The Pukaki Kettlehole Track is in Lake Pukaki's terminal moraine conservation area beside State Highway 8. It is a family friendly, one-hour return walk.
It crosses old moraine hummocks and leads to a distinct kettlehole, which wasformed by the retreat of the Tasman Glacier.
A huge hunk of ice broke off and slowly melted, leaving the large depression in the ground.
The Tasman Glacier once extended to the end of Lake Pukaki and on the walk there is an interpretation explaining the glacial activity.
A smaller kettlehole sign explains how the kettlehole formed.
This is beside a seating area where people can stop and admire the stunning vistas.
The 360-degree views include the Southern Alps looking across Lake Pukaki at Aoraki/Mt Cook, Ben Ohau Range, eastern foothills, and to the south, Mt Benmore.
Many different types of lichen thrive on the exposed rocks around the Kettlehole Track.
It also includes lots of native shrubs porcupine shrub, tussocks, prostrate kowhai and matagouri.
The well-defined circuit track takes around one hour return. It is an ideal spot for a picnic, but has no shade and can be very hot on a still day.
The walk has a signpost off the highway and you need to drive up the hill, north of the Pukaki dam, to a large car park. A small DoC finger sign beside highway shows the way.
- © Fairfax NZ News