Manawatu Gorge Track

2 July 2022

A party of 16 left on a freezing Sunday morning at 7.00am; 12 in the van and 4 in Glenda’s vehicle.  Driving through Dannevirke it was around -1 degrees.  We arrived at Ballance Gorge Road just prior to 9 where 10 members of the party were setting off from the Woodville end.  The remaining six stayed in the van and were driven by Peter around to the Ashhurst carpark.  

The track is really well maintained and climbs steadily before levelling out for a spell high above the gorge.  There were plenty of places to stop along the way with five lookouts offering either views into the gorge or out to wind and dairy farms.  

Its 11.2km each way and the track was beautifully green with a real tropical feel about it with all the native bush, beautiful Nikau palms and giant maidenhair ferns.  On our walk we had the lovely bird song of Tuis, and Bellbirds.  You could also hear the swooshing in some parts of the track of the windmills. 

Around ¾ of the way through to the Ashhurst side we met up with the other party so sat down and had lunch.  The last section of the walk was stunning and just before the end of the track we came along a very impressive high metal sculpture of Whatonga.  Whatonga was one of three recognised chiefs on board the Kurahaupo Waka, which journeyed across the Pacific.  He continued his waka-bourne explorations around the New Zealand coast, eventually travelling up the Manawatu River.  

The weather was clear but cold.  We then all piled back into the van.  We then headed back off to the Woodville side to pick up the rest of the group at around 2.30pm.  All in all it was a really great day out and were back in town around 4.30pm.  

Party: Jude H, Peter B, Nat B, Glenda H, Kevin C, Susan L, Anne D, Daniel H, Paula K, Janice L, Simon W, Dave M, Murray A, Nic W, Brent H, Colin J. 

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