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Otepatotu Scenic Reserve, Banks Peninsula

Otepatotu Scenic Reserve, Banks Peninsula

If you want to see some great views of Banks Peninsula and the scenery around Akaroa, you won’t want to miss the Otepatotu Scenic Reserve. It’s right by the main road above Akaroa (Summit Road) and the walk up the hill through the forest opens out to some amazing views.

Otepatotu Scenic Reserve

While the walk is the main reason for visiting Otepatotu Scenic Reserve, you can get some of the best views right from the car park. It’s a good place to stop when driving to or from Akaroa whether you’re up for the walk or not.

An Uphill Hike

The walk up to a couple of viewpoints soon turns into a loop track. I started on the left-hand side first and soon came to an awesome viewpoint. You can sit on the rocks and see the harbour and peninsula spread out before you. You could probably stop here (as I think it’s the best viewpoint on this walk), but I kept going and soon reached the top.

I thought it’d be a 360-degree view from up there but there was stuff in the way. From the top you’ll head back down the other side and there were a few decent views from this part of the track too. It’s mostly through the forest though and it can get slippery if there has been recent rain. All up this walk took me around an hour, and it was steep on the way up and slippery on the way down – not the most comfortable walk but it was worth it.

Getting There

Otepatotu Scenic Reserve is located on Summit Road, roughly halfway between the turnoffs to Le Bons Bay and Okains Bay. There’s a big car park which you should see, but Google Maps always helps, I guess!

Other Short Walks Nearby

There is lots to explore on Banks Peninsula, from different bays and beaches to some interesting walks. Some of my favourite short walks include Newton’s Waterfall, the Hinewai Reserve, Children’s Bay Walkway. Banks Peninsula walking tracks are generally about the harbour / peninsula views, but the Newton’s Waterfall track is a bit different. It’s a surprisingly good waterfall and you can walk there right from town if you want to. Or, if you aren’t keen on walking, you can just drive the scenic roads and admire the views. Also check out Lighthouse Road – it’s a bit of a detour from Summit Road but the views are awesome.

Are you planning a trip to Akaroa and Banks Peninsula? Check out my other posts!

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Jon Algie

I'm a South Island local -- born in Timaru and raised in Dunedin. I left the island in 2006 and returned 10 years later. Having seen a good chunk of the world I realised how special this place is -- the most beautiful island in the world! Seven years (and almost 400 posts) later I'm still helping locals and tourists alike plan their trips around the South Island.