Hinewai Reserve is a substantial 1,250 hectare native forest and eco restoration project on the east side of the crater rim and at the south end of Summit Road. It is bounded by Brocheries Road (a short continuation of Summit Road) plus Long Bay Road to the north and Stony Bay Road to the south. Long and Stony both come up the side of the crater rim from Akaroa.
The reserve is privately owned and managed by the Maurice White Native Forest Trust and began when 109 hectares were purchased by the Trust in 1987. The purchase of Ōtānerito Station followed in 1991 with several subsequent purchases. In 2016 the Trust took over the management of 192 hectare Purple Peak Curry Reserve on the west side of Brocheries Road.
Although private, there are a number of connected free walking tracks through a mix of established and recovering native forest. The main track entrance is off Long Bay Road, but you can also access the track network from the other boundary roads. As Hinewai is contained within a steep wide gully that drops from the top of Stony Bay Peak at 806 metres to near sea level, the walks can range from simple short loops to more dramatic day long slogs from bottom to top.
Walking into Hinewai from Long Bay Road exposes you to a variety of native plants and the unique character of its manager, Hugh Wilson (pic below with one of the volunteers, Margaret). Hugh writes the often amusing signs you will see, as well as the map and a regular newsletter. He’s at least as much fun to meet in person and generally around.
A documentary, Fools and Dreamers, was made about Wilson and his reforestation project, and is available to watch online for free.