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Totara Reserve opens Labour Weekend for camping

Totara Reserve in the Pohangina Valley opens for camping season this Labour Weekend.

Less than an hour from Palmerston North, the Reserve is nestled in the foothills of the Ruahine Ranges in the Pohangina Valley.

It is one of the best and most accessible examples of native lowland forest that once covered most of the Horizons Region.

A popular spot for daytime visitors and walkers, each year the reserve opens for camping from Labour Weekend through to Easter Weekend. Horizons Regional Council biosecurity, biodiversity and partnerships manager Rod Smillie says it’s wonderful seeing families return to Totara Reserve as well as new groups camping each year.

"Totara Reserve has grown in popularity in recent years and camping spots at the reserve are hot property," says Rob. "We encourage anyone wanting to stay to get in early and book now for the summer months to avoid disappointment.

"There are powered and non-powered camping sites available and this year a fire pit is being installed in the camping grounds, along with a designated area for kids’ motorised bikes being available."

There are two camping grounds in Totara Reserve, the older Kahikatea Camp provides a sense of nostalgia and seclusion while the newer Kereru Camp adjacent to Camp Rangi Woods offers easy river access for swimming.

Rob says the reserve offers modern facilities, including hot showers for campers, and toilets, barbeques, numerous bush walks and a fantastic nature playground for day and overnight visitors to enjoy. "Biodiversity has also improved within the reserve thanks to pest control efforts by council," says Rob.

"The reserve is home to many native bird species including karearea (NZ falcon), piwaiwaka (fantail), tauhou (wax-eye), ruru (morepork), korimako (bellbird), kotare (kingfisher), kereru (wood pigeon), tomtit, and popokatea (whitehead)." "We’ve also recently had confirmed sightings of kaka."

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