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Freehold Creek, Ohau Conservation Area

Freehold Creek. Photo: Jingyi Tan
Ohau Conservation Area
2 days by bike; 4-5 days by foot
From Glen Mary Ski Club on Lake Ohau Road
BZ14, CA14
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For Te Araroa Trail walkers, the East Ahuriri Track marks the start of another epic tramping section between Lake Ohau and Lake Hawea. The track begins on a 4WD road, which eventually turns up Freehold Creek, climbing gently through beech forest to a charming informal campsite right below the tree-line.

After a short climb past the tree-line, the track turns south-west and over a saddle to follow the Ahuriri River East Branch downstream. At this point the trail markers become few and far between, but it’s hard to get lost when all you have to do is follow the river. The going is rather slow, as the rough unformed track is hard on the ankles, and you’ll need to cross the river multiple times to avoid gorged sections and large expanses of gorse.

Eventually, you’ll emerge from the East Ahuriri River to the wider Ahuriri Valley. Make your way down the steep slope, and be very careful crossing the river. Use a farm track a couple of hundred metres away to get to the top of the next hill and, from here, it’s a short walk to the car park at Birchwood Road.