Exploring neighbourhood nature

We are rather fortunate that when we feel the need to get out into nature, we have some pretty good stuff right on our doorstep - Totara Reserve, the Manawatu's last substantial remnant of lowland forest.

Today my 9-year old son and I set out to do the Fern Walk, named for the plethora of native ferns found in abundance on the forest floor. Forest giants such as kahikatea, northern rata and ... I always get my matai/miro etc mixed up ... can be found too. (Sadly, not so many mighty totara - most of those were milled for things like railway sleepers a century or so ago.)

The official time for the walk is 2 - 2 1/2 hours, but we did it in just over an hour and a half. And we learnt quite a lot about ferns, such as what a 'hanging spleenwort' looks like (it looks nicer than it sounds).

Above is a photo of the forest as viewed from the entrance to the walk, and below some colourful fungi on a mossy log we spotted along the walk.

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