Tag Archives: brightchic travel photography

Day Trips for the Uninspired: Bridge Café, Timeless Horse Treks and Woodville Ferry Reserve, Tararua District, Manawatu Region

I thought seeing as the Bridge Café, Timeless Horse Treks and Woodville Ferry Reserve are located in the Balance area of the Tararua District and very near to the town of Woodville, I would include them, all in one post.

Since I wrote the original post back in March 2015, the Manawatu Gorge, has been closed due to slips but alternate routes, are in place. Also the Bridge Café has been sold (April 2018) and is no longer open to the public at this time. The new owners have mentioned they will open to the public again in the future.

Visiting any or all three of these places, would make a great day trip out and if you live around Palmerston North, it will take you  approximately 30 minutes to get there.

The Bridge Café is situated in a great location, on the Gorge Road, Balance, it is peaceful and quiet, with very picturesque views and garden. They serve a variety of both hot & cold, food & drinks. They are also wheelchair and dog friendly.  The scenery, wildlife and walks nearby, are worth the trip alone.

Timeless Horse Treks:

On winters day, Gina & I booked to go on a trek for an hour.

The weather was pretty crappy that day but it managed to stay fine for an hour or so.  Gina had ridden before but it was the first time for me, so I thought to myself,  I am up for the challenge, what’s the worse that can happen.

Nothing happened, we had a great time,  except when I came to get off my horse, I had a bit of trouble there but that was easily rectified by moving along to the back porch of the café.  So I didn’t have as far to get down.

Gina and I, highly recommend Timeless Horse Treks

Now across the Balance bridge lies the Ferry Reserve, it has undergone a facelift, there’s picnic tables and new paths have been laid. Freedom campers are welcome there, the Manawatu River runs alongside and under the road bridge.  It is a wide open space with  a small fenced off wetland area.

Gina and I decided to go walking there one night, thought I had better take the torch and cameras, just in case. Well when we arrived it was nearly dark,  it was however a clear night so we could sort of see, where we were going.

We wandered around and I thought we had better use the torch as we were on the river bed, so a great idea came to mind, why not take photos, which we did but the torch attracted a tad to many insects.

Anyone looking down from the bridge was probably wondering, what the heck were two people doing, lurking around in the Ferry Reserve with a torch, at nearly 10pm at night.

 

All the above, photos, (click to enlarge) have been taken at various times, from in and around the Bridge Café, Balance Bridge & Ferry Reserve. If you would like to order a print, please contact me.

copyright Elayne Hand, Brightchic Photography

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Day Trips for the Uninspired: Waihi Falls, Tararua District, Manawatu Region

Gina and I set off to see Waihi Falls in the winter after there had been a few days of heavy rain. We headed to Dannevirke and then turned right into Weber Road. Click here for directions.

Some of the road is quite winding and narrow in places and the last few kilometres are gravel.  Along the way we had to stop and let a mob of sheep go by. Couldn’t resist taking a photo of them.

When we arrived at the falls, we found ample car parking, as well as a picnic area.  Due to the rain the pathway down to the falls was slippery underfoot in places.  When we arrived at the bottom and made our way to the water’s edge of the grassed area. I would say up to  2 metres back from there was really wet, due to the mist created by the volume of water, tumbling down over the falls.

It was not safe to be too near the edge of the grassed area because the water made it very soggy.

Waihi Falls are a sight to see though, the roar of the water tumbling over the falls and the misty water rising as it hits the river below.

We visited the Falls again on 26/5/17, the idea was to grab the sunset but the clouds had other ideas. When one door closes another opens and the Falls looked stunning in BW.

 

Day Trips for the Uninspired: Castle Point, Mataikona Rocks & Riversdale Wairarapa Region

Gina and I visited Riversdale as well as  CastlePoint  a couple of weeks ago (15/3/17) and seeing as all three places are on the same coastline and not that far from each other, I thought I would add Riversdale to this existing post.

Riversdale has a magic all of its own, as well as a long sandy beach to walk on, the coastal settlement, felt warm and inviting. A great place to stay if you want to get away from it all, for a few days.

The rocky outcrops at one end of the beach add character, besides its always fun to walk on the rocks and explore the weathered formations. while watching the waves crash against them. We also found many species of birds, nesting and living in the dunes.

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Gina and I decided to head down to Mataikona Rocks, in the Wairarapa and seeing as Castle Point is only a 15 minute drive away, we though we would visit there again, too.

We left Woodville at 8.30am  and stopped in at the Finest Batch Bakery in Pahiatua for, yes you guessed it, a coffee and something to eat.  So all up, it took us nearly 2 hours to reach Castle Point, (we decided we would stop there first).

Castle Point, Lovely place but it can be dangerous too, if you don’t have your eyes open. Rogue waves often visit and can take you off the reef in seconds. Gina and I last visited just over a year ago, on September 10th 2014.

We stood on top of the reef and walked up to the lighthouse but not on Wednesday, while the sea was a lot calmer than in 2014 some of the wind gusts were very strong and nearly knocked us, off our feet. Great place to visit though, there are walks you can do, Fur Seals can be seen there occasionally, as well as different bird species, plus the scenery is stunning.

After spending about an hour at Castle Point we headed off to Mataikona Rocks. The road is signed posted so you can’t miss it, (on your right) just as you are leaving Castle Point.  By the time we reached Mataikona, the wind had worsened and some of the gusts were very strong.

The rocks can only been seen and walked on at low tide.The rock formations are the result of the constant pounding and compression from the ocean and the movement and and colliding of tectonic plates. They are quite a sight to see, along with the rock pools and Fur Seals.

Unfortunately, the wind made it hard to stay upright some of the time but we both like a challenge and the rocks are something you don’t see everyday.

We stayed at Mataikona for a while, taking photos, exploring the rock pools and watching the waves crash upon the rocks. On the way back, we parked on the roadside, overlooking Castle Point and the views were stunning. All in all another great day out.

Day Trips for the Uninspired: Tararua District, Manawatu – Wanganui Region

The Tararua District stretches from Norsewood in the north to Eketahuna in the south and along with many other districts, makes up the greater Manawatu -Wanganui Region.

I personally believe the Tararua District is not promoted as well as it could be.  If you want tourists to stop and stay a while and explore the district, they need to know, what is out there.

There are many places for tourists and locals alike, to visit. Besides the more well known places, such as the Tui Bewery  or Te Apiti Wind Farm.

So with that in mind, I have created this page, with a list of places people can visit, in the Tararua District.  This page is a work in progress and will continue grow, as we seek out  more places to visit.

Only places Gina and I have personally visited will be listed on this page.

Te Apiti Wind Farm

Bridge Café, Timeless Horse Treks And Woodville Ferry Reserve, Balance

Walk from the Bridge Café around the Totara Loop Track and back again. Balance

Eketahuna Cliff Walk & Tararua Forest Park, via Putara Road, Eketahuna

Pukaha Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre

Lower Domain, Dannevirke

Waihi Falls

Herbertville

Akitio Beach, Akitio

Pipinui Falls and Makuri Gorge

Pongaroa Bush Walks, Pongaroa

Day Trips for the Uninspired: Akitio Beach, Akitio, Tararua District, Manawatu Region

Gina and I decided it was time to go to the beach again so we decided to head out to Akitio  and checkout the beach and surrounding area.

So on a chilly Wednesday morning in May (2015) we hopped in the car and believe it or not, we were on the road by 9am. We headed to Dannevike and stopped in at Subway for a coffee and a bite to eat.

We then headed down to Millar Street (There is a sign for Akitio, Herberville, Pongaroa) and continued on Weber Road. We then turned left into River Road and followed the road across the bridge that goes over the Akitio river and on to the coast road. Then along to the Akitio  Esplanade, where we parked the car. There are quite a few houses along the esplanade, many are holiday homes but there are a few people who live there permanently.  There is also a shop and public facilities. It took us approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes to get there from Woodville.

It was a bit brisk and overcast when we got out of the car, so out came the scarfs, woolly hats and gloves. We made our way onto the beach and what caught my eye were the posts firmly planted in the sand. They looked like sentries watching over the beach. Which of course we had to take photos of and the seagull added a nice touch, perched on top, of its lofty lookout.

The tide was out so we walked along the beach, the reef has some amazing rock formations and the sea water left behind, created some interesting looking rock pools. We then headed back up to where the Akitio river meets the sea, passing quite a bit of driftwood along the way. We were also surprised by how many Kingfishers were flying around. It’s the most we have seen in a very long time.

The following week, we visited a very different Akitio beach, a depression had gone through the night before, when we arrived the Akitio river seemed to have doubled in size as we drove over the bridge. There was no beach, the waves tossed around the driftwood as if it were paper mache. In places the waves were coming up over the grass verge.  So with the rain coming down we parked the car, donned on our wet gear, grabbed the cameras and off we went.

As we stood on top of the grassed area where normally the beach would be, all we could see were waves, its was an amazing sight to see the “power of the ocean” easy to get taken by a wave, if you don’t have your wits about you.

By the afternoon the sea had calmed a bit, the beach was visible but we still couldn’t walk on it because every so often a wave would come right in.

Although, with the weather changing we saw, Shags, Gulls a Rook, Kingfishers and quite a few Fantails, darting from one piece of driftwood to another.

All in all, a great end to another great day out.

Day Trips for the Uninspired: Pongaroa Bush Walks, Pongaroa,Tararua District, Manawatu Region

Even though Gina and I live in the Tararua District we had never been out to Pongaroa, so we thought we would go and do the bush walks and have a look around.

So on 21st May 2014, we decided to head out to Pongaroa , we filled up the car in Woodville before we left, as it is a long walk back, if you run out of gas.

I see at the moment there is no petrol  available in Pongaroa, so fill up before you head out.

It took us just over an hour to get there, click on the Pongaroa link above for directions and more information about the area.

When we arrived we had a quick look around the town, then headed to Urupa Street, where the bush walks begin.

There are two walks you can do and we did both of them. The yellow track to the Pongaroa lookout and cemetery takes about 10-15 minutes and is a pretty easy walk through the bush and out on to and up the hillside. On reaching the top we could see the cemetery and township below.

We took a few photos and then headed back down.  We then found the beginning of the red track, this is a longer walk takes about 20-30 minutes, the first 5 minutes are an easy walk to the picnic table in the bush. The rest of the walk was up hill through the bush, we could see it hadn’t been walked in a while, the pathway in places was a bit overgrown but nothing we couldn’t handle.

When we arrived at the top the views were worth the walk. probably would have looked better on a summer’s day but its good to get out and about, anytime of the year.

We had a wander around the hillside for a while then made our way back down, as it was time for a coffee.

Gina and I stopped in at the local hotel for a coffee and something to eat. If you are into local history, the hotel is the place to go, there are old photos and news clippings decorating the walls. On the main back wall there’s a pictorial history of the area.  Its has been very well done and there’s a lot of interesting photos and information about the area.

We could have stayed there for the rest of the afternoon but as always, we had to head for home. So we said our goodbyes and left the hotel.

Day Trips for the Uninspired: Hokio Beach, Levin, Horowhenua District, Manawatu Region

Gina and I enjoy going to the beach anytime of year, you see things in winter that you don’t see in summer and vice versa.  We visited Hokio Beach in July 2014, it was fine but quite cold and windy. Good day for thermals and a woolly hat.

Hokio Beach is situated just outside of the Levin township. Upon arriving there, I saw two shags perched in a tree, I quickly grabbed my cameras and headed off, leaving Gina to sort the car and grab her gear.

After I photographed the shags we made our way down to the beach, the sand was being blown around by the wind and it created a haze effect. The wind eventually died down a bit, as we walked along the beach.

At one stage there was hardly any clouds covering the sun and just for a short time, the winter sunlight turned the ocean a silver colour.

While the wind made interesting patterns around the shells lying on the beach, some of the shells looked like they were sitting on little stalks made of sand.

Gina and I saw quite a few different bird species, while we were there on the beach and around the waterways, Shags, Ducks, Pukeko, Gulls, Oystercatchers and Swallows were there in good numbers.

After we spent a couple or so hours walking along Hokio Beach, we decided to head for home.  On the way back into Levin we stopped to look at the snow-covered ranges in the distance and of course to take photos.

All in all another good day out.

Day Trips for the Uninspired: Patuna Chasm, Martinborough, Wairarapa

I was on the net looking for places Gina & I could visit down and around, the Wairarapa Region and I came across Patuna Farm Adventures in Martinborough.

Gina and I particularly liked the sound of the chasm walk so decided we would go. I rang the Farm and told them we would like to come down and do the chasm walk.

As it was in April I thought I had better check to see if it was still open.  As they close the chasm from April to October due to the rising water levels.

We set off  just after 8am in the morning , It took us a couple of hours to get there from Woodville, the directions are pretty straightforward and can be found on their site along with other information. Just click on the link above.

There is a $15 charge for adults & $10 for children,  be prepared to get wet, so take along a change of clothes and something to eat and drink.

When we arrived we were greeted by the owner, we then followed him in the car to the starting point of the chasm walk.  We parked the car and were given directions he also asked us to let him know when we had finished the walk.  As there is no mob coverage out there.

Then we set off, we walked through a pine forest, through the river and up and over a  bank and across farmland and down through some bush and into the river again and chasm. It was a lovely day and we had great views of the surrounding countryside. We stopped and had lunch before we entered the chasm.

The limestone chasm is amazing, it makes you feel very small as you walk through it.  You do however have to watch where you walk as some of the smaller stones can be slippery  and in some places the water is deeper than in other parts. Good footwear is a must.  Gina and I spent a couple of hours walking and looking through the chasm, after which we walked back out the same way we came in. Another hidden gem that a lot of people don’t know about.

We stopped off at the farm, on our way out, then headed for home.

Day Trips for the Uninspired: Lower Domain, Dannevirke, Tararua Distrct, Manawatu Region

Gina and I have visited Dannevirke’s Lower Domain which is part of the Dannevirke Domain on Christian Street, a few times.

It is a great place to go, suitable for all ages and is reasonably wheelchair friendly.   As we hadn’t been there for a while we decided to head off there, again today.

The Upper Domain has a children’s playground, gardens and facilities, while the Lower Domain is park like and has Ponds, Ducks and other birds, Deer and a large aviary, plus facilities as well.

It took us about 25 minutes to get there, so it would take about 50 minutes from Palmerston North.

Of course we had to stop for our coffee fix and to grab some lunch, so we headed to Subway, the food is always good and their customer service is excellent.

On arriving at the Domain, (there is plenty of parking) we were greeted by many friendly ducks and geese.  I think they were more interested in seeing if we had any food, to be honest.

The domain is a very peaceful place, you could easily spend a lot of time there. There are picnic tables dotted around the domain, plus walks you can do.  Gina and I walked down and around to the lower pond, on the way we saw the deer and more ducks when we arrived.

We had a wander around and them headed back via the bridge, which took us back up to the upper pond and aviary.

The domain is a great place to visit anytime of the year, it is very well maintained and is a credit to the town. Pity there isn’t more information and promotion of it, both on and offline.

Dannevirke, also has a very good Information Centre, plus a blog, which can be viewed here.

After spending a few hours at the domain, we headed home.

Day Trips for the Uninspired: Blackhead and Pourerere Beaches, Te Angi Angi Marine Reserve, Central HB District Council, Hawke’s Bay

Gina and I decided to visit Te Angi Angi Marine Reserve in  Central Hawkes Bay. The reserve stretches from  Blackhead to Aramoana beaches. All marine life within the reserve area is protected.

We intended to leave early but we didn’t leave Woodville until 8.30am.  We stopped in at Subway in Dannevirke to grab some lunch for the trip, the food is always good and the staff are very friendly, great customer service.

We decided to head  to Blackhead beach via the Waipukurau route it was an easy trip, with great scenary  along the way. We didn’t get lost once, the route is very well sign posted, all the way out to Blackhead Beach.

For directions and more information click on Central Hawke’s Bay, District Council, Te Angi Angi Marine Reserve link above.

Even though it was a bit chilly, blue skies greeted us on our arrival  at Blackhead beach. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see the rock platform as it is only exposed at low tide but never the less there is always something new to see and experience when you visit a place for the first time.

Blackhead beach has a camping ground and facilities only a stones throw from the beach. Ideal get away, for a few days.

As we walked up the beach, we noticed it was receding fast because the tide was coming in, the waves got bigger and the tide came in quite fast.

It would be easy if you didn’t have your wits about you, to get cut off, the only way to get off the beach, depending of course where you are, is to scramble up to the tree line. Which isn’t as bad as it sounds because its more or less right on the beach.

We got some great photos though, so it was worth it, the weather changed quite quickly, from blue skies to very cloudy and grey.

Seeing as we couldn’t go any further we decided to head off to Pourerere Beach,  we went back the way we came and followed the signs. Didn’t take us long to get there. The weather followed us, we had a bit of blue sky then it clouded over and got quite cool and breezy.

Pourerere  is similar to Blackhead, large expanse of beach and ocean as far as the eye can see. As with both beaches we found shells and seaweed washed up on the beach, some of which we had never seen before.  There has been a lot of coastal planting along parts of the beach and signs have been erected telling people to use the designated pathways.

We managed to get a reasonable walk along the beach before the tide came in, once again. We also saw some Pied stilts, Shags and Gulls if the tide had been out we would have seen many more species of birds.

I imagine during the summer months both beaches and the reserve are a big draw card for tourists and locals alike.

Although, Gina and I visit beaches in winter and summer because there is always something different see and do.

After we had wandered around for a while, we decided it was time to head for home. On the way back to Woodville, we looked across at the ranges, which were still covered in snow and  saw a spectacular light show, as the suns rays streamed down through the clouds and lit up the hills. Of course we had to find a spot to pull over and take photos.  A great end, to another great day out.