Wakefield has a number of reserves, all of which offer the opportunity for a walk in native bush under some of the last remaining podocarp forests in the Waimea Planins, and a picnic or BBQ afterwards. Much work has been done by volunteers from the Wakefield Bush Restoration Society (Inc 2002) to restore, replant and maintain these beautiful sites.
Take your pick from the following reserves for your outings:
Robson Scenic Reserve
Access is off 88 Valley Road. Offers both a scenic reserve with picnic tables and a walk through regenerative bush. There is access for part of the trail on a cleared track.
Edward Baigent Memorial Scenic Reserve
Road access is from SH 6, just as one leaves Wakefield, heading towards Murchison. It can also be accessed on foot from the river track starting behind the fire station in Wakefield. This reserve borders the Wai iti River, allowing for cooling off on hot days, has toilet facilities, a gas BBQ and picnic tables.
Doug South (who together with his wife Evie Joy worked tirelessly to develop these reserves) has a memorial site in this reserve – so do visit his little corner under a sprouting kahikatea tree.
Faulkner Bush Scenic Reserve
The land for this scenic reserve was purchased by the Tasman Council from descendants of the Faulkner family who farmed in this area from the 1870s. It is to be found on the left hand side as one leaves Wakefield, heading for Murchison.
Raised boardwalks offer a variety of trails through this native forest, including a loop to the top of the hill which offers beautiful views over Wakefield. Many of these tracks are wheelchair and pushchair friendly. Information boards en route provide glimpses into the Faulkner family and their lives in this area. The scenic reserve offers a children’s playground with a flying fox; toilets, picnic areas and gas BBQs.
Wai Iti Recreation Reserve
Access is just before the Wai Iti Bridge on SH 6.
This reserve which offers picnic tables and toilets is the start of a number of activities:
Wai ti Dark Sky Park – established as NZ’s first Dark Sky Park in 2020 https://www.darksky.org/wai-iti-first-nz-idsp/
Kainui Bike Park
Great Taste Cycle Trail
Tunnicliff walking, cycling and horse riding trails
Wai Iti River Bridge walk – along the river, past the Quail Valley chicken farm
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