|687 m||499 m|
|693 m||30 m|
|19.76 km||5.31 km||25.07 km|
|5h 50min 55s||1h 2min 39s||6h 53min 34s|
|3.38 km/h||5.09 km/h||3.64 km/h|
This track starts at the Wisp recreation area and follows the Catlins river track downstream all the way to the Tawanui campsite and then takes the Wisp look track to come back to the start. The route also takes a 1-hour detour to go up Rocky Knoll. The offical track from the Department of Conservation is available here.
The Catlins river track is quite nice, always inside native bush following the river downstream. We'll need to cross four wire-rope suspension bridges. One thing to mention on this track is that, although going down the river, it goes up and down quite a few times adding half of the elevation gain of the day (400m).
To go back we follow the Wisp river loop. We'll keep gaining elevation until we reach the summit of Rocky knoll and from there it is all down to Wisp recreation area.
When reaching the summit of Rocky Knoll there are two view points, the first one lower, and a second one almost at the top area and with much better views. The viewpoint 2 is not at the true summit. There is no track going to the true summit and it's not so easy to get there. I started walking in that direction and I probably got as close as a handful of meters. It's hard to say because there is so much vegetation that makes viewing or progressing really difficult.
There is no need to do the full Catlins river and Wisp track loop to reach the summit of Rocky Knoll. You can just start at the Wisp recreation area and after 5 Km you will be at the top. You could also start at the other end, at the Tawanui campsite, which is just a couple of kilometres longer. If you decide to go for this option you will miss all the beautiful walk along the river.