Posted by: corozmum | October 29, 2010

Track & Tunnel Walk

I promised myself that I wouldn’t download and post our holiday photos until I had finally done a post about this walk.

Each May the Woodville Lions Club have their annual fundraiser The Manawatu Gorge Track & Tunnel Walk. We drive through the gorge and as its narrow and windy, and we’re always in a hurry we figured a walk along the train tracks on the other side would be a great way to see the gorge.

You park in the Ashhurst Domain, then they bus you through the gorge and you walk back along the train tracks. They have 3 leaving times. With 3 young people with us I opted for the last trip at 10.30. We had enough trouble getting there on time so I’m glad I didn’t chose one of the earlier trips. It takes a couple of hours to walk along.

This is the the road bridge at the Woodville end of the gorge.

Crossing a rail bridge, you can see a truck on the road across the gorge.

Looking along the gorge towards Ashhurst.

Walking the track. We started counting road kill (is that what you call rail kill?) but they were so numerous we gave up…. except for the sheep! There were 3 of those and they were large, covered the track so you had to get off and go around! They were of course split where the wheels had crossed them!

One of the many rapids in the gorge.

And surprisingly there were calm, still patches reflecting the cliffs and road barriers.

A truck on the road opposite passing one of the slip areas that often closes the road in winter.

Exiting one of the two tunnels. You have to take a decent torch with you as one of the tunnels is quite long and curves so it is totally black inside. Even the short one is really dark and walking is hazardous.

This waterfall gushes spectacularly in the winter from heavy rain so The Ref and I were keen to see something up close that we always look for from the road. It looks so small and innocuous here!

Nearing the Ashhurst end of the gorge.

Out of the gorge, looking towards the Tararua ranges.

Crossing the last rail bridge before arriving back at the domain.

It was a great walk, helped by a nice day after a week of rain and not too much sun. Piratz works in signals for the rail and especially wanted to do the walk. We spent alot of time having him explain the different parts of the rails and what he looks for and works on. We even got in a story about his granddad (who also worked for the railways and was high enough up to be known by Piratz big bosses) being stuck on the tracks by slips years ago. Luckily theres a shed for shelter about halfway through.

The ballast is really hard to walk on so you get a really good work-out. The sleepers are too close together and if you skip one, too far apart. You can only balance the rails for so long! So you walk on ballast for most of it.

I’m really glad we did it and would happily go again with someone who wanted to do it.

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