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Pohangina River at Totara Reserve

This popular swimming and camping spot is found nestled in the Pohangina Valley about 50 minutes drive from Palmerston North. To get there head north to Ashhurst and then carry on up Pohangina Road for about 30 minutes to Totara Reserve.

Bathing suitability for this site is predicted using an established flow threshold.  This method doesn't give an exact E. coli count so weekly results cannot be displayed on LAWA.

For the latest information on recreational suitability at this site, visit Horizons'safe swim spot site here.

The swimming spot is located within the Totara Reserve Regional Park which is one of the best examples of the ancient forest that once covered the area. Totara Reserve has some fantastic facilities including toilets/showers, barbeques, children's playground and bushwalks. There are also powered camp sites for those wishing to holiday at the site. For more information click here.

Water quality is generally very high, however rainfall events can cause runoff from farmland upstream of Totara Reserve causing short term drops in water quality. As such it is recommended to avoid contact recreation during and immediately after rainfall events until the water is clear. 

This beach grading is an interim grading based  on four years (100 data points) of monitoring at this swimming spot site.  There is a strong relationship between recent rain and elevated E. coli concentrations.  This means swimmer health-risk can be reliably predicted.  There are no known point source discharges directly affecting the site.  The Pohangina River upstream of Totara reserve drains many small streams that begin in the Ruahine Ranges before traveling through farmland. The are often left unfenced and with limited riparian planting meaning stock access and run off can negatively impact upon water quality.

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