Tag Archives: north island new zealand

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.

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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: 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: Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve: Wellington/Kapiti Region

Gina & I visited Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve the other day, we were supposed to go to Kapiti Island but due to insurfficent numbers the trip was cancelled.

So being ever resourceful, (we always have a backup plan) we decided to go and visit the Waikanae Estuary.  From Woodville it took us about 2 hours, of course we had to stop on the way, for our caffine fix and a bite to eat in Levin.  We also made, a quick stop in Otaki for a look around.

The entry point to the Waikanae Estuary is on Manly St North, Paraparaumu Beach. Gina & I managed to drive past the entry to the Estuary as we were too busy talking. (note to self,  observe more, talk less). We ended up having to stop and ask for directions.

The one thing you have to be aware of when you visit the Estuary is the possibility of quicksand conditions.

Information from the Department of Conservation website:

Beware of soft sand near water.The changing course of the river affects the water table beneath the sand and can cause quicksand conditions” In other words if you are not a bird, watch where you are walking.

The Estuary is home to many bird species, I saw Caspian Terns, Royal Spoonbill White-Fronted Terns just to name a few.  As we walked around we could see Kapiti Island from the shore.

There was also numerous sea shells, small bits of driftwood and sea weed,  scattered on the shore.

We ended our day with an ice cream, a visit to a nearby park and a walk on Paraparaumu Beach, before heading home.  All in all another great day out.

Photos on this page are copyright, Elayne Hand, Brightchic Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day Trips for the Uninspired: Herbertville, Tararua District, Manawatu Region

What can I say about Herbertville, well it is one of my most favourite places to visit.  Gina & I have been there a number of times,  we live in Woodville so it isn’t too far for us to travel. Woodville to Dannevirke takes about 25 minutes and then about another 60 minutes to Herbertville.

It usually takes us longer because we have to stop for our coffee fix and if we have been really slack and haven’t made any lunch, it’s a quick stop at subway, as well.

Again Herbertville isn’t easy to find online unless you know what you are looking for. So a quick stop at the Dannevirke Information Centre wouldn’t go a miss. nor would a map.

Herbertville is a small settlement, they have  a  camping  ground,  so if you decide to go for a day trip or longer, you need to take food etc. There is a long expanse of beach and if you feel like a walk up the beach to Cape Turnagain  and the Fur seal colony, it will take you about 45 minutes.

If you visit at low tide, you will see the remnants of an old wool shed that used to sit on the rocks. Farmers used to bring the wool to the shed then it was shipped by boats, out to awaiting ships.

The Colony is a winter haul out, so the number of Fur seals increase quite a lot during the winter months. Although there are still a few around in summer. Breeding season takes place between mid November to mid January so the males maybe a bit more aggressive.

A few things to remember about fur seals,  don’t be fooled they can move quite quickly on dry land, Always give them the right of way, if you block their path to the sea, they will not be amused.  Don’t get too close and watch out for them under bushes and in the dunes. If you have a dog and decide to take it with you on your day trip, it must be leashed and under control.

Oh, I forgot to mention, fur seals do bite.

The scenery at Herbertville is amazing, it’s a very peaceful place, if you are lucky you will see a number of different bird species there.  I have to say the funniest to watch are the oystercatchers.

I find, it is very easy to spend the  day at Herbertville, the hours go by too quickly and all too soon its time to go home. a good day out for anyone who loves the beach.

Photos copyright @ Brightchic Photography 2015

 

 

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