Otago Dam Walk – Gabriel’s Gully

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The Otago Dam walk is a medium grade walk over 2.7km which will take you around 1 to get to.

Total round trip walk is about 2 hours. Otago Dam is in the heart of Gabriel’s Gully, one of the richest and longest lasting gold fields in central Otago. 4,000 gold miners worked the Gabriel’s Gully gold fields in 1860. A water race ran from Otago Dam down to Gabriel’s Gully for hydraulic elevating.

Quick Facts about this walk

  • Location: South Island NZ
  • Distance: 2.70 kms
  • Time needed: 1 Hour
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Wheelchair Access: No
  • Route: Double back
  • Elevation: 210m
  • Wet Feet: Yes
  • Toilets: No
  • Dogs: Leash only
  • Mobile Coverage: No
  • Last Updated: November, 2019

We’ve partnered with Macpac outdoor walking & hiking gear to bring you the very best products designed exclusively for our New Zealand climate. They’ll ship for FREE within NZ on orders over $100 (if under $100 it’s only $5). Worldwide international shipping is available except to the USA. Bulky orders will be $20.

Summary points about this walk

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Points of interest along the walk​

Gray's Dam Car Park

When you drive into Gabriel’s Gully car park, take the dirt road to the right. The 200 Mt drive will see you at Grays Dam. There is plenty of car parking, but stay off the grass, if it has been raining, you might get stuck. To the left of Gray’s Dam is the start of the track.

First creek Crossing

Walk to the left of Gray’s Dam and up and over the narrow track and through the pines trees. This was the only muddy section of the walk. The first creek crossing is just around the corner, this is where a walking stick comes in handy to stop you getting a boot full of water.

First water Race

I crossed the creek with dry boots, then it was up a small climb and back out into the sun again, where I can look up the valley and get an idea of where the track was going. The first water race is just around the corner, 9 minutes from the first creek crossing.

The second creek crossing

By now you have concurred the creek crossing and are left with the short enjoyable hill climb. To start off, there is a squeeze around a rock outcrop then up you go. The old wooden steeps put there to help you with the climb have rotten away many years ago. There has been no maintenance on this track for at leased ten years. The bush in this section of track is not so over grown. As you walk onto the next water race sneak along, don’t make a sound, you might walk onto a wild deer. There was some very old pig rooting along this track as well.

3rd creek

This section of the track was very enjoyable. All I needed as I walked along the water race was a gold pan and my swag and I could have been back in the 1860 making my fortune. If you look hard you might see the steel bolts in the rock face and the well placed stone wall to hold back the valuable water.

Last climb

This section if fast and easy, you will cross the last three creek crossing with in ten minutes.

Otago Dam

Straight up into the pine trees from the last creek crossing. The track was slippery until I reached the pines, I turn around and look back down the creek and out to Gabriel’s Gully just as I reach the pines trees. The track continues on past Otago Dam for five minutes and meets up with a forestry road. You could ask in Lawrence, if the forestry road is open, you could arrange a car to pick you up and save to walk back.

What sort of walking and hiking gear will you need

We’ve partnered with Macpac outdoor walking & hiking gear to bring you the very best products designed exclusively for our New Zealand climate. They’ll ship for FREE within NZ on orders over $100 (if under $100 it’s only $5). Worldwide international shipping is available except to the USA. Bulky orders will be $20.

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