This was my next stop... Balmoral Forest Reserve
by the side of the Hurunui River...
administered by the Balmoral Recreation Area Charitable
Trust and is located along Culverden Road (turn left after
Hurunui bridge). It is a huge area; grassy, open and
sunny with loads of mature pine trees.
There is a range of facilities here including power and
non powered sites, toilets, water taps and BBQ’s.
There are no rubbish bins - you must carry
out what you bring in. There are fire ban rules.
Willow trees bursting out in their new spring dresses...
The Balmoral Forest is one of Canterbury’s largest exotic forests,
planted on poor land on the north bank of the Hurunui River.
It has twice been victim to disaster, the first in 1957 when
the second largest plantation fire in New Zealand swept through
and destroyed 2,991 hectares and again in 1975 when wind did
further damage. In 1955 the Balmoral Forest was the largest in
Canterbury covering an area of 7,446 hectares comprising
Radiata, Corsican and Ponderosa pine.
It was after the second weather event and the last windblown
logs had been railed out that the Waiau branch line was closed.
That 1978 closure was the last of the Canterbury lines.
Now there is just the picnic and camping ground left for
the use of the public, administered by a Charitable Trust
and run by volunteers. There is water and basic toilet
facilities for a fee of $5 per camping party.
When I left Christchurch, destination Pohara, I decided
that as I had travelled this route for the last 30 years,
well before my motor home and house bus days,
I was going to set myself the challenge of not
staying or parking anywhere I had stayed before.
I had stayed at Waikuku but not in the camping
ground and never before at Balmoral Forest.
I have passed it so many times I can't believe
I haven't been to this beautiful place before.
I will definitely be back... And to explore the trout fishing.