Showing posts with label Geraldine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Geraldine. Show all posts

Monday, 23 March 2015

Peel Forest: 15th March 2015: Acland Falls Track and "Big Tree" Walks

Some day walks in Peel Forest

The family and I went down to Geraldine recently for a weekend get away, while there I took the opportunity to go for a walk at Peel Forest Scenic Reserve. I walked  to Acland Falls, and then around to Te Wanahu Flat and back to the car, about 1.5hrs total. Later that same day the whole family walked to the "Big Tree" which is an enormous 1000 year old  Totora tree in the forest. Awesome!

Acland Falls Walk, Peel Forest (1.5 hrs)

I went for a short hour long walk into Acland Falls and then followed the connecting track over the intervening ridge to Te Wanahu Flat. The track is off a very high standard although a bit muddy on the day as it had been raining the evening before. Peel Forest is full of interesting tracks from 15 minutes right up to 8 hour return tramps to Little Mount Peel 1790 meters.

Map of the Peel Forest track network

DOC Peel Forest track sign at road side
The track to the Falls is all up and down, luckily it only takes 30 minutes to get there so no major drama's really. It was quite muddy due to overnight rain as well, I imagine it is a bit of a mud slog in the Winter.

Closer view of some of the tracks at Mt Peel Scenic Reserve

Acland Falls Track: Start of climb over ridge

The Acland Falls are small, only 14 meters and not all that impressive in dry weather but I bet they are fairly spectacular if you visited during Winter. There is a very deep pool at the base of them and that requires a god amount of water. 

Acland Falls (14 meters)

Acland Falls

Jon at the Acland Falls
Good idea of the damp, dark nature of the area around the falls, with luxuriant fern growth on all of the gorge walls.

Track into Acland Falls

Jon at Acland Falls
The track into the falls was a bit muddy due to overnight rain.

Acland Falls Track: Start of the muddy climb to Te Wanahu Flat

Video of Bellbirds singing

Acland Falls Track: track junction, Peel Forest

Acland Falls Track: Close-up of track sign

The track to Te Wanahu Flat

Mature Rimu Tree on Te Wanahu Flat Track

Te Wanahu Flat Track: Rimu tree next to track

Track sign on Te Wanahu Track

That undergrowth is a bit thick on the Te Wanahu Flat Track

Semi mature Maitai tree next to Te Wanahu Flat Track

Te Wanahu Flat Track: close up of trunk of Rimu tree

Te Wanahu Flats ablution block

While I was walking Kathryn and the girls went for a horse trek down into the Rangitata River Valley. Here are a few photos of the horses and ladies when they arrived back at the horse trekking place. I sounded like it was a lot of fun.

The company name is Peel Forest Horse Trekking.

Georgia on her mount, Kathryn in background

Georgia and horsey companion

Juliet in horsely attire

Juliet and her mount

Juliet and friend

Big Tree Walk, Peel Forest (30 minutes return)

After I picked Kathryn and the kids up we went back down to Peel Forest and went for a walk into the "Big Tree" which is a 1000 year old Totora tree about 15 minutes into the forest. Peel Forest was logged in colonial times but there are still a few examples left of the enormous native trees which grew in the area.

Te Wanahu Flats, Peel Forest
One end of the loop track to the Big Tree starts to the right of the DOC shelter at Te Wanahu Flat, there are toilets and a picnic table here but no water point. Surprisingly, there were no sand flies here, nor anywhere in the area. Its possible the colder weather has forced them into hibernation.

Georgia making like a Zombie.......
There are some awesome examples of Totora and Rimu along the track, the undergrowth is very thick, so you really want to stay on the track.

How can you not stop and give a 700 year old tree a hug, it deserves it after standing for so long.

Juliet at another large Totora tree in Peel Forest

Tree huggers all...

Barely reaching around big Totora in Peel Forest

Peace y'all!
There are some nice interpretive panels along the track which give some information about the flora and history of the area. They point out good examples of the Totora and other natives along the track.

DOC sign at 800 year old Totora tree, Peel Forest

Jon at said big Totora tree, Peel Forest

Peel Forest: crown of a Totora next to track
There is a nice seat next to the Big Tree where you can sit and contemplate your surroundings, I recommend you take the time to do so, it was a very peaceful spot.

Peel Forest: looking up along the Big Tree
There were a couple of branches lying on the ground near the tree, obviously broke off due to the weight which were at least a full meter around! I'm sure there would be enough timber in this one tree for a moderately large sized house.

Closer look at the crown of a big Totora in Peel Forest
As you can see the so named Big Tree is absolutely enormous, it looks to be about 6 meters around and was at least 50 meters tall. There would be a lot of wood in one of these, the reason they were logged in days past.
Juliet for scale under the Big Tree

Thick bush covered ridge, Peel Forest

Peel Forest: a big Rimu tree poking out of the forest

 The large native Rimu tree sticking out of the canopy is one I passed on the track between Acland Falls and the Flats earlier in the day.

A couple of nice short walks.

 Peel Forest is but a small remnant of a much larger forest cleared in the 1800's for pasture. The disturbing thing is that the wood wasn't even used, most of the forest was simply burnt down by the early settlers of the area. This part was only saved because an English tourist to the area was so appalled by the destruction that he brought it and gifted it to the nation.

What a waste!