Ferry Reserve Freedom Camping Area

ferry reserve as seen from the old manawatu gorge bridge

Back in April I wrote a story called Our Favourite Freedom Camping Sites – Part 1

This isn’t Part 2 – that is still to come – probably after we finish our jaunt around the lower half of the North Island in a few weeks. So please watch this space!

However, there is at least one freedom camping site that will definitely appear in Part 2, and that is Ferry Reserve just 3 kilometres from Woodville, beside the Manawatu River.

Winter may not be the best time to stay at the Ferry Reserve Freedom Camping site, but I found it to be quite spectacular for one particular reason…the mist that greeted me when I took the dogs out for their morning walk.

The mist gave the whole area a very moody, somewhat ghostly atmosphere that lent itself to photographing the area in black and white. So that is what I did.

But before I share my photos here is a little bit about Ferry Reserve.

It is a large grassed area offering many level parking areas, but sloping in others. A bumpy circular track runs through the reserve allowing you to choose a site and get to where you want to stay. A word of warning though – this time of year the grass is thick and wet, and very slippery underfoot (or rather under-tyre) so take care when and where parking.

The reserve has plenty of room for motorhomes and car/caravan combinations of all sizes.

The toilet block is very clean, but there is no running water available, and the rubbish bins dotted around are quite small so not suitable for large “dumps”. 

The area is great for dogs! In fact, quite a few locals arrived during the time we were there to exercise their dogs…the lazy way…by driving around while their dogs ran behind the car!

But this is winter – cold and misty and a bit damp, so there were not many freedom campers in sight, but I can imagine that summer would be totally different and Ferry Reserve would be packed with campers and day trippers alike.

Enough words….take a look at the photos.

Ferry Reserve Freedom Camping Area

A misty morning at Ferry Reserve freedom camping site
A misty morning at Ferry Reserve freedom camping site

In the distance is the old, now-closed, bridge that marked the start of the Manawatu Gorge road which was closed by slips in 2017.

When I saw this it made me think of a medieval bridge one might see in Europe. 

Same bridge – just a little closer.

manawatu gorge bridge
The old Manawatu Gorge Bridge
pathway to two trees
Two trees
tree on the edge of the bush line
Standalone tree
Ferry Reserve bushline
Ferry Reserve bushline
ferry reserve as seen from the old manawatu gorge bridge
Ferry Reserve as seen from the old bridge

Braving the damp, I took a walk out of the reserve and up the now-closed Manawatu Gorge road onto the old bridge and took the above photo looking down onto the reserve. We are parked down there somewhere, in the distance, just to the right of the trees in the middle of the picture.

The Manawatu River in full flow
The Manawatu River in full flow

And finally a few pictures taken on my wider walk outside the Ferry Reserve freedom camping area.

Thanks for looking – I hope you enjoyed what I had to say and show, and maybe one day soon you’ll be planning an excursion to Ferry Reserve, Woodville.

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