Gems of the south: Dunsdale Reserve
There are plenty of things to do in the Deep South, from a day out underground to hunting for gemstones to wandering through an old gold mining town, so in this series we shine the spotlight on some special parts of southern New Zealand.
What: A pleasant quiet picnic area that isn't too far from Invercargill, but far enough to deter the masses.
Where: Dunsdale Valley Rd, Hedgehope, off the Hedgehope- Mataura Highway (State Highway 96).
What you need to know: The reserve has a pleasant and relatively easy (wheelchair and pushchair suitable) 5.6-kilometre walking track through native forest to a waterfall. The Forks Flat Track should take a leisurely hour - from the picnic area, cross the bridge and follow the track along the Dunsdale Stream banks, past a waterfall and to Forks Flat. You can either return the same way or cross another bridge and return on non-wheelchair-suitable track on the other side of the stream through a mature native forest with huge specimens of matai, kahikatea and totara.
You can also freedom camp on the reserve for up to three days. There are toilets, water taps and picnic tables.