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Inland Otago side roads exploration

Sinclair wetlands

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Otago Sinclair Wetlands Otago Sinclair Wetlands

Take a detour off SH1 to explore the little known Sinclair wetlands located between Lake Waihola and Lake Waipori. It is fascinating to think about the wetlands as the natural landscape with cows and sheeps grazing on now drained wetlands. The Sinclair wetlands are a network of river channels, natural swamps and clear waterways covering 315 hectares. Two shallow lakes drain and filter their water flows through the wetlands into the Waipori River then the larger Taieri River. Vegetated islands, meandering water channels and lagoons are a significant waterfowl habitat. There are well formed boardwalks, tracks and trails. An educational centre is the focus of school and visitors. There is a visitor car park with signs indicating the length of each walk. For families there is an excellent introduction to natural wetlands on the 2km trail.

The Ewing Phosphate Co. LTD building


State Highway 1 turnoff is marked by signage for Clarendon and the abandoned Ewing Clarendon Phosphate Co brick building at the junction of Phosphate Rd and SH 1. Phosphate was mined in the area and the settlement of Clarendon flourished on the trade. The abandoned building now stores hay and is surrounded by grazing cows.

As you travel to the wetlands you will pass the Berwick Forest. You will reach approximately 900 metres in height with sweeping views of the Taieri plains. Look for the slow sweep of wind turbines. It is a magnificent sight.

Sinclair Wetlands

Entry: Donation (koha)

Toilets: Visitor Centre


Ram Island (Whakaraupuka), is the site of Tukiauau’s pa.

Getting there

Check the route map for driving instructions. From the Sinclair Wetlands you will continue north, pass signage for Berwick and turn right onto the Henley Berwick Rd to rejoin State Highway 1 to Dunedin. You are approximately 15 minutes from Dunedin airport and travelling north on the Taieri plain to Dunedin city centre.


Otago Sinclair Wetlands signage


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