Sunday, 14 June 2015

Walking in Hanmer Forest Park, 30 May 2015

 A walk in the woods Hanmer Spring style...

 Kathryn and I took the kids and one of Georgia's friends up to Hanmer for the Queens Birthday weekend. It was a bit cold so I was the only brave soul who elected to go for a walk over the weekend. As Mt Isobel was covered with snow and the weather was a bit iffy, I went for a 2 hour walk in Hanmer Forest Park instead.

On a track deep inside Hanmer Forest Park

All of the tracks in the local forest start from the car-park by the old Ranger Headquarters. There are tracks on both sides of the road which take from 30 minutes to 4 hours.  The Hanmer Forest Park is awesome, I thoroughly recommend a walk here if you ever find yourself in Hanmer Springs.

Car-park outside the Hanmer Forest ranger station

On the Hanmer Forest Journey Track

The start of the track is the most developed section of track, all of the short and longer tracks start here. They are primarily walking tracks but I have encountered MTB riders on these tracks before.

Hanmer Forest Park Entrance

Hanmer Forest Park track network map

Start of the Forest Amble Track, Hanmer Forest
The forest park is a curious cross section of different timber species. They have been planted in this area as trial plots by NZFS, and latter forest owners. The selection runs the gamut from Aspen to Pine, Redwood, Spruce, Fir, Beech and Cypress.

Nice wide clear track in  Hanmer Forest
There is plenty of clear signage in the forest. It has got much better since Ngai Tahu (the local Maori Iwi) took over ownership of the forest as part of their Treaty of Waitangi Settlement. They seem to have put a bit of money and manpower into maintenance of the track network.

Start of Forest Walk track, Hanmer Forest

There are a number of interpretive panels alongside the tracks, these speak to the various tree species as well as general information about the forest. This is a commercial forest, although I think the part closest to the road has some kind of Historic Place covenant on its use.

Hanmer Forest: One of the interpretive signs on the track

As you travel along you strike a lot of these small bridges over the drainage network in the Forest. I've never seen any water in the ditches but it must happen occasionally.

One of the bridges over a drainage ditch, Hanmer Forest
There are a mixture of walking and MTB tracks in the Forest, sometimes it is hard to tell them apart.

Hanmer Forest: start of the Forest Journey

Me half way round the Forest Journey, Hanmer Forest

Hanmer Forest: Moving along the track

Another bridge for walkers/MTB'ers, Hanmer Forest

Hanmer Forest: Looking East at a track junction
Yes, it was very quiet in the forest, I only passed 3 walkers and 2 MTB'ers the whole time I was there. As I said, it was really cold in Hanmer over that weekend.

 Hanmer Forest: Looking West towards road

Hanmer Forest: Toadstool near the side of the track
I stopped at this nice seat after an hour of walking for a drink and just to take in the surroundings. It was so tranquil listening to the sound of the wind in the trees, and smelling the scent of pine resin.

Nice seat for a scroggin stop, Hanmer Forest

This beast is only 15 years old!

On the track back to the car park

The last part of the track runs alongside the road, on its way back to the Ranger Station and car park. The entire Forest Journey only takes about 1.5 -2 hours but it is very nice walking amongst these trees. Well worth a visit!

Access: From Hanmer Springs head east out of town on Jollies Pass Road, the start of the tracks are 2 km's out of town
Track Times: Forest Journey 1.5-2 hours total
Miscellaneous: Toilets and map board located at the Ranger Station/Park Headquarters at car park