Manawatu Gorge Tracks
It is hard to imagine that such a beautiful and accessible piece of forest is less than 20 minutes drive from Palmerston North city.
The Manawatu Gorge tracks are located approximately 12 km east of Palmerston North adjacent to State Highway 3. Access to the Manawatu Gorge track from the west (Ashhurst end) is from the carpark on the left side of the road immediately before the gorge entrance. From the east (Woodville end) the track entrance is located on the Ballance Gorge Road just across the Ballance
Bridge. The Upper Gorge Bridge and Manawatu Gorge Loop tracks are acessed from this end.Manawatu Gorge Track
(**See Tawa Track)
Walking Track, 3–5 hours one way.
Please note that the Manawatu Gorge Track is NOT A LOOP TRACK. If you are using two cars, then park one at the Woodville end and leave the other in the carpark at the Ashhurst end.It only takes about 10 minutes extra driving to sort out the cars. If you choose to walk for an hour, turn around and come out the same way, it is recommended that you start from the Ashhurst (western) end.
This 10 km walk is very achievable for people of average fitness. The well-formed metal track follows a steady gradient. Walking shoes or boots are recommended.
Things to see
From the Ashhurst end, the short walk up the stream at the start of the track is a lovely way to immerse yourself in the forest experience. The sound of cascading water drowns out the sound of traffic and makes the busy gorge feel a lot further away than it is.The vegetation type is mainly tawa and podocarp forest but also has a significant number of broadleaved trees. What makes this piece of forest so unusual is the predominance of the giant maidenhair fern. This fern is found only in the Manawatu in New Zealand. Nikau palms are here in abundance giving a tropical touch to the track. On a fine day, the various viewpoints along the track are impressive, and the latest additions to the landscape, the wind turbines, are an interesting feature as well.
***Tawa Track Loop ** This is a new edition and now is becoming very popular because it is out and back.
Walking Track, 1–2 hours
Starting from the Ashhurst end, the track gives an alterative shorter walk to that of the Manawatu Gorge Track. This 4 km walk includes Tom’s Lookout” offering views over Palmerston North and Ashhurst, and joins up with a track created by the New Zealand Transport Agency that provides
a lookout over a massive slip that closed the gorge road for over a year.
Manawatu Gorge re-opens after 15 months, November 2012 (this major road joins the Hawkes Bay to the Manawatu, there are two alternate routes but with heavy traffic there were a lot of problems with the roads breaking up and accidents.
Work to restore State Highway 3 through the Manawatu Gorge following last year's massive slip is finally complete, says the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA).
- Hiking and Walking
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
This is the best remaining remnant of the lowland forest that used to cover this area. Because it is so rare and precious and small it is closed to the public and you can only see it by appointment.
Because I am the Visiting Literary Artist at Massey I got an appointment, with some difficulty, and had a fascinating guided tour by a botanist. She was very passionate and knowledgeable and gave me so much material, I know I will get, as she suggested, at least one haiku out of the experience.
She suggested that the reason it was never logged was that there was a small spring in the middle of it. Even if the stream that flowed in at one end was dry, a stream always flowed out of the other end - so there must be a spring in it.
It is very beautiful and precious. And also hard to find. I had to get onto some knowledgeable locals to get me permission, to even find out who gave permission, and then we had to be met and shown where it was.
Terrace End Cemetery
If you like ancient crumbling cemeteries - all melancholy and neglected - like I do - then this is a nice place to prowl in and think deep thoughts.
It's on the city limits on the corner of Main Street and Napier Road.
You can't get buried here any more, unless your family owns a plot.
They did start a cemetery in 1875 down on the flat - Terrace End is on the first rise of the foothills - but it didn't work out because the ground was too wet. PN was originally marshland. So they dug everyone up and reburied them up here. Where there is a bit of a view.
I haven't been out to the new cemetery in Kelvin Grove yet - but I do prefer the patina of the neglected, peaceful old ones. The edge of grief is gone. The charm remains.
The disappearing railway
THIS YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE TO SEE BUT THE MAIN POINT IS THE RAILWAY USED TO GO THROUGH THE MIDLE OF THE CITY AND A BRAVE AN EXPENSIVE MOVE WAS MADE TO SHIFT THE WHOLE RAILWAY, YARDS, STATION, WORKSHOPS ETC
This photo was taken of the last train in 1964 and is going up a slight rise in Main Street, going past the City Cemetary.
Take a road trip to Bulls
Take a road trip to an UDDERLY cute little town just a stones throw from Palmy called Bulls for a fun day trip.
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