Old Coach Road, New Zealand

New Zealand Forest Walks – stunning!

Christmas Eve, Fern Walk – Pohangina Valley

It was Christmas Eve and the children’s excitement was at fever pitch – what else to do but take them for a walk to burn off some steam?  So off we headed, three adults and four children, to the Totara Reserve forest in the Pohangina Valley, one of the most ancient and beautiful in the Central North Island of New Zealand.

We had set off to do the Fern Walk, a relatively short loop, which we figured would take us between 1 ½ – 2 hours, so all up it was perfectly suited to burning off the pre-Christmas energy.

The walk itself is gorgeous.  A lush green New Zealand forest filled with ferns and beautiful big trees with only a soundtrack of the birds disturbing the peace – it was almost magical.  Well that was until we got there anyway.  But the sense of magic prevailed…..my younger niece, Elsa, told me that she was determined to stay up and see Father Christmas and also confided in me that her best friend had done so the previous year and managed to get a glimpse of him.  My younger nephew, Ashton, just said he COULD NOT WAIT UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!! He was beside himself with excitement.  My older niece, Lucy was looking forward to a day at the beach with family from all over New Zealand, and especially seeing her cousins from Hong Kong.  I managed to get one up on my nephew Rory when I raced ahead and hid behind a tree, then jumped out giving him the fright of his life.   I’m not sure that he has yet forgiven me!

It was the perfect walk for an afternoon.  The scenery was beautiful, and by the end, the children were exhausted, ready for an early night, in time for Father Christmas’ arrival.

Fern Walk, New Zealand

Checking the map before we started.

Fern Walk, New Zealand

Fern Walk, New Zealand

Some great views from the top.

Fern Walk, New Zealand

Gorgeous views

Fern Walk, New Zealand

Kereru, Wood Pigeon

Fern Walk, New Zealand

Fern Walk, New Zealand

Boxing Day, The Old Coach Road – Ohakune

Christmas was done and dusted.  We were fully sated, we’d eaten until our stomachs were bursting after a delicious meal, then followed it up with a hedonistic festival of present opening.  Now it was time for us to walk off the feast and get back to nature.

The New Zealand summer I had experienced was, in a word, lousy, but Boxing Day looked promising weather-wise.  So we planned another day trip in the Central North Island, this time the Old Coach Road trail, which is part of the national  Te Araroa Trail which covers the length of the country.  Both a walking track and a mountain biking trail, it was perfect for us – three adults and two children on brand new mountain bikes they’d received for Christmas.

This time the walk was one way, so thanks to Dad as our driver, we started in Horopito, and headed towards Ohakune, with day packs filled with lots of water, plenty of food including a picnic lunch, and even sunscreen (at last, we needed it!).  My niece and nephew, Ruby and Oliver, would be trying out the new bikes, while my sister, Susannah, Mum and I would be walking.  In total, our section of the track was 14.5 kms.

I was really impressed with the Te Araroa Trail, which was completed in 2011.  The section we walked and biked along was a great track, well suited for both our walking and mountain biking needs.  It was well equipped with lots of informative signage about the history of the Old Coach Road, the trees, the birds, the railway and old viaducts which we passed by, as well as the new railway line.  And the Trail itself was absolutely stunning!  Filled with beautiful punga forests, cabbage trees, Rimus, Ratas, Kahikiteas, and the sound of birdsong, it was an absolutely gorgeous walk.  Plus here was lots of interesting things to see along the way, like the old viaducts and tunnels, not to mention some pretty spectacular views.

So if ever you should find yourself in Central New Zealand and need to burn off some children’s excess energy,or even if you want to immerse yourself in an ancient punga forest and forget the rest of the world for a while, these walks are highly recommended.

It reminded me of just how beautiful New Zealand is and how lucky we are to have these walkways on our doorsteps.  It really is Godzone!

Old Coach Road, New Zealand

Just gorgeous!

Old Coach Road, New Zealand

Exploring an old tunnel

Old Coach Road, New Zealand

Standing on the old viaduct looking up at the new one

Old Coach Road, New Zealand

Mountain bikers coming through!

Old Coach Road, New Zealand

Coming through the forest…

Old Coach Road, New Zealand

Beautiful scenery

Old Coach Road, New Zealand

You almost expect a Hobbit to come round the corner….

Old Coach Road, New Zealand

Stunning scenery

Old Coach Road, New Zealand

The old railway in the background

Old Coach Road, New Zealand

Morning snack stop

Old Coach Road, New Zealand

Beautiful scenery

Old Coach Road, New Zealand

The beginning of the Old Coach Road trail

Old Coach Road, New Zealand

Lots of information along the way

Old Coach Road, New Zealand

Here come the mountain bikers

 

 

Comments
One Response to “New Zealand Forest Walks – stunning!”
  1. Jackie says:

    Truly beautiful walks here in the central North Island and absolutely snake free!

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