kit, Cellphone

No water on the route - bring your own

Can be a bit muddy after heavy rain and icy in winter

This is a MTB track - run it only in the prescribed clockwise direction, be alert for MTB'ers and give way if you meet any.

Trail Legend

Malcolm Law

Malcolm Law

has completed High on Hikuwai 5 times in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

At the eastern end just trust the signs (or downloaded GPS trail) ..... feels like you are going in circles the first time!

Neil Trimboy

January 23, 2021

Well worn track makes for easy running down to the lake front. Crystal clear water makes it easy to see the trout rising to take surface flies. No wind, no rain, no people. Gorgeous.

John OConnell

December 21, 2020

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