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Southern Scenic Road Trip: Wildlife Safari Road Trip, The Catlins

Sinclair wetlands

Otago Sinclair Wetlands Otago Sinclair Wetlands

The wetlands are a birding hot spot. Follow the detour off SH1 to explore the little known Sinclair wetlands located between Lake Waihola and Lake Waipori. This is New Zealand’s most inland tidal lake. It is freshwater and is over 20km’s from the coast at Taieri Mouth, with an average depth of less than a metre yet it is tidal. Between the two shallow lakes is a New Zealand treasure, a natural wetland.

Otago Sinclair Wetlands signage
  • The Sinclair wetlands are 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 drained pasture land, once natural wetlands. Sinclair wetlands’s remaining network of river channels, natural swamps and clear waterways is over 315 hectares. The 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 it is an excellent introduction to natural wetlands on the 2km trail. Check travel pack information for further information about the Wetlands

It is fascinating to think about the wetlands as the natural landscape with cows and sheeps grazing on drained wetlands. Sinclair wetlands’s remaining network of river channels, natural swamps and clear waterways is over 315 hectares. The 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 it is an excellent introduction to natural wetlands on the 2km trail.

Sinclair Wetland @Milton District
The Ewing Phosphate Co. LTD building in Clarendon

TIP: It is recommended from the Sinclair Wetlands you travel south on the rural roads, Berwick Rd, past Berwick Forest. You will reach approximately 900 metres in height with sweeping views of the Taieri plains. The slow sweep of wind turbines is a magnificent sight. From Berwick Rd you will turn left onto Phosphate Rd and join SH1 to Milton. Phosphate was mined in the area and the settlement of Clarendon flourished on the trade. Ewing Phosphate company head office is now an abandoned building at the junction of Phosphate Rd and State Highway 1.

Sinclair Wetlands

  • Entry: Donation (koha)
  • Toilets: Visitor Centre

NOTE

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

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