New Zealand Walk: Lake Mangama­hoe walk of­fers chang­ing scenery

Walking New Zealand - - Contents - By Judy Eva

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.

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