Central Otago's Oteake Conservation Area is a vast 65,000 hectare DOC estate with a landscape of golden tussock plateaus and scree slopes. The distinctive flat-topped Hawkdun Range is the area’s centrepiece and often features in paintings and photography.




We offer 2 tours in the Oteake Conservation Area. Both tours ex Queenstown are big days, allow 13 hours.


TOUR ONE     |     Beginner 4WD / Families


This tour was designed to provide beginner off-roaders with the opportunity to experience the Oteake Conservation Area.  Starting with a climb up onto the plateau, we explore the amazing remains of the Buster Gold Diggings, once New Zealands highest gold mine. The diggings are now a vast area of pure white quartz gravel eroded into towering pinnacles and a great place to spend some time exploring.



From the Buster Diggings, we drive up towards Mt Kyeburn (1636m) to get an impressive 360 degree view over the Maniototo and Central Otago (the video below from 56 second mark shows the Mt Kyeburn views on a good day). We then head  down through Guffies Creek towards Tailings Hut. This stunning little valley has plenty of potential swim holes for any one game enough. From the hut, we re-trace our tracks and begin our descent towards Naseby - this time with magnificent views to the south over the Maniototo.


TOUR TWO     |     Intermediate 4WD skill level required


This is a big day with 8 hours of actual four wheel driving. The tour is not just amazing for the superbly wild views, but also the terrain we  encounter driving through the Oteake. From steep narrow climbs, uneven scree faces, river crossings, remote tussock plateaus, sharp rock tors and a descent that is extremely memorable and challenging the first time. This is a tour that will bring a smile to anyone looking for a 4WD adventure.


This day includes driving tracks to  Mt Kyeburn, Buster Diggings, Guffies Creek, Tailings Hut, Otematata River, Ida Railway Hut and the Hawkdun Range.



The tracks we use for this tour through the Oteake require tag along drivers to be familiar and competent with the following:


  • Steep, loose surface climbs
  • Heights
  • Narrow tracks
  • River crossings
  • Traversing scree's, loose rocks
  • Multi point handbrake turns on narrow, steep, uneven tracks


That all said, this tour is achievable for most people that have been off- roading before ;  it is not suitable for beginners or drivers that lack confidence on narrow tracks. If in doubt give me a call and we can discuss this and possible alternatives entry points into the Oteake Conservation Area.





Within Oteake, Otago species often reach their northern limits and similarly, Canterbury species reach their southern limits. The park protects numerous communities, including threatened plants: cypress hebe, native broom – coral and dwarf – Ranunculus acraeus and scree pea. The dominant vegetation is narrow-leaved tussock, found in a wide range of altitudes and situations.


Oteake’s diverse habitat hosts a range of bird species, from grey warbler/riorio in the shrublands to threatened, braided riverbed species: banded dotterel/tuturiwhatu, black-billed gull/karoro, black-fronted tern/tarapiroe and occasional black stilts/kakï.


Oteake is an oasis for lizards, including various skink and gecko species, many of them threatened or uncommon. Invertebrates include moths, grasshoppers, weevils and spiders – in alpine areas they often reach giant sizes.




Kāi Tahu believe that Oteake, 'place of the ake', is named for the ake ake: Olearia avicenniaefolia, a conspicuous shrub daisy found in the park. Oteake is also the indigenous name for both the Kye Burn and a stream on the other side of the range.

Oteake was important to tangata whenua from coastal Otago kāika/settlements as mahika kai—places where food was obtained. Weka were hunted and plants gathered. Stone quarries in the upper Manuherikia are further evidence of iwi activity.

Oteake’s European history began when pastoral leases were issued throughout the South Island’s high country in the 1850s, creating large lease holdings such as Hawkdun, Omarama, Otekaike and Morven Hill stations. Over time they were subdivided, and more recently, through tenure review and property purchase, have become Oteake Conservation Park.

The park shows evidence of gold mining with a network of water races, prospecting pits, hut sites and alluvial mining sluicings. Buster Diggings, a spectacular sculptural landform created by alluvial gold mining, was once New Zealand’s highest altitude goldfield at 1200 m.


History information credit, DOC



  • Big, remote adventure
  • Quartz pinnacles
  • Buster diggings
  • Mt Kyeburn and 360 views
  • Historic Naseby
  • Danseys Pass Hotel
  • Exclusive and extremely private
  • Genuine kiwi experience
  • Visit an area most people never see
  • Ample of time allowed for photography






ADULTS       2 Adults     3 Adults     4 Adults    Child PRICE          $540pp      $460pp      $395pp     $95


    • $95 per child (16 and under)
    • Min 2 adults, max 4 passengers



    • 8-12 hours ex Queenstown



    • Morning tea and lunch
    • Extremely comfortable 4x4 vehicle
    • Includes 15% NZ Goods & Services Tax


Naseby and the start of the Oteake is a 2 hour drive from Queenstown. We can pick people up in Cromwell, Alexandra, Ranfurly and Naseby for this passenger tour.


These prices are for private vehicle charter and guide. You will only be with your own group.







    • $950 single vehicle - private tour
    • $POA - 2 or more vehicles



    • 8-12 hours ex Queenstown



    • Hand held radio use
    • Morning tea


We offer discounts off the standard price with the following.

    • Booking 2 or more vehicles
    • Multi day bookings




  • Vehicle insurance suitable for this tour.
  • All terrain tyres preferred with minimum 60% tread.
  • Hi/low ratio.
  • Tour One is suitable for beginner levels of off-road driving experience. Tour Two is suitable for intermediate levels of off-road driving experience. However, both tours operate on private sheep station farm tracks and DOC land. As per most backcountry routes this tour has narrow tracks, and tracks at height. Drivers need to be confident driving on back country roads.
  • A full list of vehicle requirements is on our booking form. Contact us for details.
  • Due to hazard identification over hand held radios, clients must be fluent in english.




3 steps for booking


  1. Email us at info@4wdexpeditions.nz
  2. We will send you a link to the booking forms. Please read, sign and return. We can collect these on tour day.
  3. Payment options
    1. Online link we will supply - visa, mastercard, eftpos
    2. Direct bank transfer
    3. On the day, visa, mastercard, eftpos or cash





Tours depart

    • Queenstown 6:30 am
    • Naseby 9:00 am


Different pickup times can be arranged if necessary.  Pick-ups at local accommodation by prior arrangement.




These tours run from mid November to mid April depending on track conditions.


All our trips run on demand, please contact us to discuss suitable dates.







4WD Expeditions Limited

PO Box 1046

Queenstown 9348

New Zealand


From New Zealand

Email : info@4WDexpeditions.nz

Freephone : 0800 4WD FUN (493 386)

Cell : 021 244 3920


From Overseas / International

Email : info@4WDexpeditions.nz

Phone : + 64 21 244 3920

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