Tag Archives: brightchic travel photography

Day Trips for the Uninspired: Pipinui Falls and Makuri Gorge, Tararua District, Manawatu Region

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.

The online information I found on the Gorge and the Falls, isn’t much better. http://www.topomap.co.nz/NZTopoMap/nz46936/Makuri-Gorge-Reserve/Manawatu-Wanganui

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.

 

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: Tangimoana Beach and Tawhirihoe Scientific Reserve, Manawatu District, Manawatu Region

Seeing as we have being have such great weather, Gina & I decided to go to the beach again. This time we decided on Tangimoana Beach  and Tawhirihoe Scientific Reserve. The Reserve can be accessed via the beach.

Tangimoana beach like many beaches on this coastline has a sand dune landscape, with driftwood scattered around. To help stop the dunes shifting, spinifex grasses have been planted to slow down dune movement.

The dune conservation program was started in 2007. Apparently, these parabolic dunes are the fastest moving in the country. Gina and I didn’t know anything about this, until I started doing some research on the area.

If you would like to read more about the dune conservation, have a read of  ” Volunteers muck in on dune project” written by Emma Goodwin (Evening Standard 2009).

When we arrived there were quite a few people, fishing and walking along the beach.  The seagulls were having a great time hovering around, waiting for their next meal.

The people down there were very friendly, everyone we passed on the beach, smiled and said hello.  Even when we parked the car, a lady stopped and told us of a quicker way to get down to the beach.

We didn’t venture into the reserve that much because I had to fess up and tell Gina, katipo spiders live and breed around the area. I don’t mind spiders but Gina isn’t a fan of them.

The sea was quite warm, so we threw caution to the wind and took our shoes off, although we didn’t go in for a swim because its really not suitable for swimming.

Great place to hang out though, if you like wide open spaces, walking along the beach and just generally chilling out.

Like always, all too soon we had to head for home.

 

 

Day Trips for the Uninspired: Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre, Tararua District

Gina and I have visited Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre a couple of times. The last time we visited, we really hadn’t made any plans, we were in the car and just decided we would go, as we hadn’t been there for a while.

There is always something interesting to see and do. There is an entry fee, costs etc can be found on their site as well as directions. It took us about hour to get there from Woodville.

The centre is well planned out with easy wheelchair access to most parts of the centre, except for the bush walk.

When you visit Pukaha, you will have the opportunity to see, Kaka, (native parrot) Kiwi in the Kiwi house including Manukura (white kiwi), Long fin eels, Takahe, Tui & Kereru (wood pigeon) as well as Tuatara, just to name a few.

We saw the Takahe from the café, the Kaka flying around in the trees, they often stop by the café to say hello. They are amusing birds to watch, they made us laugh.

Its great to just wander around, you can easily spend the whole day there, as there is plenty to see and do and don’t forget your camera as you will have plenty of photo opportunities.

Day Trips for the Uninspired: Pukepuke Lagoon, Conservation Area, Manawatu District, Manawatu Region

Gina and I are always on the lookout for new places to visit so I thought I would have a look on the Department of Conservation website.

There I came across information on Pukepuke Lagoon, I had never heard of it before and I thought it would be an interesting place to visit.  To visit Pukepuke Lagoon you do need an access permit which are available from the DOC office in Palmerston North.

Pukepuke Lagoon is a dune lake and wetland near Tangimoana, on the Manawatu coast. Directions can be found on the link above.

It was a nice sunny day so with permit and cameras in hand, Gina and I set off, it took us about an hour to get there. When we arrived, we parked the car and walked, (we are great walkers) the rest of the way.

The lagoon is a haven for many species of birds, some migratory, while others, including natives, call the lagoon home.  Many native plants and freshwater fish can be found there also. We had to enter the lagoon via a gate, which needs to be shut after you enter and exit.

There are pathways and boardwalks  all around the lagoon as well as a number of bird hides, which are great for viewing the birds. As it is a wetland you need to stay on the pathways and boardwalks, for your own safety.

We saw a lot of Black swans, Swallows, a few Shags and a Bitten, I also caught a glimpse of a NZ Falcon flying overhead.

It is a very peaceful place and we wished we could have stayed there longer but we had to head home. On the walk back we had an audience, a herd of cows decided they wanted to say hi, they were on the other side of the fence but they were very nosey.

All in all another great day out. It does pay to checkout the DOC website, they have up to date information on places to go, condition of tracks etc.  Like with anywhere you go, you must be prepared.

 

 

 

 

Day Trips for the Uninspired: Manawatu Estuary and Foxton Beach, Horowhenua District, Manawatu Region

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.

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: 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