Tag Archives: Manawatu

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.

 

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Day Trips for the Uninspired: Scotts Ferry, Manawatu-Whanganui region

Gina and I headed out to the small settlement of Scotts Ferry, it had been on our “to do” list for some time, the weather was nice and sunny, so we decided to go and photograph the sunset as well. If you want to stay a few days there is a Motor Camp and Bed & Breakfast accommodation in the settlement.

It took us just over an hour to get there from Woodville. I must say I was quite impressed, we parked the car in the car park and sat down at the picnic table and had something to eat and drink. There were a couple of litter bins, so no excuse for people to leave their rubbish lying around.

Scotts Ferry, is the gateway to the Moana Roa conservation area, it along with Tawhirihoe Scientific Reserve at Tangimoana make up the Rangitikei River mouth coastal reserves. Both of these places have the best examples of  parabolic dune systems left in new Zealand. Click on this DOC link for directions and more information.

We saw pied stilts and dotterels on the river flats, then we walked around and up over the dunes. Standing on top of the dunes was breathtaking, nothing but the ocean and dunes for as far, as the eye could see. The beach is a road so you have to watch out for cars etc.

We stayed there until the sun went down then made our way back to the car, its a good idea to have a torch with you, otherwise you could end up stumbling around the dunes in the dark.

It is a place we will be going back to explore some more, as we ran out of daylight. Below are a few photos I took that day.

 

Safety Tips for Your Trip!

New Zealand is a beautiful country with amazing landscapes and beaches just waiting to be explored, by tourists and locals alike. Unfortunately,  people die and are injured every year in New Zealand, while exploring, having a fun holiday or day out. Poor judgement, lack of knowledge & complacency, more often that not, play a part in these deaths & injuries.

The weather & conditions in NZ are very changeable even in the summer. So it pays to be prepared for the worst, as the saying goes “Shit Happens” when you least expect it, a day trip can turn into an overnight trip, very easily.

So here are a few safety tips and advice I personally follow and carry, whenever I go out anywhere. Otherwise, I have similar gear that permanently lives in my vehicle, along with a few extra bits and pieces.

  1. Tell someone where you are going, what time you are leaving your home/accommodation and what time you hope to arrive back at home/accommodation. Say you will text or call, when you get back.
  2. Check the weather forecast/conditions. I use and find AccuWeather quite reliable. No weather forecast is 100%. Accu, gives you a lot of information, including cloud cover percentages, wind chill & rain information etc. If I am heading towards the coast I also check Surf-forcast.com  for the latest tidal information, such as high/low tide times, wave height, energy & wind. Lastly, I also take a look at the Department of Conservation, for information on track conditions, permits, wildlife etc.
  3. Know where you are going, write down directions, take a map, I don’t rely on my cell phone because coverage can be sketchy in places. Its is also very easy to lose, drop/break your phone.
  4. Dress for the conditions: take extra clothing & a first aid kit, including any medications you may need.
  5. Water & food, make sure you have enough, always take extra.

Here is a quick run down of what I have in my pack, all year around.

  1. First aid kit, I make my own, saves money and I get what I want in my kit including any medication.  Always have your first aid kit, accessible, don’t have it buried at the bottom of your pack or bag. I use a zip lock sandwich bag, which is also waterproof to keep it in.
  2. Clothing: pair of socks, rain poncho/rain jacket, hat, gloves, scarf & spare top.
  3. Emergency: sleeping bag & blanket (mylar or the like) tarpaulin (shelter) cordage, 2 x black plastic bags, (bags can be used for insulation. filled with leaves for example), torch (with spare batteries), fire kit, 1 litre water bottle, with cook mug, a knife/multi tool & compass. Sleeping on the bare ground for the night, isn’t a good idea, as the earth can sap a lot of your body heat, you need to have some form of insulation or be off the ground.
  4. Food: coffee, soup, energy bars, boil in the bag meal, can be eaten hot or cold.
  5. Personal hygiene kit: Baby wipes, hand sanitizer, toilet roll/tissues/handee towel, sunblock & insect repellent. (all are put in to small containers) except for sunblock and repellent.

Common sense plays a big part in what anyone chooses to do, or not do. People often see things differently, what is important to one, may not be to another.

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: 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: Manawatu Gorge and Tawa Loop Track Walks. Manawatu Region

Gina and I only live a few minutes away from the Manawatu Gorge and river. The Gorge is unique in many ways and if you are a local, you sometimes forget the natural wonder, that is on your doorstep.

Whether it be daytime, evening, winter or summer the gorge has many faces, if you choose to open your eyes and look.

To add to the Manawatu Gorge’s uniqueness, it is one of the few places in the world where a river passes through a dividing range and where the road, rail and river, run parallel alongside each other.

For a few months of the year, large numbers of Tui can be seen feeding on the flax plants that line the Ashhurst end of the gorge. I have personally seen them there from Nov/Dec through to end of January.

Gina & I have walked the Tawa Loop Track, a couple of times but I have personally walked it four times.  Its a 4km walk and takes about 2 hours to complete. Whereas the Gorge Walk is 10km and can take anywhere between 3-5 hours one way. You have to be reasonably fit, doc suggest easy-medium fitness level. Click on the Department of Conservation links above for more details and directions.

The views from the top of the track are amazing, even on a winters day, we could see the wind farm, gorge, river and landscape as far as the eye can see. At the top of the loop there is a statue of Whatonga with an information plaque telling the story of Whatonga.  Click on the link above to find out more information

Always make sure you take plenty of water and dress accordingly. The first time Gina and I walked the Tawa Loop, was in winter, we had just gone and bought some new tramping boots so we stopped on the way home from Palmerston North to try them out.  It was raining a bit and quite cool but we made good time and were back in the car park by 4.30pm after which we headed home.

 

Day Trips for the Uninspired: Te Apiti Wind Farm, Tararua District, Manawatu Region

Gina And I visited the Te Apiti Wind Farm in May, it was cold that day and very breezy up there. We saw quite a few people drive in but no one got out of their cars, except us.

We had a good look around at these giant wind turbines and whether you love them or hate them, they are here to stay.

Te Apiti wind farm is situated on the Saddle Road between Woodville & Ashhurst. The car park is open between 8.30am & 5.30pm. The views from the lookout are worth the visit alone.

If you are interested in finding out more about Te Apiti Wind Farm There is a very informative article about the Wind Farms near Woodville written Richard Moore.  Its an easy read, not too technical. There is enough room and flat surface at the Wind Farm for wheelchair access.

After we had finished looking around, yes, you have guessed it, it was coffee time again.

The 1st 4 photos were taken in May, the others were taken on a sunnier and warmer day from the Wetlands Café in the Ashhurst Domain.

 

Day Trips for the Uninspired: Tutukiwi Reserve, Aokautere & Manawatu River, Ashhurst, Manawatu Region

Gina and I decided to go local this week,  so after a bit of searching on Google  I found a reserve neither of us had visited before, so we thought it was worth a visit. The reserve is called Tutukiwi Reserve  and is located on Moonshine Valley Road in Aokautere , a 15 minute drive from Palmerston North. and can be found on the Palmerston North, City Council site, under Facilities and Parks, there’s  12 pages of listings, in all.

Tutukiwi reserve is a picturesque reserve, you can go for a walk  or have a picnic there.  The picnic area , in my opinion, would maybe  be suitable for wheelchairs, if the grass were mown short and the barrier gate was opened.  As they do have a car parking area.

As you leave the picnic area you have to cross over a bridge and there on the other side, we were greeted  by a tree-lined pond/wetland with ducks in the water, water lilies  and the sound of Tuis and Kingfishers, which we did manage to see, along with swallows, as we were leaving the reserve.

All in all, a great spot if you want to chill out and take a break.

We then stopped off  at the Manawatu River, in Ashhurst  we were intending to go for a swim but ended up having a paddle instead. The water was warm but the river level is certainly very low, as you will see from the photos and it is not even the end of January.

All photos on this page are copyright @ Elayne Hand, Brightchic Photography

Day Trips for the Uninspired: Apiti Glow Worm Cave: Limestone Creek Reserve, Manawatu Region

Apiti Glow Worm Caves: Limestone Creek Reserve.

If you decide to go and visit these Glow Worm Caves, which I might add are worth the trip. Make sure you have a full tank of gas before you venture out. So fill up in Feilding before you go, or you may have a long walk back. These caves are approximately 40km from Feilding.

Although, I did know what I was looking for I found searching for these caves online a bit confusing,  As my search came up with “The Iron Gates Experience” then I had to click on activities and attractions to find “Limestone Creek and Glow Worm Caves”.

There is  a lot of good and useful information on this site including directions but again hard to find, if you are generally browsing online and not sure what you are looking for.

Anyhow. now for the fun stuff, Gina & I visited the Glow Worm Caves in winter, now I am not suggesting anyone do this, like with any trip you make, you have to be prepared, warm clothing, towel, change of shoes, socks & wet weather gear etc.  Also you have to keep an eye on the water level.

We made our way down to the river via a pathway and through some native bush.  Then proceeded to walk up the river to the Glow Worm Cave. Wet feet, added to the experience. Outside the cave the walls of rock were covered with lichen, moss and ferns, with water trickling down onto them from above.

Inside the cave, the filtered sunlight highlighted the water trickling in from above, this is when the wet weather gear, really comes in handy.

We didn’t see any glow worms that day but  it was worth the visit all the same.

On the way home we encountered a slight holdup, two paradise ducks with their chicks, decided to hog the road, we did however move them along safely. I got out of the car while Gina drove and between us we herded them off the road.

All photos on this page are copyright @ Elayne Hand Brightchic Photography 2015

 

Day Trips for the Uninspired: Ashhurst Domain, Ashhurst, Only a 15 minute drive from Palmerston North in the Manawatu Region

Ashhurst Domain, Ashhurst,

Palmerston North

I have to say the Ashhurst Domain, in my opinion is one of the most overlooked places to visit, in the Manawatu.  It is also very close to the Ashhurst township. This public park and reserve has something to offer everyone. and it is only a 15 minute drive from Palmerston North.

This is a dog friendly place (dogs are allowed but must be kept under control at all times). There is a camping ground and facilities, the Wetlands Café, (stop in for a bite to eat and a drink.) Great views  of Te Apiti wind farm, Wharite Peak and Wetlands below, can be seen from the Café.

There’s sports fields, a children’s playground and BBQ area, numerous walks, some through very old native bush and along the Manawatu River.

The Manawatu Pathway walk, entrance, located down by the road bridge by the Manawatu river, is a great walk, and is suitable for everyone of all ages, and is wheelchair friendly. (assistance maybe required). The upper domain circuit as shown in this map is also wheelchair friendly.

The domain is alive with bird life,  depending on what time of year you  visit. I have personally seen, Black swans, Pukeko, dotterel, ducks, Kingfisher, Australasian bittern in the Domain Wetlands and along the Manawatu river in winter,  Black backed gulls, Pied stilts and Caspian terns. The Tui, Fantail (piwakawaka) NZ Wood Pigeon (kereru), Bellbird (korimako) , Silver eyes along with a variety of Finches, Blackbirds, Thrushes and Sparrows and the occasional NZ Falcon, all call the domain home.

Easy enough to spend the whole day here as there is plenty to see and do.

If you would like to find out more about the Ashhurst Domain visit Ashhurst’s  local website Ashhurst Dot Org

All photos on this page are copyright @ Elayne Hand, Brightchic Photography 2015