Covering 1,700 hectares, the forest has two picturesque picnic areas at little Lake Janet and the Grey River, both with picnic tables and toilets. Look out for native clematis vines with their eye-catching treetop display of white flowers during spring. There is a variety of native bird life including piwakawaka(fantail), korimako (bellbird), silvereye, and tititipounamu (rifleman). Introduced species present include chaffinch, red poll, blackbird and song thrush.

How to get there:
Mt Grey/Maukatere Forest is 15kms east of Amberley. At Amberley take Douglas Road. This road branches off the main road to Broomfield becoming Cramptons Bush Road after the Brodies Road intersection.

Vehicle access is limited to forest roads between Lake Janet and the Grey River Picnic Area. Watch for heavy vehicles and logging trucks through these privately owned forests. Please call Rayonier NZ Ltd, 03 310 7612 or 027 480 9279 prior to visiting the area. An answer-phone will inform you whether the gate is locked or not.

Excerpt from DOC - Foothills & Forests Brochure: pdfMt Grey/Maukatere Conservation Area (includes a map)

Grey River Nature Trail

Duration of walk: 1 hour
Intensity:   A114b-Walking-Track-bw Small
Description of walk: Beginning at the northern end of Grey River Picnic Area, this loop-trail is ideal for families. A fine example of the diversity of the native bush on the Canterbury Plains, the walk passes through mixed tawhai/podocarp forest, including black beech/tawhai, rimu, kahikatea and matai.

Of particular interest are the oyster shells embedded in a bank 700 metres above sea level, thought to be 10-20 million years old, indicating where the coastline was at that time. Please leave for all to enjoy.

Close by is a cave which was created by water erosion.


Mt Grey (Maukatere) Track

Duration of walk: 2-3 hours
Intensity: A114b-Walking-Track-bw Small
Description of walk:

From the north end of the Grey River Picnic area, the track climbs steadily through native bush and areas of pine, opening to tussock and the summit of Mt Grey/Maukatere (934m). Ten minutes after leaving the picnic area a short track on the left (not signposted) leads to the gorge pools.

Mt Grey is named after Sir George Grey, Governor and Premier of New Zealand between 1845 and 1879. Maori named the mountain "Maukatere" (floating mountain) because of the spirits of the dead were believed to leave from the summit on the long journey to Cape Reinga.

There are superb panoramic views of the Canterbury Plains.


Red Beech Route

Duration of walk: 3-5 hours one way
Intensity: A114b-Walking-Track-bw Small
Description of walk:

This route descends from the summit of Mt Grey/Maukatere through tussock grasslands, tall red beech/tawhai and mountain beech/tawhai, and Hall's totara to the Grey River Picnic Area.

Important Information:  

 Beware of wasps on this track in summer.