Orokonui Ecosanctuary is a biodiversity project near Dunedin where a predator fence encloses 307 hectares of forest. We visited last weekend, choosing to relax in and around the Visitor Centre but we didn’t pay to go inside the predator fence area. Its well worth doing that – we’d done it previously in the summer – but to do it justice we would plan ahead and allow most of the day to wander around.
The Visitor Centre is architecturally beautiful and has a cafe where you can enjoy the wonderful view through the large windows while having refreshments. It gets lots of sunshine so the screens help filter the light and heat to make it more comfortable inside.
This native garden and pool is just below the cafe and you can wander around here without paying a fee as its outside the predator fence area. You can see here how expansive the views are from the Visitor Centre and cafe.
Another view of the native plantings and a pool with an interestingly-shaped hill in the background.
Looking slightly further around the end of the building.
Native plantings beneath the cafe end of the Visitor Centre.
Just near the carpark is the Pa Harakeke garden (flax grove). This contains over 100 flax varieties. In this photo you can see the sea in the background.
Many of the flaxes are prized cultivars that have been handed down through generations of Maori weavers. The flax plants are numbered so that they can be traced back to the source collection for which weaving characteristics have been catalogued.
We really enjoyed our visit and its well worth making the trip to Orokonui Ecosanctuary even if you don’t have time to visit inside the predator fence area. Its in a very scenic rural area with expansive views.
We drove from Dunedin via Port Chalmers as we like the port town and wanted to enjoy a cafe stop there. Then we drove to Long Beach, a first visit for us. We parked the ute and walked down a track that led to a lovely long white sand beach where we greatly enjoyed a beach walk. We then drove to Orokonui and returned to Dunedin the way we’d come – its a very scenic route (steep and winding with wonderful views).
For more information about Orokonui Ecosanctuary you can visit their website. Some of the information that I’ve provided above is taken directly from their website.
Words and photos by Exploring Colour (2017). Some information above is taken from Orokonui Ecosanctuary website.