Hinewai Reserve

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Long Bay Road, RD3, Akaroa

Not far from the township of Akaroa (walking distance if you’re really game), lies an idyllic haven of regenerating native bush nestled in the wild south east corner of Banks Peninsula. A world teeming with diverse flora and fauna, Hinewai Reserve spans over 1250 hectares of protected land that’s open to the public, offering a unique invitation to explore and reconnect with nature.

Dive into the network of walking tracks, a spider web of paths that sprawl over 20km, each with unique Hinewai gems to discover. As you scale the many peaks or go in search of stunning waterfalls, pay attention to the diverse wildlife that surrounds you. Many species of fauna you’ll encounter in the reserve today are here as a result of over 35 years of conservation efforts. What was once marginal farmland, depleted of its original vegetation and wildlife, is now a living, breathing storybook of botanical and zoological wonders, a testament to the diversity and resilience of New Zealand's native species.

Peeking out at you from the canopies of towering kānuka, you’ll see an array of native birds. Adorable tiny tomtits, plump Kererū, and cheeky fantails flit around while tūī and bellbirds fill the forest with their sweet songs. Vigorous regeneration of native forest, including tōtara, beeches, tree ferns, and even nīkau palms, now provide a safe haven for birds, lizards, and other creatures, establishing a living tableau of New Zealand's native biodiversity.

Highlights of the reserve include the 30-metre tall Whakamate Falls and the spectacular views from Taraterehu Summit. From Hinewai’s highest peak, enjoy awe-inspiring panoramic views over Akaroa and the Pacific Ocean. On a clear day, you can even look across and see Aoraki Mt Cook. For those a little less keen on subalpine conditions, The Stones Peak also boasts some pretty breathtaking views. 

At Hinewai, the primary goal is conservation, and as a visitor to the reserve, you’re lucky enough to enjoy the fruits of such efforts up close. As you traverse the trails, you're witnessing nature in recovery, flourishing once again after many years of mindful restoration efforts.

Words by Nicola Amy Hinman & Photography by Nancy Zhou

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Long Bay Road, RD3, Akaroa

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