The slow trip through the Manawatu Gorge means there is plenty of time to appreciate the scenery. And luckily for us keen photographers there are lots of places along the way to pull over and take in some spectacular views of the Manawatu River.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Manawatu Gorge is at its best in early summer. At this time of year you will find as I did (photo taken December 2009) the odd pohutukawa tree flowering near the roadside verge. What a magnificent specimen this pohutukawa tree is with its bright red flowers perfectly offsetting the surrounding native bush.
The Manawatu Gorge is home to lots of native birds too. I frequently see plump wood pigeons flying across the road near the Woodville entrance to the Gorge so watch out for these. The best time to catch these birds is early evening.
Amongst this wonderful scenery its hard to believe that trains have been running right through the heart of the Gorge since the late 1880s. Note the rail bridge in the background of the photoraph.
If you have time to spare there is also an excellent day hike - The Manawatu Gorge Track which passes through the Manawatu Scenic Reserve and affords great views of the Gorge.
The Manawatu Scenic Reserve is denoted by the letter "A" on the Google map. Closest towns to the Manawatu Gorge are Ashhurst and Woodville.
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Manawatu Gorge New Zealand - A Scenic Drive