Tag Archives: new zealand

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: Waitarere Beach & Levin Adventure Park, Levin, Horowhenua District, Manawatu Region

Gina & I decided to head down to Levin and visit the home of the Hydrabad Shipwreck at Waitarere Beach, in the winter of 2014.

It was fine but cold and windy, scarf and woolly hat weather.  It took us about an hour to get to Levin, we stopped and had a wander around the shops and then we came across the Adventure Park in Oxford Street.  It is a well laid out and maintained park, with many facilities, it even has a dog exercise area. It is also Wheelchair friendly. Its a great place to stop and take a break.

Both, Gina and I were dying for a coffee and low and behold, there was Woodley’s Coffee Break, parked in the car park.  I must say Woodley’s make great coffee, they also sell a variety of snacks and drinks. They can be found at the park most days.

After we had a chat and finished our coffee, Gina & I  headed off to Waitarere Beach.  It was  breezy and cool and the sand was being blown around by the wind. We walked up the beach until we saw the Hydrabad  marker, there wasn’t much left to see, as nearly all the wreck was covered by sand. Although, there was a small portion of iron still visible, I can imagine there would be nothing left to see today.

The Hydrabad was driven ashore at Waitarere beach on June 25th 1878.  Gina & I are both glad we made the trip, to see the last remains of this historic ship.  We wandered around the beach for a while, then headed 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: 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

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

Day Trips for the Uninspired: Apiti Glow Worm Cave: Limestone Creek Reserve, Manawatu Region

Apiti Glow Worm Caves: Limestone Creek Reserve.

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.

Although, I did know what I was looking for I found searching for these caves online a bit confusing,  As my search came up with “The Iron Gates Experience” then I had to click on activities and attractions to find “Limestone Creek and Glow Worm Caves”.

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

 

Day Trips for the Uninspired: Ashhurst Domain, Ashhurst, Only a 15 minute drive from Palmerston North in the Manawatu Region

Ashhurst Domain, Ashhurst,

Palmerston North

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

 

Welcome To Day Trips for the Uninspired: Covering, Manawatu, Palmerston North, Tararua, Wairarapa, Wellington and Hawke’s Bay Regions

Welcome To Day Trips for the Uninspired

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:-)

We both live in Woodville, a small town located in the Tararua District, which is part of the Manawatu-Wanganui Region.

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