THE ECOSANCTUARY STORY
Transformation takes time.
This certainly rings true at Point Bush Ecosanctuary. What started as a simple task of tree planting nearly 30 years ago has bloomed into a big vision and dedication to the future.
Point Bush is conservation project to allow our native birdlife and flora to flourish in South Canterbury, New Zealand. The 90-hectare forest is home to wild kererū, pīwakawaka, tūī and kārearea, who are now frequently seen at Point Bush as native forest has been protected and enhanced over the past 30 years.
It was 1986, the hillside was bare, lots of long grass and grazing for sheep. Pockets of native trees survived in sheltered spots. A much loved community walking track to the Whitehorse Monument zig zagged it’s way towards the brow of the hill. A spur of the moment decision to buy this patch of land overlooking Waimate out to the Pacific Ocean by Ann & Gary Dennison during a visit to Waimate one summer. (A world away from their life based in Iraq at the time!)
Plans were quickly made to replant grass areas along the walking trail with native trees - local Waimate school groups put in hours of effort to start what is now a thriving regenerated native forest - home to native birds who are flourishing in their expanded habitat. This area was gifted to the community with the establishment of a QEII covenant over 20 years ago protecting this important community asset for the future.
Much of the steep faces and top of the hill was planted in exotic tree species (the trend at that time) which graced the hillside above Waimate for 20 years. As Mother Nature would have it, nothing is ever permanent and a storm that battered Waimate in 2013 felled a huge portion of the exotic forest plantation. Logging of the majority of the plantation was completed in 2014.
With the new access to the hill side made easy with the forestry logging complete, Mountain Biking trails were remodeled, expanded and a sensational new asset for the community the Whitehorse Big Easy trail was officially opened in 2016. Ann and Gary are proud supporters of the annual Whitehorse Big Easy run it walk it bike it event!
Dedicated to securing the future of this well loved local asset, in 2019 Ann & Gary formed the Point Bush Ecosanctuary Trust which was established with the purpose of permanently gifting the hillblock and public trails as part of an Ecosanctuary for future generations to enjoy.
The immediate future at the Ecosanctuary in 2019 and 2020 includes removal of invasive pest plant and animal species, fencing and a predator trapping programme.
How Do I Get There?
Point Bush Ecosanctuary
Point Bush Road, Waimate 7979
Approximate Driving Time
From Timaru - 35 minutes
From Oamaru - 35 minutes
From Kurow - 50 minutes
What Can I Do There?
At this stage the Point Bush Ecosanctuary is in its infancy with support and donations still being much needed to help build the perimeter fencing (find ways you can support the Ecosanctuary here!)
There are multiple walking and mountain biking trails you can enjoy that are scattered throughout the hillside. Starting from the Point Bush Road carpark, heading uphill, with a popular option to start and finish your adventure from this point. Or for the downhill option the trails are accessible from the end of Parker’s Bush Road at the Whitehorse Monument Carpark finishing at the Point Bush Road carpark.
Does It Cost Money To Enter?
Entrance is FREE! The Point Bush Ecosanctuary is a free community asset for all to enjoy
We kindly ask that all users respect that the Ecosanctuary is on property of Point Bush Ecological Restoration Trust and to follow all directions or signage while visiting.
Is It Family Friendly?
Yes, many families enjoy hours exploring the walking and mountain biking trails. Depending on age and fitness levels there is something for all ages to enjoy the experience of “forest bathing” listening to birdsong and spotting as many different types of flora and fauna as possible!
Are There Facilities On Site?
Not at present, however the future plans for the Ecosanctuary include a visitors centre, refreshments and public toilet facilities.
Currently there is free parking at the Point Bush Road carpark, and at the Whitehorse Monument. and the nearest public toilets are located in Queen Street outside the Waimate Public Library.