Gina and I decided to go local this week, it was a nice sunny day but not too hot. We drove down to the Bridge Café, which is situated on the Gorge Road in Balance. The Café has wheelchair access so whether you want to sit inside or out, you will be comfortable.
We had our coffee fix, then set out, we walked from the Café via a slight detour to investigate the cycle track, we walked up the track for about 15 minutes then turned around and came back down. Be aware that this track, is a cycle track not a walking track.
We then walked down the road to the start of the Totara Loop Track, which is located at the Woodville end of the Manawatu Gorge Walk, the entrance to the walk is via the car park at Balance.
The Totara loop track is what I consider and easy walk as it is flat most of the way around. We stopped to see the Giant Totara Tree. Gina and I both thought the seating and raised boardwalk is a great idea.
We sat for a while, its very peaceful there, then we walked back to the café car park and drove home.
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
I originally wrote this post back in 2015, when I still had a house, I traded it for a caravan and a van, so now I get to spend more time at Herbertville.
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.
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
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.
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
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
My name is Elayne, I am a photographer, adventurer and dog trainer. Once a week my friend Gina & I, don on our tourist hats and seek out new places to visit. Its not been easy but someone has to do it:-)
The Manawatu-Wanganui Region covers a large area, stretching from Ruapehu right down to Horowhenua. Within the region are districts but ultimately they still all fall in under, the Manawatu-Wanganui Region.
I have personally chatted to tourists both on and offline as well as reading some of the travel sites and for many, Palmerston North is seen as a whistle stop destination, they stop at, on their way through to somewhere else.
Many are oblivious to the attractions and places they can visit, in and around the Manawatu. Except maybe for the Manawatu Gorge Walk and the like and the Gorge walk isn’t for everyone.
After many hours of searching & talking to people from near and far. I decided to put this blog of our day trips together. People including locals, often say to me “oh there’s nothing really to see or do, around the Manawatu” and Palmerston North.
On the whole I believe the Manawatu Region has a lot to offer but has been clearly overlooked as a tourist destination, by many.
So down to business, only places I have personally visited will be listed on this blog. Every places I visit will be listed here and will have its own page. There will be links to websites, photos and of course my personal views. I will also included information as to whether the location is wheelchair friendly. These trips, are what I consider low cost, in most cases, they will only cost you time and petrol as food and drink can be taken with you, as well as, your sense of adventure.
All photos on this site are copyright @ Brightchic Photography 2014
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