Walk the Whanganui Summer Program on the Remutaka Rail Trail. This 17km, 5-6 hour walk features excellent signage on the old railway line over the Remutaka mountain range which closed in 1955. Photo/provided.
Long walks were common at the start of the Whanganui summer program, but not so much now.
However, several marches are on the program for 2022, the longest of which took place last Saturday. This was the 17km Remutaka Rail Trail, the old railway line on the Remutaka Range which is now popular for walking and cycling.
A group of 23 people were accompanied by Graeme Jupp, who commented on the route features and told stories about the Fell engines and the famous incline. He has walked the trail nearly 50 times and is associated with the Fell Locomotive Museum in Featherston, which the group visited after the five-and-a-half-hour walk.
Upcoming summer program excursions, which also involve bushwalking, but not as long or difficult as the railway, are the Bridge to Nowhere, Ohakune Old Coach Rd and Lake Rotokare.
Next week’s WSP schedule is as follows: —
Bridge to Nowhere Thursday, January 20. Reasonable physical condition required. Wear sturdy shoes, bring rain gear and a jacket for the river trip. BYO lunch and day pack. Hot drinks at lunch offered. Bus to Pipiriki, followed by 32 km of jet boat and 3 km of bushwalk.
The Bridge to Nowhere is a poignant monument dedicated to the 71 returning soldiers who farmed here after World War I. The government later withdrew its support and demanded that they leave. They were indeed “dishonorable discharged” with little evidence of their efforts. Their homes and farm buildings were burned down to prevent their return. Departure 8am. Return around 5:30 p.m. Adult $160, child $120.
Visit of the museum gallery on Thursday 20 January. Wheelchair access. A tour of the galleries led by program presenter Lisa Reweti, telling the story of Whanganui through 10 objects. Time 1-2 p.m. Meet in the Atrium, Whanganui Regional Museum, Watt Street. Suitable for ages 15 and up. $5 per person. Reservation directly with the museum. Telephone 06 349 1110.
Road to Springvale Friday January 21st. Small walks. BYO morning tea, lunch, snacks, drinks and, if desired, a labeled folding chair to use at lunch. Visit the spectacular high country sheep station area of the central North Island. We travel the remote road from Taihape to Napier. Enjoy late morning tea with Moawhango locals at their former general store-turned-club. Lunch at the graceful historic wooden suspension bridge in Springvale. We then meet the manager of Erewhon, the largest sheep station in the North Island, within the grounds of the farm. Departure 8am. Return around 6 p.m. Adult $48, child $30.
Evening Talk: Tall Timber and Tall Stories Tuesday, January 25. Wheelchair access. In 1982, Paul Mahoney began his heritage career with three years based in Hokitika developing West Coast heritage projects. Some old bush tram tracks were to be converted into footpaths. Paul tracked down relevant forest history by interviewing 70 elders in their homes. The best of these West Coast stories and photographs are brought together in this lecture. Departure 7:30 p.m. Location Davis Theatre, Whanganui Regional Museum, Watt St. Adult $5, child free. No reservations necessary although numbers are limited.
Visit of the museum’s collection, Wednesday 26 January. Wheelchair access. A tour of collectibles stores to see treasures that tell the story of Whanganui, led by Collections Manager Trish Nugent-Lyne. Hours 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Meet in the Atrium, Whanganui Regional Museum, Watt Street. Suitable for ages 15 and up. $5 per person. Reservation directly with the museum. Telephone 06 349 1110.
Ohakune Old Coach Rd, Wednesday January 26th. Reasonable physical condition required. 14 km of 4 hour walk. Sturdy shoes, rain gear and BYO lunch, snacks and drinks. New Zealanders became very excited in 1905 about a train journey from Auckland to Wellington – so excited that the government built a paved road to connect the northern and southern railheads. This allowed overland travel to begin two years before the tracks were joined. When trains started in 1908, the route was abandoned. It became overgrown and forgotten until its resurrection in 2008 as a historic cycle and pedestrian path. Departure 8am. Return around 5:30 p.m. Adult $29, child $19.
Forgotten World Highway, Thursday January 27. Short walks only. Sturdy shoes and rain gear. Morning tea and BYO lunch can be purchased at Lauren’s Lavender Farm & Cafe. This trip is a perennial favorite, but we’re doing it differently this year, going to Taumarunui and covering the entire Forgotten World Highway to Stratford, including the beautiful, rugged, bush-covered Tangarakau Gorge. There will be time to explore Whangamona. A long but satisfying day. Departure 7am. Return around 8 p.m. Adult $59, child $25.
Vaccine passes are required to participate in summer program trips. Book on the Whanganui i-SITE or online.