Our 4x4 Adventure through Oteake Conservation Park and the Omarama Saddle (2022)

Our 4x4 Adventure through Oteake Conservation Park and the Omarama Saddle (2022)

Organising adventures is never a sure thing, sometimes things go wrong, sometimes they just don't go to plan. Fortunately though, there are all sorts of interesting and amazing people that come on our trips. This was no exception. 

We'd spent a couple of days traversing through a private high country station, that we are not going to mention the name of. We were a group of 5 Suzukis - 4 Jimnys and a very cool rag top Suzuki Samurai owned by my good friend Paul. 

We camped on the station on the first night and were treated to a nice evening of warm weather and no wind.

In the afternoon of day 2, we headed up into Oteake Conservation Park for some exploring, and the hope of some accommodation in a good hut. With a rough weather forecast, securing a hut for the night was a high priority.

High up in the mountains on the boarder of Canterbury and Otago, we reaches the very cool Ida Railway Hut, which was full of people. Then we got to Tailings Hut, which is an awesome hut in Oteake, I've stayed here before, on a trip 18 months earlier

Unfortunately Tailings Hut was full, and this was out last option. Our plan B. 

We were lucky enough to have a bloke called Barry on our trip, who suggested we head down into Naseby for the night, and head across the Omarama Saddle the following day. I wasn't sure about this idea. It was a new plan to me, and I'd been planning this for weeks. I just hadn't planned for no accommodation mixed with shitty weather.

So we headed into Naseby and found the campgrounds. Once we'd got some rooms sorted, we found the pub and went for dinner. With the rain coming in hard now, a pub feed was the best idea of the entire weekend. 

On the Sunday we headed back up into Oteake Conservation Park again and in towards the Omarama Saddle. John and Barry led the way, it turns out Barry has been through here many times before and knew the area well. Barry had lots of stories on the radio, sharing his knowledge about the history of the area, from gold mining to into about the huts, it was fantastic.

We stopped for lunch at Top Hut (why did they not use a little more imagination when naming these huts!), and our new leaders John and Barry even shared some fantastic bacon and egg pie. 


The drive from Naseby through to Omarama over the Omarama Saddle was spectacular. There were lots of good river crossings, and the climb over the saddle gave a sense of great elevation. 


Overall, the tracks through Oteake are in worse condition than when I was there 18 months ago. Some tracks that I easily drove last time were really hard work this time. Oteake seems to be a popular spot for local weekend 4x4 bashers to come for a hoon for the weekend, so it gets a rough time. After some bad weather, I can only assume it's even worse. Ideal for a truck like mine, less ideal for a factory Jimny.

If you're looking for some great 4wding for a weekend, Oteake and Omarama Saddle are definitely worth considering. It's very scenic, there are some great huts to take a look at, and the camp ground at Naseby is a great spot to stay for the night between the two days of adventuring. Note that Oteake is closed through winter months.