News, Events and Culture

New swing bridge for Arapuke Forest Park

Friday March 31 2017

The number of users of Arapuke Forest Park near Palmerston North is expected to rise significantly with the construction of another bridge across Kahuterawa Stream.

Photo shows a man helping to install a swing bridge in the bush.

The new swing bridge will allow people to loop through Arapuke Forest Park instead of walking in and out the same way.

The 22-metre swing bridge will be officially opened by Palmerston North City Councillor Brent Barrett at 10.30am on Saturday 8 April.

It allows walkers to tramp Sledge Track, cross the new bridge, and then return via Arapuke Forest Checkpoint Charlie Track and Pupurahi, or via the longer 7km route of Arapuke Road and Back Track.

"People love loops rather than walking in and out the same way," Palmerston North City Council Leisure Assets Officer Brian Way says. "Once the Tawa Loop was built, the number of walkers in the Manawatū Gorge exploded.”

The need for the swing bridge was identified in the Council’s Kahuterawa Outdoor Recreation Plan. Tree harvesting, track building and the extension of the carpark were first required.

The new bridge is about 2.5km from Kahuterawa Road carpark and walkers should allow up to 90 minutes to arrive. The bridge links the top end of Sledge Track to the back corner of Arapuke Forest Park.

Materials and equipment for the construction of the bridge were helicoptered in and inmates from Manawatū Prison built the approaches to the bridge on the Arapuke Forest Park side.

"April is a great time to check out the new bridge with the Easter and Anzac holidays and before winter is upon us," Mr Way says.

"Parts of the loop track provide great views down the valley to the city. A good level of fitness is required as some sections are steep."

An extensive Council-run trapping and poisoning programme within the park and neighbouring properties has reduced the number of possums, mustelids and rats. Bird life includes tui, karearea, ruru, korimako, kereru and grey warbler.

Public toilets are at Kahuterawa Road carpark.