New Zealand Walk: Lake Mangamahoe walk offers changing scenery
Just out of New Plymouth which is a 10 minute drive south of the city on SH3 Junction Road is a delightful two hour 6 km circuit track around Lake Mangamahoe.
It leads through a working pinus radiata forest, ornamental tree plantings and regenerating native bush. It is set in a 262ha production forest surrounding the lake.
The beauty of this walk is in the changing scenery as you continue along the way. A bush track, an open area where felling of trees has taken place, a delightful walk through a dell of ferns, a slight diversion to visit a grove of redwood trees which were planted in 1931, rustic grassy area’s and views of the lake.
The track is split into two routes at the eastern side of the lake (the track you are on) and the upper ridge gives you some very good views of Mount Taranaki the surrounding farmland and also the lake itself. The lower route is close to the lake edge where you can observe many species of bird life and regenerating pockets of native bush.
In the early twenties the then New Plymouth City Council purchased the land for the construction of a dam and lake to act as a water catchment area for the expanding city of New Plymouth. In 1932 the lake was created by forming a dam across the valley and submerging 79 acres.
It was named after the Mangamahoe Stream which flows into the upper reaches of the lake water from the stream and nearby Waiwhakaio River and feeds
the lake through a 548m pipe in order to protect the steep hillside from erosion. It is significant to the district in terms of power generation.
I did this walk several years ago from the first car parking area off SH3, the signage was sadly lacking if any at all causing confusion as to where to go as there were several tracks leading to no exit areas causing confusion and walkers becoming temporarily lost. However after complaints the signage is now adequate if you read it carefully.
There are two parking areas where you can start the round trip walk, the first not far in from the entrance off SH3 into the reserve on the right hand side. The other entrance is at the car park at the far end of the lake along the gravel road by the water catchment block.
My sister and I started our walk from the car park area on the left closest to the entrance off SH3.
At the beginning there is a delightful
Above: Lake Mangamahoe.. Below left: The bridge leading to the water catchment area.
Below left: The walk goes over a small boardwalk. Below right: Walking through part of the forest section.
Above left: The beginning of the walk over the swing bridge. Above right: An open forest area. Signpost on right.