Tag Archives: tourist

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: 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: 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: Nga Manu Nature Reserve, Waikanae, Kapiti Coast

I must admit Gina and I had never heard of Nga Manu Nature Reserve in Waikanae, until I saw an article in a blog I was reading. The blog pointed me to their Facebook page, so as, we are always on the lookout for new places to visit, I thought I would take a look, I liked what I read, so say, no more.

Gina and I set off to go and visit Nga Manu today, we left Woodville just after 8am we arrived at the reserve a little after 10.30am, as we had booked to go on a bird feeding tour at 11am.

I must admit upon reaching Waikanae, we didn’t get lost once, Nga Manu, is clearly signposted, all the way to the reserve.  We would have been there earlier but we had to stop for our coffee fix and something to eat, as neither of us had, had any breakfast.

As we got out of the car in the car park, we were greeted by two Kereru (NZ wood pigeons)  perched up in the tree, above us.  As we walked towards the main reception building, we could hear different birds calling, making their presence known.

We were greeted at reception by Joanne, who gave us a map which included information on the attractions at Nga Manu. As it happened, Joanne was also our guide, on the bird feeding tour.

While we were waiting for the tour to begin, Gina and I waited outside by the pond. We were greeted by friendly ducks and Pukeko. I must say its the closest I have ever been to one.  Then to top it off, I turned around and there were Black Swans in close proximity as well. Which was a real bonus for me, as I often spend time lurking in and around waterways and bushes, trying to get photos of them.

At 11am we set off with Joanne on the bird feeding tour around the aviaries, which Gina and I thoroughly enjoyed, it was very informative and we got to feed the birds. Thanks Joanne. The tour is a must do, if you have the time. We saw Kakariki (NZ Parakeet) Kaka, Kea, Scaup (diving ducks) Kiwi, plus many more.  We also saw the Tuatara (rare NZ reptile).  The only thing, that put a dampener on the tour was my camera’s sd cards failing, so I have no photos of the aviary tour. Good excuse for us to go back again:-) not that we need one.

After the tour was over, we walked around some more of the reserve. We saw many more species of birds including Tui , White faced heron and Monarch butterflies on swan plants. We then made our way up to the lookout tower, the views were amazing. We also visited, Fern Island, Preservation Island and BBQ Island the only things we didn’t get to finish were the bush walk and to feed the eels.

There are plenty of places to sit down and take a load off or have a picnic. The grounds are well maintained, both the pathways and broadwalks  make for easy walking, especially if you have a wheelchair or baby buggy. I must say it is one of the best places we have been to, so far, that enables easy access for anyone in or with, a wheelchair or buggy.

Admission and tours are very reasonably priced. More details can be found on Nga Manu Nature Reserve, website.

As usual but all to soon, it was time to head for home.  If you are looking for great place to visit, Gina and I highly recommend Ngu Manu Nature Reserve, in Waikanae.

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: Totara Reserve & Pohangina Wetlands, Pohangina, Manawatu Region

Gina & I  have been lucky, the weather has always been fine for us, not that it would really matter, unless a major storm was on the horizon, we would still venture out.

We visited  Totara Reserve and  Pohangina Wetlands during the winter months.

The reserve is approximately a 50 minute drive from Palmerston North, you have to drive through the town of Ashhurst, the reserve and wetlands are both located in the Pohangina Valley.

Whether you choose to visit the reserve for the day or maybe longer, there is plenty to see and do. There are two camp sites, with facilities and they are wheelchair friendly. You can go for a swim, not that I would recommend that during the winter, unless you are feeling brave.

There are a number of walks you can do, we came across the Bush Chapel, which I think is a must see.  There is a lot of very old large tall trees and plenty of different ferns for you to look at, as well as the bird life. The bush walks are not suitable for wheelchairs though.

On the way back from the reserve we stopped in at the Wetlands, Gina and I were both very impressed, it’s a very peaceful and tranquil place. There are pathways around the wetlands, so it is an easy walk. Park benches have been placed in different spots, so you can sit and stay a while. The water was like glass, reflections of the trees, plants and birds, could be seen in the water.

There are many bird species that stop by or live in the wetlands permanently  it all depends on what time of year you visit, to what you will see. We saw, Pukeko, Australasian Shoveler, Mallard Ducks and Canadian Geese.

Both these places are well worth the visit and make a great day out for all.

Photos are copyright @ Elayne Hand Brightchic Photography 2015