Each summer the Wanganui Tramping runs several trips to the South Island to enjoy the gorgeous tramping opportunities there.

Next month there is an extended trip in Nelson Lakes National Park and other club members will go to Kahurangi National Park.

Earlier club members have tramped the Old Ghost Road track and cycled a number of the proliferating cycle tracks in the South Island.

There is a tendency to see the south as providing big vistas while in the north we talk down what we have to offer. It shouldn't be that way. Yes, the south does have prime tramping opportunities but we shouldn't disparage what is on offer in forest parks such as the Kaimanawa, Kaweka, Tararua and Ruahine. Tongariro and Egmont national parks are not only challenging but are also visually splendid as those who spent five days walking around Mt Taranaki in January will testify.

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So next time you're about tell an overseas visitor that "you'll find the south is much more visual," don't write off the North Island. It's time to fully appreciate what's on our doorstep. The club's weekend programme in March is:

■ Sat-Sun 3-4, Pine clearing in Tongariro National Park, leader Margret
■ Wed-Fri 7-16, Nelson Lakes National Park, leader Dave
■ Sat or Sun 10 or 11, Mangaweka boulders, leader Margie
■ Sat or Sun 17 or 18, Old Coach Road, leader Frances
■ Fri-Thurs 23-29, Kahurangi National Park, leader Brian
■ Sat or Sun 24 or 25, Castle Rock, leader Roger
■ Fri-Mon 30-April 2, North Tararua circuit, leader Tracey
■ Fri or Sun, 30 or April 1, Moonlit Tongariro Crossing, leader Esther
■ Sat or Mon 31 or April 2, Manawatu Gorge Track, leader Dorothy

Enquire about trips to Barbara phone 348 9149 or Dorothy phone 345 7039.

The midweekers have a full programme of interesting trips every Wednesday. Those who get out on Thursday are in two groups, with a longer walks on 1, 15 and 29 March and shorter ones for the TT2 group on 8 and 22 March. The Wednesday contact is Margret, phone 344 3899, and the Thursday contact is Val, phone 345 0456.

To join weekend trips call the leader by the previous Tuesday at the latest. Call by the night before for day trips. As some trips have limited numbers, leaders have the final say about who to take as they are responsible for the safety and well-being of everyone. For further information contact Barbara at 348 9149 or visit www.wanganuitrampingclub.net

The next meeting at the Deerstalkers' Hall, Peat St, at 7.30pm on Wednesday, March 7 features an illustrated talk by Iain Elliot on a visit to South Africa.