Oblong Hill Lookout and Beyond
A Pleasant Half day outing with about 3 hours walking or a hard day or overnight climb to the summit.
Ten minutes north of Tuatapere on SH99 take the lillburn valley road and follow it to the carpark at Lake Hauroko.
A short walk of 3 hours return will take you from the picturesque jetty at the lake Hauroko road end to a spectacular lookout high above the lake with views out over Te Waewae bay to Stewart Island, the steep slopes of the Princess range and the farmland of Western Southland.
The Track starts at the carpark and is signposted. It follows the lake shore for a while then begins to climb toward a rocky knoll. The last half an hour is fairly steep but the view is worth it. Once you leave the lake shore the track is basic(no structures and some tree roots, rocks etc)but should be no problem to anyone with a basic ability. The lookout is a flat rock that juts out into space and those who don’t like heights should not go near the edge. For the romantic, there is enough space on the lookout to camp the night if you want to watch for the Aurora Australis.
Oblong Hill Summit
An adventurous gut-busting climb for those with off-track navigational skills. 1 day or overnight.
For the more experienced and adventuresome you can continue up to the top of the Oblong hill. There is no track and this route should only be attempted by those with bush experience and good off-track navigational skills. It should take another one to two hours to the tops. It is steep in places.
Follow the ridge directly behind the lookout rock along a vague trail made by hunters and trappers veering right as the ridge broadens out to cross the head of the gully. You can stick religiously to the ridge but it only curls around to meet where you will end up anyway. You may be able to follow the occasional pink marker tape or even older steel tags across this flat to regain the ridgeline a hundred meters or so away. Make sure you don’t tend too far right but ascend to the defined ridgeline that will appear to your left (west). This naturally descends a few meters to cross an open bush saddle with large Beech trees until you come to a steep narrow spur heading straight up the hill.
This section has some pink tapes on it but you should be able to follow the deer trail up what is now a very steep climb (put away your walking poles as you need both hands). As you break out through the scrub belt at the top take care to look back often and fix the location of the trail entry point as finding it on the descent can be difficult and not finding it can lead to great difficulty in getting down at all.
The views from the top are tremendous in all directions and there are several small areas suitable for campsites for the overnighter. Caution, there is very little water to be found up here and the wind can be ferocious. Make camp carefully.