The Council bought 500 hectares of the former Mt Desmond Station to form Misty Peaks Reserve, a scenic reserve that rises to nearly 800 metres above sea level.

Project status: Decision made
Open for feedback: 17th October 2018 - 18th December 2018
17 Oct 2018

Submissions have closed and hearings will be held before a report goes to the Banks Peninsula Community Board for approval


Adjoining the privately owned Hinewai Reserve and surrounding the Department of Conservation administered Armstrong Reserve, Misty Peaks Reserve has high recreation and conservation value.  It is close to Akaroa, and easily reached from three main road access points. A wide range of habitats in the park includes lowland podocarp forest and beech forest remnants, sub-alpine snow tussock and unique rocky outcrop flora—home to a range of native birds, lizards and fish, and a number of rare or threatened plants.

Northwest side of Misty Peaks Reserve

Northwest side of Misty Peaks Reserve. (The white boundary lines on the pictorial views are indicative only.)

What is a scenic reserve?

The main purpose of a scenic reserve is to provide and protect scenic, natural and landscape values, while also allowing  for public access and use.

Misty Peaks Reserve is made up of several parcels of land that are mostly all scenic reserve as defined by Section 19 of the Reserves Act 1977. 

Vision for the park:

The purpose of the park is to protect and foster the environmental, landscape, biodiversity and cultural values of Misty Peak Reserve and provide for an outdoor recreation experience for visitors.

The aims for managing the park are to

  • protect and enhance natural values
  • maintain and promote the historical features and cultural values
  • facilitate appropriate access for people to experience and appreciate a natural environment

Public feedback so far:

Key Actions - public feedback so far

  • Manage and support biodiversity
  • Extend and connect tracks within and outside the park
  • Recognise taonga species in the area of importance to tangata whenua

Suggestions for use of the reserve - public feedback so far

  • Low key facilities such as parking, interpretation, signage, toilet and small scale commercial use
  • No camping
  • Have mixed use recreation tracks. Have management and education for  mountain bike use
  • Designate tracks according to terrain and vegetation
  • Allowing for horse riding/trekking

Management issues and suggestions - public feedback so far

  • Remove pines
  • Control pests plants and animal pests
  • Support some native planting
  • Apply a Hinewai Reserve example of ‘hands-off’ approach for planting and regeneration,  versus more active pest control and native planting eg by DoC
  • Fire risk key concern – use sheep grazing and water ponds to help address fire risk
  • Work with neighbouring property owners over shared risks and issues

Draft management plan objectives

  1. Protection and enhancement of the natural elements of the park’s landscape and environmentAerial view of Misty Peaks Reserve
  2. Tangata Whenua values are recognised
  3. Farming history is recognised
  4. Native vegetation is recognised
  5. Trees are safe for visitors
  6. Wildfires are prevented or quickly suppressed if they occur
  7. Stock grazing is progressively removed
  8. -
    1. Public recreational facilities are encouraged and facilitated where appropriate
    2. certain activities are controlled
  9. Commercial activities on the park are compatible with the park purpose and do not limit public access
  10. The park is readily accessed by the public.
  11. Necessary utilities are provided for in the park
  12. Buildings exist only if necessary and do not impact on the park’s natural environment
  13. Physical connections with neighbouring/nearby open space areas/uses is fostered
  14. The public is well informed on the values and attributes of, as well as threats to, and other   information about Misty Peaks Reserve
  15. The community participate in the enhancement and promotion of Misty Peaks Reserve
  16. The park’s effectiveness and condition, and needs, over time are well understood

Please go to the Misty Peaks Reserve draft plan [PDF, 5.5 MB] to view  proposed policies for each of these of objectives.

Why have a reserve management plan?

A reserve management plan gives direction under a statutory process to ensure a park will be managed through stated policies. It highlights the values, needs and uses of the park.

The park is managed by the Council Regional Parks team as a regional park.

View from Lighthouse Road

View from Lighthouse Road

Next steps

After consultation has closed we will

  • collate and analyse all the written submissions received
  • present the information to a hearings panel made up of community board members and councillors
  • arrange a hearing in Akaroa so that submitters can speak to the panel in support of their submission
  • have the hearings panel  report its recommendation  for the finalised plan to the Banks Peninsula Community Board for approval
  • inform submitters of the decision and any changes to the plan

How to find out more

  • View the Misty Peaks Reserve Draft Management Plan [PDF, 5.5 MB] 
  • View a hard copy of the draft management plan at Akaroa Library, Little River Service Centre, or at Civic Offices Christchurch.
  • Read more information about the park and the planning on the Council website at

Talk to the team

Tuesday 6 November - 4pm to 6pm at the Service Centre, Little River

Saturday 24 November - 10 am to 12pm at the Akaroa Farmers Market (Madeira Hotel Carpark, 48 Rue Lavaud, Akaroa)