Manawatu Gorge Track, Wednesday December 7 2011
The last tramp for the year was a more social event – a short tramp along the Manawatu Gorge track, followed by lunch at the café. Driving down through the picturesque Central Hawke’s Bay, we arrived at the Ballance bridge car park at the eastern end of the gorge track. Light drizzle was falling, but not enough to penetrate the thick bush canopy above.
With the intention of trying to reach the massive slip which has blocked the gorge for more than four months, a leading group set the pace. It’s a steady ascent up many steps on a well-kept track, through some very nice bush. The first lookout at Windy Point revealed lots of mist covering the windmills on the opposite side of the gorge.
We popped out onto the western side to check out the windmills over the fence, not one moving in the still air. The track seems to still climb gradually until reaching the Te Apati lookout, a platform giving spectacular views over the road and river. There was no sign of the slip; it was still further round, much closer to the Ashhurst end, so as we were on a time restraint, we turned around and headed back.
Arriving at the upper bridge track, we detoured, dropping down to a car park on the gorge road just by the bridge. It seemed strange with no traffic and to be able to walk on the road and over the bridges back to the van.
We were planning on lunch at the café but found it was closed due to lack of traffic, so we piled into the vehicles and set of back to Dannevirke for a most enjoyable lunch. The gorge track is an easy walk and well worth the stop-off if time allows when travelling to Palmerston North, or a good day out when combined with lunch somewhere.
Trampers: Kelvin Shaw, Murray White, Vic Bullock, John Marshall, Viv Bramley, Jenny Burns, Ron Morison, Keith Moretta, Ken Ross, Peter Slagter, Doug Matheson, Rosemary Jeffery, Les O’Shea, John Burrell, and Alison Greer