With extensive scenic views and a sawmilling history, West Otago has much to offer. There are several touring loops to bike or drive. You may also fish the Pomahaka River, hunt in the local mountains, picnic at the picturesque Leithen Glen or view the Monument at Kelso which is a memorial to a town which was destroyed by two 100 year floods (1978 and 1980).
Twelve kilometres to the north is Heriot. See the historic Todd Cottage and once more try out your golfing skills on yet another attractive West Otago golf course (9 hole).
Black Gully is at the northern end of the Blue Mountain Tramping Route.. Situated 13 kilometres fromTapanui, turn off SH90 near Crookston onto Black Gully Road East. An ideal picnic spot. Children love the historic play equipment. Huts and campsites are available. Mistletoe flowers freely at Christmas. The Blue Mountain Tramping Route can be started at Black Gully. There is also a five hour loop which takes an alternative track up the left of Black Gully, coming out on the top of the Blue Mountains. Trampers then walk south for an hour along the tops before descending back down into the Black Gully Domain.
Is at the southern end of The Blue Mountain Tramping Route and is within a short driving distance from Tapanui. At the beginning of the track is an easy 15 minute loop walk suitable for all ages – the native mistletoe flowers is in abundance right on Christmas. This is a lovely bush walk through ferns and beech trees, the bird life includes bellbirds and fantails. An hours walk will bring you to a beautiful waterfall. The stream in front of the waterfall must be crossed in order to continue up a steep climb to the Blue Mountain Tops. A tramp from Whisky Gully to the summit of the the Blue Mountains and back down to the car park takes about five hours.
BLUE MOUNTAIN MARKED TRAMPING ROUTE
This 14 kilometre tramp is between Black Gully and Whisky Gully and can be undertaken from either direction. After a steep climb from either of the gullies and following the signs provided, you will come out on the top of the Blue Mountains. Follow the bright orange markers as you make your way along the tops. You will admire tarns and see amazing views of Tapanui and West Otago. On a clear day you will see as far as Stewart Island, Kaka Point and Roxburgh. The walk will take you approximately eight - nine hours (not the six hours that the signs currently claim).
For a detailed review of the tramp, see "Ultimate Guide to Hiking New Zealand’s Blue Mountain" by Natasha Chadwick.