Gina and I have visited Cape Palliser and Lake Ferry, a number of times. It takes us just over 2 hours to get there from Woodville. We have visited in all kinds of weather and each time there is a different story, to tell. Like, standing on the rocks in the pouring rain, watching and listening to thundering of the waves, as they crash against the rocks. (Trying to take photos and keep the cameras dry, was a bit of a challenge that day).
The Wairarapa coast has a lot to offer, with it’s stunning scenery, wildlife, amazing sunsets & sunrises, and history.
Cape Palliser is home to largest NZ fur seal colony, in the North Island and the Lighthouse, which has sat on the cliffs, since 1897. On the way to Cape Palliser stop in and visit the local fishing village of Ngawi, with its colourful tractors, which are used to haul the fishing boats in and out of the ocean. Lake Ferry is situated on the shores of Lake Onoke and another place not to be missed.
If you have a limited amount of time or just don’t want to drive and feel like taking a tour with a difference, then I highly recommend, To the coast with the post, tour with Gordon, the local RD2 postie. You get to ride along with Gordon on his daily mail run, which covers a distance of 220kms.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
All in all another good day out.
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