Manawatū’s Sledge Track offers the chance to connect with nature and experience some of the region’s most beautiful scenery in the heart of Kahuterawa Valley.
Just a short 20–minute drive from Palmerston North city, Sledge Track is a great outdoor activity for both locals and visitors to Manawatū. Officially opened in 2003, it’s enjoyed by everyone from families, to dog walkers and trail runners.
Pick your adventure based on your fitness level and ability. Take a short return walk to the swimming hole or rock formations, or trek right up to Toetoe Junction. Make a day of it and explore the adjoining loop tracks at the top too.
To get to Sledge Track, drive to the end of Kahuterawa Road where you’ll arrive at the Kahuterawa carpark. Enter the Sledge Track through the gate just 200 metres away. Your adventure begins here.
The first section of the track is an easy, flat walk so it’s great for young children. You’ll meander through lush native bush alongside Kahuterawa Stream. Tell the kids to keep an eye out for friendly fantails (pīwakawaka).
The first section of the track
The Swimming Hole
Just 10-15 minutes in, you’ll see a signpost inviting you to a swimming hole. It’s a few steps down off the main track and is a great destination for families. Relax and have a picnic at the table in this tranquil spot. Enjoy the feeling of being nestled in the valley while taking in the unique New Zealand fauna surrounding you in varying shades of green. Be sure to tune into the bird song too. You might hear Tui and Korimako (bellbirds). Children will have fun playing in the wilderness and splashing around in Kahuterawa Stream, which is highly valued for its pristine water quality.
The Swimming Hole
Further along Sledge Track (30-50 minutes in) you’ll find the impressive rock formation known as Argyle Rocks.
Take some snaps with the boulders and listen to the white–water cascading down the valley. Perch on a rock and take a few mindful moments. This is the natural environment at its best.
Carry on up the track and the terrain gets a bit more challenging. Tackle a few steps and you’ll be rewarded with waterfalls and glimpses of the stream through mossy tree trunks. Remember to pause, lift your gaze and appreciate the lush layers of tree canopy protecting you from the sun. What birdlife can you see?
Quartz Creek Junction
At Quartz Creek Junction, there’s an impressive swing bridge which leads over the gully into Arapuke Park. Stand on the bridge and take in the beautiful view up the valley, then turn back and re–join the main path to continue along Sledge Track.
If you’re craving some high-intensity cardio and like to feel the burn, you’re going to love what’s coming next.
Swing Bridge, Quartz Creek Junction
You’ll take on a steep, 1.5-kilometre climb with plenty of steps known as The Elevation. Take extra care after rain as the ground can be muddy and slippery.
After the climb, you’ll arrive at Toetoe Junction in Hardings Park – a scenic reserve covered in 860 hectares of lush native bush.
You are now 1.5 – 2.5 hours from the carpark.
At 523 metres above sea level, this is a great spot to rest and refuel your body while taking in the sights.
Check out the information on the sign to choose the next part of your adventure. Turn back and begin your descent to the carpark or explore either of the two adjoining tracks.
Option one is Toetoe Loop Track. This takes you North through Hardings Park. You can also add on the Platinum Mines Loop Track. Satisfy your curiosity and investigate six exploratory Platinum mineshafts dating back to the late 1800s.
Option two is Otangane Loop Track which heads south into Tararua Forest Park. It’s a bit longer and you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the Tararua District.