Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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Bald Hill Climb

Otautau, Southland

Submitted by Bryan Stout

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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Grunt Factor: 37

Gnarl Factor: 48








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Very hilly

Native bush

Plantation/exotic forest

Open tussock/grasslands

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Farm Road / 4WD Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +15.7%

Average Downhill Gradient: -14.9%


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Estimated Times to Run

Not suitable






Tracks in the Longwoods are notoriously muddy. This makes for a challenging ascent over the many tree roots etc, pushing off/up from a soft ground footing.

Follow the 4wd forestry road as it winds upward approx 5km to the end. Note the Te Araroa Trail markers beside the road/track once you leave the forestry block. At the road end, enter the bush and continue your ascent. Carefully follow the orange triangle track markers toward Bald Hill for approx 4km more. The final km ascends across tussock and low scrub and is marked by orange poles before arriving at the trig and transmission tower.

Retrace your steps to return to the start.

Bald Hill trig, and scenic view (weather dependent)

Park on side of the secluded rural road. No public transport option. Best take a phone and let others know of your plans.

18 km

16 minutes




Once in the bush, watch for orange triangles regularly. Be prepared to back track for 10-20m if you can't see any ahead of you, as the track winds about a little to avoid long-fallen logs and boggy patches.


Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.

Water available at start and end only; from Merry Creek, accessed a short distance down a 4WD track that departs Merrivale Road on the left-hand side, just beyond the final farm paddock.

Parts of this run are likely to be very, very muddy for much of the year. Definitely best in summer, but may still be muddy if there has been recent rain. Also may be exposed at/on the top as the tree line is 800m from the summit.

Lots of fallen branches and trees to navigate (consider wearing calf socks or trail-gators), and a few good bogs (make sure your shoes are tied on well & rinse them off in Merry Creek on your way out!)

Trail Legend


Jo Steven

has completed Bald Hill Climb once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Great run with a nice mix of technical tree rooty mud-hopping and easier sections where you can stretch your legs. The forest around the parking area is currently being logged, so be mindful if there when machinery is working.

Jo Steven

March 27, 2023

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