Otago trail notes

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Contents

Breast Hill Track

Route

The track begins on a public access easement across Longslip Station, a run established by pastoral lease in 1858 and which once comprised 42526ha. In the 1880s the property was overrun by rabbits and abandoned. In 1897 Lake Hāwea and Ben Avon Stations were subdivided off and what remained of Long Slip Station then passed through a succession of lessees before going through tenure review, a process that concluded in 2008.

Access over the final 18km of this track became available when Lake Hāwea Station completed tenure review during 2010. This property has been owned by the Rowley family since 1912. Like Longslip Station, Lake Hāwea Station still operates as a working farm.

Birchwood Carpark to Top Timaru Hut - 22.8km / 7-8 hours

A marked route leads off from the carpark and follows a fence line towards the Avon Burn. Ford the burn then climb to the farm track above the true right bank. Turn right here and head upstream on the farm track as it climbs into the Avon Burn catchment towards Mt Martha Saddle (1680m).

Beyond the saddle Te Araroa descends on an unmarked bulldozer track to Top Timaru Hut (6 bunks). The track is occasionally washed out but travel is still straightforward. The route remains on the true left of the Timaru River all the way down to the hut.

Top Timaru Hut to Timaru River Junction - 12km / 5-6 hours

The bulldozed track on the river's true left continues downstream to the tree line, which is about a 20-minute walk away. Once in the forest progress is slower on a marked track that climbs, descends, and sidles through this steep-sided river valley. This is to the Breast Hill Track/Timaru River Track junction. Along the way the track is on the true left for about 2.5km then emerges from the forest at a grassy area. From here the track leads down to the first of about a dozen river crossings. These are straightforward in normal flow.

Timaru River Junction to Stodys Hut - 2.2km / 1.5-2 hours

The track from the junction climbs steeply to the tree line then sidles across an open section. The track then returns briefly to the forest before reaching Stodys Hut (6 bunks), an old musterers’ hut right on the tree line. The hut has a dirt floor but was restored to a reasonable condition in 2010. Water is available from the nearby creek, the last reliable water source until Pakituhi Hut.

Stodys Hut to Pakituhi Hut via Breast Hill - 11.2km / 3.5 - 4.5 hours

The route between the huts is high and exposed but, from Breast Hill, has views over Lake Hāwea and beyond to the Alps, including Mt Aspiring. It is a Te Araroa highlight.

From Stodys Hut Te Araroa follows an old farm track up to the ridgeline then turns right and follows the farm track along the broad ridge as it undulates towards the Breast Hill summit (1578m). The track is lightly marked but all junctions are signposted so navigation is not usually difficult. Beyond the summit, the track is close to a fence line and mostly unformed. It descends to the 8-bunk Pakituhi Hut (1300m) which is 200m along a side trail to the left.

The hut can also be accessed along a foul weather route, which departs Te Araroa on the left a little over 1km before it reaches the summit. This alternative route is less exposed but lacks the drama the Breast Hill route affords.

Pakituhi Hut to Gladstone Reserve - 5.1km / 3-4 hours

There are no streams en route so carry plenty of water from the hut.

This challenging section descends 950m to the Timaru River Rd, initially along the ridgeline to a small saddle and then down a steep face on a zig-zagging track. Turn left at the road. The Gladstone Reserve is lakeside and about 1km distant.

  • Note: Allow more time if walking this section in the opposite direction.

Potential hazards

  • Farming operations at both ends
  • River crossings - Never cross flooded rivers
  • Track exposed to sun, wind or cold
  • Weather extremes
  • Few water sources in places

Accommodation en route

Lake Hāwea Village

Accommodation

  • Lake Hāwea Motel - 56 Capell Ave - P: 03 441 1188
  • Lake Hāwea Motor Lodge - Capell Ave - P: 0800 429 324 - Motel and hostel accommodation, restaurant and bar
  • Lake Hāwea Holiday Park - 1208 Makarora Rd - P: 03 443 1767 - cabins and camping

Resupply

  • Sailz Lake Hāwea Restaurant & Bar - P: 03 443 1696 - General store, post office, café and restaurant. Open daily from 7.30am.

Transport

  • Alpine Coachlines - P: 03 443 9120 - Wānaka based.
  • Wānaka Bike Tours - offers a Bike & Shuttle service to suit Te Araroa hikers! For an additional $25pp Wānaka Bike Tours will carry hikers packs so they can skip the walking and bike from Lake Hāwea to Lake Wānaka or vice versa. Regular departure times apply so please contact Wānaka Bike Tours to find out more. +64 3 443 6363 / info@wanakabiketours.co.nz / www.wanakabiketours.co.nz

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Gladstone to Wānaka

Route

Gladstone Track - 6.8km / 1.5-2 hours

The Upper Clutha Tracks Trust opened this lakeside track in 2011 and, in doing so, finished Te Araroa through the Upper Clutha region. The track links reserves at Gladstone and Lake Hāwea Village and is mainly on the terrace above the lakeshore.

From the Gladstone Reserve, the track starts on compacted gravel and heads west around the lakeshore. The track soon crosses Johns Creek (usually dry) and then rises towards Denniston Road. It runs alongside the road briefly and then continues straight ahead onto the terrace above the lake.

After half an hour the track veers inland and descends gently to cross a creek bed. It and then returns to the terrace along the lake fringe. A second creek bed is crossed with a similarly benign descent and climb about 1.5km further along.

The track continues along the terrace and crosses a cattle stop at the town boundary. The track enters the Lake Hāwea Reserve here where it remains for the final half-hour or so. The formed track ends on Capell Road about 100m from the Domain Rd intersection, which is adjacent to the Hāwea River control gates.

Hāwea River Track - 12km / 2.5-3.5 hours

The Hāwea River Track was another Upper Clutha Tracks Trust project.

  • Note: This track is suitable for both walking and biking. Bikes and prams can cross the swingbridge but need to be carried down the steps at the southern end.

The initial 800m, from Lake Hāwea to a carpark, is road margin but from there it is easy and pleasant walking along the Hāwea River through to the Albert Town Recreation Reserve, a short distance from Albert Town.

For Te Araroa purposes the track starts at the control gates on near the Lake Hāwea foreshore. Walk up Domain Road. The carpark is 800m distant on the right. The off-road track starts here, through the pedestrian gate. Follow the track down, across a small bridge, and then turn left onto the main track.

The track crosses Camp Hill Road in its mid-section and continues downstream to the Alberttown Conservation Area, then to the Hāwea River Swingbridge.

The Albert Town Reserve campground is located immediately over Hāwea River Bridge ($7.00 per night – toilet, water and parking only).

The track beyond the bridge to Albert Town is unmarked. The way, however, is straightforward and initially on vehicle tracks to SH6 Lake Hāwea-Albert Town Road. Turn left onto the road shoulder. The footpath on the right-hand side crosses the Clutha River Bridge. Te Araroa's Hāwea River Track ends here. (The Albert Town shops are straight ahead and a short distance away.)

Outlet Track - 12km / 3-4 hours

This track comprises 3 popular local tracks: the Outlet; Beacon Point and Bremner Bay Tracks. It takes walkers from Albert Town through to the Wānaka CBD lake frontage.

From the Albert Town (true right) side of the Clutha River Bridge Te Araroa heads upstream on the riverside trail. There is a toilet and interpretation panels a little over a kilometre further along. Continue riverside towards the Lake Wānaka's outlet.

The track ends at the Visitors' Centre on the lakeshore.

Once at the outlet the trail continues around the Lake Wānaka shore. The pathway broadens into vehicle track but, for the most, it is still foot traffic and cyclists only.

Beyond Beacon Point, the trail reverts to walking track and continues around the lake to Bremner Bay. There is a water fountain at the south end of this bay, a short distance from where the track enters the Eely Point Recreational Reserve, and toilets within the reserve itself. On the far side of the reserve the track continues lakeside into Roys Bay, past the boat ramp, and towards the Wānaka CBD.

Potential hazards

  • Vehicles on road or track in some places
  • Track exposed to sun, wind or cold
  • Take care on shared cycle/walkways

Lake Hāwea Village

Accommodation

  • Lake Hāwea Motor Inn - Capell Ave, Lake Hāwea - E: info@lakehawea.co.nz - P: 0800 429 324 or 03 443 1224 - Motel and hostel accommodation, restaurant and bar
  • Lake Hāwea Holiday Park - 1208 Makarora-Lake Hāwea Road, Albert Town - E: stay@haweaholidaypark.co.nz - P: 03 443 1767 - Cabins and camping

Resupply

  • Sailz Lake Hāwea - 33 Capell Ave, Lake Hāwea - P: 03 443 1696 - General store, post office, café and Bar / Restaurant

Transport

  • Alpine ConneXions - 460 Aubrey Rd, Wānaka - P: 03 443 9120 - E: info@alpineconnexions.co.nz - Wānaka Pickup/Drop off point outside Sports Wānaka 17/23 Dunmore St, Wānaka

Albert Town

Accommodation

  • Zula Lodge (Formerly known as Albert Town Lodge) - 8 Wexford St, Albert Town - P: 03 443 9487 - E: stay@zulalodge.co.nz - Backpacker accommodation

Resupply

Wānaka

General Information

Getting there/away

  • Regular shuttle services link Wānaka with Queenstown, Christchurch and Dunedin.
  • InterCity - P: 03 365 1113 
  • Atomic Shuttles - P: 03 349 0697 
  • Southern Link - P: 0508 458 835 - Queenstown and Christchurch only.
  • Alpine ConneXions - 460 Aubrey Rd, Wānaka - P: 03 443 9120 - E: info@alpineconnexions.co.nz - Wānaka Pickup/Drop off point is outside Sports Wānaka 17/23 Dunmore St, Wānaka
  • Catch A Bus - P: 03 479 9960 - Dunedin only

Accommodation

  • YHA Wānaka, 94 Brownston St, Wānaka - P: 03 443 1880 - E: wanaka@yha.co.nz 
  • Mountain View Backpackers BBH - 7 Russell St, Wānaka - P: 0800 112 201 or 03 443 9010 - E: stay@mtview.co.nz 
  • Wānaka Lakeview Holiday Park - 212 Brownston St, Wānaka - P: 03 443 7883 - E: info@wanakalakeview.co.nz - cabins, campsites and backpacker accommodation.
  • theBothy Wanaka- 21 Russell Street, Wanaka - P 03 4436723 or 027 2499774 Wanaka Backpackers Bothy (theBothy) is centrally located friendly and homely backpackers that is focused on providing the highest level of support and customer service to adventurers and travelers. Well done for getting to the 2585km mark. All TA hikers who have taken the pledge receive complimentary early Check-in and where availability allows free upgrade to our on site Bothy that has cozy and quiet Pod beds with privacy curtains, power and lighting. We have free high speed unlimited fibre internet, free Cadbury's Hot Chocolate, tea, coffee and free popcorn if a movie night is on the cards. Call David on 027 2499 774 or email on contact@bothy.co.nz

Resupply

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Glendhu Bay Track

Route

This lakeside walking/bike track heads west from Wānaka around the lakeshore to Glendhu Bay, which is a popular camping area in summertime.

Head west around the lakeshore from the Wānaka Visitor’s Centre on the Ardmore Street. The formed track starts beyond the parking area.

The track crosses the fringe of the Edgewater Resort’s manicured lawns on its way to the Waterfall Creek Access Road. There is a parking area here and the track continues beyond, crossing Waterfall Creek on a footbridge.

The track undulates into Damper Bay and passes a private boat shed at the bay's head. Beyond Damper Bay the track continues through to Glendhu Bay Lakeside Holiday Park. There is parking here and trampers can continue through the campground to where the section ends, at the Wānaka-Mount Aspiring Road/Motatapu Road junction.

Potential hazards

  • Vehicles on road or track in some parts
  • Track exposed to sun, wind or cold

Accommodation en route

  • Glendhu Bay Lakeside Holiday Park - Rapid 1127, Mt Aspiring Road, Glendhu Bay, Wānaka - P: 03 443 7243 - E: info@glendhubaymotorcamp.co.nz - Cabins, campsites and a small shop open in Summer. There is parking here and trampers can continue through the campground to where the section ends, at the Wānaka Mount Aspiring Rd/Motatapu Rd junction.

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Motatapu Alpine Track

Route

Walk 2.5km up Motatapu Road from the Wānaka Mount Aspiring Road junction to the Fern Burn Carpark. There is a toilet here, at the start of Motatapu Alpine Track.

Foreign owners paid for the construction of this track and the huts en route in accordance with Overseas Investment Office conditions of approval of the sale of the Motatapu and Mt Soho Station pastoral leases. The track was opened by Former Prime Minister Helen Clark in 2008.

The track is well marked but exposed and follows a demanding line. DOC’s published information on the track warns:

  • Due to the exposed nature of the Motatapu Alpine Track and its physically challenging terrain, it is only suitable for experienced trampers.
  • Several steep sidles require care, and tramping times should be adjusted for those not confident in this type of country.
  • The climate is typically Central Otago. Very hot, dry conditions are common in summer.
  • Carry plenty of water, as water sources are limited, and ensure adequate protection against the sun.
  • Wintry conditions can occur at any time of the year, with the higher country subject to snow, especially during winter.
  • Be prepared by having warm, windproof clothing and appropriate footwear.

Fern Burn carpark to Fern Burn Hut - 6.5km / 3 hours 

The first section, on formed track and through to the Fern Burn Hut, is the easiest part of the Motatapu Alpine Track.

From the carpark, the track begins through deer paddocks on the Fern Burn’s true right and enters remnant beech forest at the Stack Conservation Area boundary. The track then traverses the length of the burn-side beech forest strip.

When the track breaks out of the forest section it enters tussock country. The gradient steepens but the track remains benched through to the Fern Burn Hut (12 bunks).

Fern Burn Hut to Highland Creek Hut - 6km / 4 hours

From the hut, the track follows marker poles further up the Fern Burn and on to Jack Halls Saddle (1275m). On clear days there are return views to Lake Wānaka.

Beyond the saddle, the track descends a ridge to a creek crossing. The remainder of the section involves sidles and ridge walking towards the Highland Creek catchment and Highland Creek Hut, located within an impressive high country basin.

Highland Creek Hut to Roses Hut - 10km / 5-6 hours

This is the most demanding section of the track. It involves 2 major climbs and descents. The first involves a memorable climb up a steep spur then sidles to vantage points that provide good views of the Motatapu Valley. A long descent takes trampers down to a creek within a strip of remnant beech forest. A long climb immediately follows up towards a major ridge off Knuckle Peak. From here travel is down the ridgeline to the Motatapu River. Ford the river then cross valley floor to Roses Hut (12 bunks).

Roses Hut to Macetown - 10km / 4-5 hours

The track from the hut continues to follow marker poles. It crosses a small creek and climbs 470m up the ridge to a point at 1270m, above and east of Roses Saddle. From this high point, the track descends to the Arrow River.

If the Arrow River is at normal to low flows then travel is quicker within the river bed all the way down to Macetown. An alternative route to Macetown follows the directional sign and markers on a high water track, which sidles above the river’s true left bank. 

  • Note: trampers on the high water track still need to ford the Arrow River to reach Macetown so come prepared to wait out a flooded river as need be.

Macetown has a population of zero. This historic gold mining town is now a small collection of buildings and ruins. There are toilets here and camping is permitted. Vehicle access to Macetown is by a 15km 4WD track.

Big Hill Track - 13km / 4-5 hours

The Big Hill Track is a historic route that was once the main road from Arrowtown to Macetown.

From Macetown follow the 4WD Arrow Gorge Road downstream to the Eight Mile/Coronet Creek confluence. Head up this creek for about 500m then follow poles and a light ground trail leading off on the true right up to Big Hill Saddle (1060m). The formed track down from the saddle affords good views across to Lake Hayes and the Wakatipu Basin. It passes through open tussock country and beech forest to the Sawpit Gully Trail junction. Continue down on the right-hand track and exit to Ramshaw Lane, Arrowtown on the Bush Creek Trail.

  • Alternative route: In poor weather trampers can continue down the Arrow Gorge Road to Arrowtown.

Potential hazards

  • Vehicles on road or track take care on Motatapu Road and look out for 4WD adjacent to Arrow River
  • River crossings - Never cross flooded rivers. You will have to cross the Arrow River at the south end,
  • Track exposed to sun, wind or cold
  • Weather extremes
  • Few water sources

Accommodation en route

Transport to trailhead

  • Alpine ConneXions - 460 Aubrey Rd, Wānaka - P: 03 443 9120 - E: info@alpineconnexions.co.nz - Daily trampers' shuttle service from Wānaka to Glendhu Bay and to the northern start of the Motatapu Alpine Track - P: 03 443 7966 

Arrowtown 

Background information

Arrowtown is a one of New Zealand's most famous gold mining towns. A town rich in history and spectacular holiday destination.

General information

Getting there/away

Transport to/from Frankton/Queenstown

  • Connectabus - departs regularly from Ramshaw Lane - P: 03 441 4471 

Accommodation

  • Arrowtown Holiday Park - 12 Centennial Ave, Arrowtown - P: 03 442 1876 - E: info@arrowtownholidaypark.co.nz - units, lodge and camping

There is also many other options for accommodation in Arrowtown

Resupply

  • Arrowtown Night n Day Food Store - 39 Buckingham St, Arrowtown - P: 03 442 1886 - - Basic resupply 
  • Arrowtown Bakery & Café - 1 Buckingham St - P: 03 442 1587 - E: info@museumqueenstown.com

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Wakatipu Track

Route

This track crosses the Wakatipu Basin to join Arrowtown with Queenstown. In the process, it links the Millbrook Track with Lake Hayes, the historic Shotover Bridge, and the Frankton Walkway. The treadway is mostly formed walking/cycle trail though some footpath sections are included. The track is complete and signposted, in part as a section of the Queenstown Cycle Trail.

The track starts at the intersection of Villiers and Buckingham Streets in Arrowtown. Turn right into Birkshire Street, then right again into Wiltshire Street and right again into Caernarvon Street. This street continues into Manse Road. Follow the roadside track past Butal Park to the Malaghans Road intersection. Cross Malaghans Road onto the Millbrook Track, this starts just before The Avenue, the main road entrance into the Millbrook Resort.

The Millbrook Track is 3.1km long and marked. It runs alongside The Avenue to the resort centre then veers to the right. It follows Mill Stream and passes through Coronet Nine golf course. The Millbrook Track exits onto Speargrass Flat Road. Turn right here, left into Slope Hill Road, and then left again onto Rutherford Road, which leads down to a carpark at Lake Hayes.

From the carpark, Te Araroa veers a little to the right on the track down the western side of the lake. It then exits towards the highway at the southern lakehead. There is a direction sign to a carpark here. Turn left and cross the highway prior to the carpark and descend on the formed track to Lake Hayes Estate, suburbia. Follow the Queenstown Cycle Trail signs along the track that skirts the estate and exits from the lower end of Widgeon Place.

Turn right and continue upstream along the track on the Kawarau River’s true left bank. This track bends around at the Shotover River confluence and leads up towards the historic Shotover footbridge, which was restored in 2005 as a Rotary Centennial Project.

Once across the footbridge take the track to the left that passes a covered picnic table before leading down towards the river. This track continues downstream and passes under the highway bridge. 

Cross to the right-hand side of the road and veer right past the dog pound and the gun club. Climb the hill beside the gate to the oxidation ponds and exit through an alleyway onto Glenda Drive. Turn right onto Glenda Drive, follow that around, past the Mitre 10 and continue south to the roundabout, then right onto Hawthorne Avenue out towards the main road. Before reaching the main road, turn left onto the shared cycle/walking track which takes you south towards the Five Mile shopping centre (ideal resupply point). The track continues through the Queenstown events centre and crossing the golf course onto Kawarau Road (SH6). Cross the road, turn right, then left into Ross Street. At the bottom of Ross Street turn right into Birse Street, which exits onto Lake Avenue.

The Frankton Domain is across Lake Avenue. Walk down to the lakeshore and the Frankton Walkway starts at the western end of the Domain. From here the walkway provides an easy 1 to 1½ hours lakeside walking experience to Park Street. Continue on Park Street and then the track through the Queenstown Gardens to Marine Parade, on the lakefront, in central Queenstown.

Potential hazards

  • Vehicles on road or track
  • Few water sources
  • Take care on shared cycle/walkways

Queenstown

General information

Getting there/away

Regular flights from Queenstown to many destinations.

Many options for car rental are available.

Accommodation

There are many options for accommodation at all levels within Queenstown. Some include:

Resupply

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Lake Wakatipu Hazard Zone

The trailheads on either side of the Lake are at Queenstown and at the Greenstone Carpark. They make natural beginning or endpoints for Te Araroa section trampers so it's really only through-trampers that have to deal with the issue of getting from one trailhead to the other. There are several options available and trampers can use whatever safe method they like without it compromising the integrity of their tramp.

An option is to take a road shuttle via Glenorchy. There are regular tramper services that do this.

Potential hazards

  • Vehicles on road or track. Take extreme care if walking to Glenorchy/Kinloch
  • Track exposed to sun, wind or cold
  • Weather extremes
  • Few water sources

Glenorchy

General information 

  • Glenorchy Information Centre - Cnr Mull & Argyle St, Glenorchy - P: 03 409 2049 - Glenorchy Information Centre located at Glenorchy Hotel can organise transport from Queenstown to Glenorchy and then onto one of the multi day walking tracks in the area. After hours transport can be arranged.

Transport to Glenorchy and/or Kinloch and/or Mavora Walkway

Accommodation

Shop

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Mavora Walkway

Route

This track starts at the Greenstone Car Park about 40km from Glenorchy, at the end of Greenstone Station Road.

The track traverses varied landscape, featuring mountains, lakes, beech forest and tussock country. Some sections are within Te Wahipounamu – the South Westland New Zealand World Heritage Area.

The track is well marked and initially formed but the ground trail becomes less defined in midsections where it follows marker poles.

The track has a relatively easy gradient with its highest point being 728m on the saddle at the southern end of Passburn Valley. This is where the track leaves Otago and enters Southland, Te Araroa’s most southern region.

Greenstone Road End to Greenstone Hut - 11km / 3-5 hours

From the carpark the track climbs above the Greenstone River and then descends to a swingbridge near the Caples River confluence. Cross the bridge and continue on the track up the Greenstone River's true left side, through a gorged section, towards Slip Flat.

Beyond the open flats the track returns to the forest and continues up the Greenstone River to a sign-posted junction. Turn left here and cross the river bridge towards the Greenstone Hut, which is located in a clearing a little further along. This hut, at the Greenstone Track/Mavora Walkway junction, is spacious but gets busy at peak times. Beyond the hut the track becomes less travelled.

Greenstone Hut to Taipo Hut - 10km / 4-5 hours

Te Araroa onwards is towards Taipō Hut and sign-posted. The track climbs up and around to the Passburn Valley. Near the valley head, the track drops to a creek and then climbs back up to the saddle. Descend following marker poles to Taipō Hut (8 bunks), which is near the banks of the Mararoa River.

Taipo Hut to Boundary Hut - 12km / 3-4 hours

From the hut cross the Mararoa River swingbridge. From here the track is proximate to the river and follows marker poles through open country. Recross the river on another swingbridge to reach Boundary Hut (8 bunks).

Boundary Hut to Careys Hut - 6km / 2 hours

From Boundary Hut follow the 4WD track to the junction with the track to Forks Hut. Take the left hand track down towards North Mavora Lake. Careys Hut (7 bunks) has a wood fired stove and is near the base of a hill at the north end of the lake.

Careys Hut to Mavora Camping Area - 10km / 2 hours

The 4WD track follows the lake edge around to the Mavora Camping Area at the lake’s southern end. There are parking and toilets here. Camping is for a small fee paid via a self-registration system.

The end of the track is at the Mavora Lakes Camping Area. Road access to Mavora Lakes is via 39km of gravelled road from either Centre Hill or Burwood Station. Both access points are sign-posted from SH94 between Mossburn and Te Ānau.

Potential hazards

  • River crossings - Never cross flooded rivers
  • Small stream crossings
  • Track exposed to sun, wind or cold
  • Weather extremes

Transport to Glenorchy and/or Kinloch and/or Mavora Walkway

Accommodation en route

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