The sand, water, wind, sunlight & clouds are true alchmists of nature. They always put on a good show, never the same, always changing.
Daylight saving makes it easier to go and visit places to watch and photograph the sunset and yes, in some cases by the time we get home, its nearly midnight. Sometimes, you don’t have to travel too far, local is good but sometimes it pays to travel further a field.
If we are heading out the time may vary depending on where we are planning to go. Its no different than going on a day trip. Sometimes we take our food with us, depending on where we are going, other times we stop off somewhere and grab a bite to eat. The gear apart from my camera, I always take with me, year round is listed in Safety Tips for Your Trip.
I love the beach as does Gina, the crashing waves, the open spaces, the sand beneath your feet. I find being out and travelling around, keeps my cup full, just being on the road and going somewhere, makes me smile.
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.
I know this isn’t strictly a day trip (more like an afternoon trip) but I thought I would write a bit about it all the same, as the floods were a sight to see and a timely reminder, of natures might.
As the rain was pouring down, on the afternoon of 20th June 2015, I put on my wet gear, grabbed my cameras, headed into Woodville and got a coffee from the Windfarm Bakery & Cafe .
Then I drove out of Woodville towards Balance, crossed the Balance bridge and parked the ute near the playground. The rain was pouring down so I finished my coffee and ventured out.
As I was standing on the bridge I was surprised how many people stopped to take photos and have a look at the river, I had some interesting conversations with quite a few people that day.
There was a lot of power in the river that day, I watched as part of the Ferry Reserve and trees lining the river started disappear under the flowing water. They had to close the Manawatu Gorge due to slips, it was a quite a long time before it was opened again.
After a while, I went home because the rain was getting worse but the next day, 21st June 2015 I went out again. See the photos below.
The Manawatu River caused a lot of damage due to flooding around the Manawatu region, as seen in the video below.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gina and I set out on a fine winters day to visit Pipinui Falls and the Makuri Gorge. It’s good to go and see places like these during the winter because they can look very spectacular, after the rain.
Our first stop was the Gorge, it is situated on the Pahiatua Pongaroa Road. It took us about 35-40 minutes to get there. The 3 photos of the Gorge were taken from the bridge. According to some tourist information I found, they say there is also a walk you can do, which takes about 1 hour to complete.
After watching the water crash over rocks in the Gorge for a while, we headed off to find Pipinui Falls Scenic Reserve. The Reserve can be found 6km north of Makuri on the Coonoor Road. Gina and I found the reserve ok, the sign is big enough, so no one can miss it.
Finding the falls on the other hand, is another story, we parked the car at the reserve sign and got out and started looking around for Pipinui Falls. Well we couldn’t find them, so we got back in the car and drove along the road for a while, just in case we has missed the sign.
With no falls in sight we decided to head back to the reserve sign, (it’s a good job Gina & I have a sense of humour) They say in the Tararua Guide Its a “Hidden Treasure” it certainly is, if you can’t find it. We got out of the car again and I said to Gina, “there is a gate across the road, lets take a look”.
So we proceed to cross the road and walked through the gate, as we kept walking, lo and behold we heard the sound of running water, could this be the falls, we had spent the last 40 minutes looking for! and yes it was, nestled in and surrounded by native bush, they make a pretty picture, a park bench has been placed there so you can sit a while and watch the water cascade over the rocks. it’s a very calming and peaceful place and well worth the visit.
Now from a tourists point of view, if you are promoting any attraction, good signage is a must, tourists shouldn’t have to go hunting, I wonder how many have been out there looking for the falls and given up in disgust. Nowhere, on the reserve sign does it say, to get to the waterfall you have to go through the gate on the opposite side of the road.
Unfortunately, the gate and fence aren’t signed posted either, which in my opinion, is very poor. How hard can it be, to put a sign on either the gate or fence, to make it easier for people to find.
All in all Gina and I has an interesting day out, the Gorge and Falls are worth going to see. Hopefully, the powers that be, will feel inspired to review and greatly improve their promotional strategies, both on and offline.
Gina and I have visited the Manawatu Estuary and Foxton Beach on a few occasions, at different times of the year. It takes about an hour to get there from Woodville and even less time from Palmerston North. Both locations are in close proximity to each other, so they make for a great day trip out. Directions on how to get there can be found, if you click on the links above.
The Manawatu Estuary is a wetland of international importance and 93 species of birds have been identified there. We have personally seen, Royal spoonbills, Black swans, Pukeko, Pied stilts, Variable oystercatchers and White fronted terns, just to name a few. So if you are an avid bird watcher this is the place for you.
Foxton Beach, like all beaches is a great place to visit winter or summer as there is always something different to see. Gina and I don’t need any excuse to go to the beach, problem is, we don’t get there often enough.
On a whim, our last trip was in the evening, to watch the sunset, something we haven’t done before. So armed with a torch and cameras we set of, we arrived with minutes to spare and we were rewarded with an amazing sunset.
The torch came in handy though, as it went dark rather quickly and seeing as there is a lot of driftwood on the beach, it helps, if you can see where you are going.
I think we were the only two people left on the beach that night. So after wandering around on the beach for a while in the dark, with the torch, we decided it was probably a good idea to head home.
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. Things to see and do in and around the Manawatu, Tararua, Wairarapa, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Regions of New Zealand