Gina and I set off to see Waihi Falls in the winter after there had been a few days of heavy rain. We headed to Dannevirke and then turned right into Weber Road. Click here for directions.
Some of the road is quite winding and narrow in places and the last few kilometres are gravel. Along the way we had to stop and let a mob of sheep go by. Couldn’t resist taking a photo of them.
When we arrived at the falls, we found ample car parking, as well as a picnic area. Due to the rain the pathway down to the falls was slippery underfoot in places. When we arrived at the bottom and made our way to the water’s edge of the grassed area. I would say up to 2 metres back from there was really wet, due to the mist created by the volume of water, tumbling down over the falls.
It was not safe to be too near the edge of the grassed area because the water made it very soggy.
Waihi Falls are a sight to see though, the roar of the water tumbling over the falls and the misty water rising as it hits the river below.
We visited the Falls again on 26/5/17, the idea was to grab the sunset but the clouds had other ideas. When one door closes another opens and the Falls looked stunning in BW.
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.
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.
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.
Firstly, I have to say thank you to Bridget for telling me about the Cliff Walk and the Putara Road entry to the Tararua Forest Park, in Eketahuna. Again, two local places that haven’t really been promoted.
Eketahuna like many rural towns has suffered a decline in population over the years, due to the lack of growth in the area. There are however, still places to see and things to do in and around Eketahuna.
Gina and I walked the Eketahuna Cliff Walk during the winter months. It is what I consider an easy walk, suitable for all ages. It would take about an hour to drive there from Palmerston North.
The walk begins by the bridge in Bridge Street, at the end of the walk you can either walk back or you can also carry on, walking down to the Camping ground, which is nestled in native bush with the river running alongside it. A great escape for that, weekend away.
On the walk we saw various mushrooms and native birds but the one thing that really impressed us, was the arch made by tree trunks growing above the pathway. its not something you see everyday and well worth going to see because who knows, it may not be there forever.
Just recently, Gina and I visited Tararua Forest Park via the Putara Road entry, its a lovely spot. There is a swing bridge, you can cross over to get to the otherside of the Manatainoka river. The views from the bridge and river are worth the trip alone.
There is a very relaxing feel about the place, its somewhere you could spend all day.
The pathway was a bit muddy and wet due to the rain we have had lately but never the less, a place well worth a visit, especially in the summer.
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.
Gina and I decided we would go local again this week, we thought we would have a look at what domains/reserves were around our area, that we had yet, to visit. I went on to the Tararua District Council, Parks and Reserves page and found Marima Domain.
Unfortunately, the information on the page is very vague:
Marima Domain Pahiatua
“A lovely area which is 12 kms south of Pahiatua. Has a picnic and BBQ area. Popular for swimming and fishing, toilets are available”
So, I had a look at the Tararua A-Z and Horizons Regional Council pages. the information was more or less the same, except Horizons mentioned the Mangahao River.
So, I had a look on Google maps and yes you guessed it, directions to Marima Domain, weren’t to be found on there either. However, thanks to some local knowledge, we found the location of the domain. All in all, not a very good start.
It was quite a dismal day, when Gina & I headed out, we stopped for a coffee at the Finest Batch Bakery in Pahiatua. then carried on out-of-town, we turned right at the Mangamaire turn off and carried on down Mangamaire road.
We then turned right into Tutaekara road and carried on over the railway lines and past Ridge Road south. The Domain is located just before the bridge on the right hand side of the road. There is no sign, just a dirt road leading off Tutaekara Road.
As we drove down the tree-lined road we thought the road could do with a bit of an upgrade, so we parked the car and walked the rest of the way. The Mangahao River flows around the domain and water levels and flow can increase quite suddenly, so you have to beware and keep an eye out, for that.
Gina and I visit places in the winter and summer, if a place looks great in the winter, it usually looks fantastic in the summer. The rock face down by the river is quite stunning and we liked the tree trunk that had been turned into a jumping platform, great idea and it is peaceful place. We walked along the river and saw various species of birds as well.
Unfortunately, the domain suffers from neglect, it is being used as a rubbish dump, we couldn’t find the toilet facilities, maybe we were looking in the wrong place! Its is very overgrown and the picnic table has seen better days.
I personally don’t think anyone from the council has been there in a while, if you are going to promote any destination irrespective of what it is or where it is, it needs to be up to par, It doesn’t take a genius to work that one out. Not a great advertisement for the district or the Tararua District Council.
After we had a bit more of a wander around we headed for home.
I did however manage to find a map of the Domain on the LAWA site, a couple of days later.
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.
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.
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.
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. Things to see and do in and around the Manawatu, Tararua, Wairarapa, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Regions of New Zealand