Swamp and Bush

A slice of `Old Wairarapa’ lies beneath boardwalk and amongst bush at a tranquil lower North Island reserve gifted to the public 120 years ago.

Stark trunks of dead New Zealand native trees blend with lush flax and living trees at Carter Scenic Reserve east of Carterton, 1-1/2 hours from Wellington. An information board says the dead giants show how fragile ecosystems are and how a small change can have a great impact.

Most of these dead trees were flourishing when the land was gazetted as a scenic reserve in 1921 - a fine example of bush in the Wairarapa area before clearance for farming.

Left to the public by Charles Rooking Carter in 1896, the reserve has two distinct parts. The first is a boardwalk over swamp. The second is a more ‘traditional’ walk through bush. The easy 20-minute loop walk covers half and half.

It’s flat and in summer would be easy to push a baby buggy around - possibly a bit damp in winter. There is a long-drop toilet but no running water.  It’s not a long way to drive to the reserve and within cycling distance from surrounding towns. Carter Scenic Reserve is tucked away just off Gladstone Road. You can easily miss the turnoff into a gravel driveway, so stay alert.

Gladstone Public Reserve is also off Gladstone Road near the bridge and self-contained motor homes can park here overnight. There’s a tidy picnic spot and you can drive right down to the riverfront. It’s been said there are decent sized trout in the river -- try close to the bridge!

Of course, both reserves are handy to the Gladstone Inn pub with its redeveloped terrace and garden bar, and Gladstone Vineyard, a popular lunch destination. The cellar door is open for tasting daily. The family friendly area around the café has a fort and sandpit.

For more information visit www.gladstoneinn.co.nz and www.gladstonevineyard.co.nz  

For more things to do while you're visiting the Wairarapa head to www.wairarapanz.com. When you're here be sure to call into one of our i-SITEs for advice and trip suggestions.

Masterton i-SITE
Cnr Bruce and Dixon Streets
+64 6 370 0900

Martinborough i-SITE
18 Kitchener Street
+64 6 306 5010

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