For people who, like me, are interested in recreational walking areas in the vicinity of Wellington and the Manawatu, I noticed this morning that Matty T of the Wellington Region Cycleways blog, has an interesting photo heavy post which shows off the Levin to Palmerston North section of the Te Araroa trail.
Matty walked the route in reverse from how it’s presented on the Te Araroa website, so it’s necessary to sort-of read each of the following pages in reverse, but the sections covered from south to north were (I think): The Arapaepae Lookout Track, The Mangahao-Makahika Track, Burttons Track and Fitzherbert Bridge to Burttons Track.
Te Araroa officially opened towards the end of last year, but many of its segments have been around for much longer, if not already having been walking tracks in one form or another for as long as living memory, but they’re now linked together. Besides offering a nearly-continuous route to walk the length of New Zealand, one of the side-effects of Te Araroa has been to promote and open up a variety of places for easier walking access.
Matty’s sections are the parts which skim the north-western foothills of the Tararua Range, through the valley area west of the Camelbacks. It’s not the central Te Araroa experience of the Tararuas, which could be found in the opposite direction, south of Levin where Te Araroa heads up past Waiopehu Hut, then inland to follow the central part of the Tararua Main Range to Waitewaewae and Otaki Forks. (The Main Range route followed a change of plans, after objections to the controversial original proposal of cutting a new track along Oriwa Ridge—a relatively remote off-track Tararua area.)
This is part of the Tararua region which I haven’t visited much, short of the entrance around the Mangahao Dams, but if I have an opportunity some day, then I think I’ll go and hunt down some of the walking tracks in that area.