Gina and I have visited Dannevirke’s Lower Domain which is part of the Dannevirke Domain on Christian Street, a few times.
It is a great place to go, suitable for all ages and is reasonably wheelchair friendly. As we hadn’t been there for a while we decided to head off there, again today.
The Upper Domain has a children’s playground, gardens and facilities, while the Lower Domain is park like and has Ponds, Ducks and other birds, Deer and a large aviary, plus facilities as well.
It took us about 25 minutes to get there, so it would take about 50 minutes from Palmerston North.
Of course we had to stop for our coffee fix and to grab some lunch, so we headed to Subway, the food is always good and their customer service is excellent.
On arriving at the Domain, (there is plenty of parking) we were greeted by many friendly ducks and geese. I think they were more interested in seeing if we had any food, to be honest.
The domain is a very peaceful place, you could easily spend a lot of time there. There are picnic tables dotted around the domain, plus walks you can do. Gina and I walked down and around to the lower pond, on the way we saw the deer and more ducks when we arrived.
We had a wander around and them headed back via the bridge, which took us back up to the upper pond and aviary.
The domain is a great place to visit anytime of the year, it is very well maintained and is a credit to the town. Pity there isn’t more information and promotion of it, both on and offline.
Dannevirke, also has a very good Information Centre, plus a blog, which can be viewed here.
After spending a few hours at the domain, we headed home.
Gina and I decided to visit Te Angi Angi Marine Reserve in Central Hawkes Bay. The reserve stretches from Blackhead to Aramoana beaches. All marine life within the reserve area is protected.
We intended to leave early but we didn’t leave Woodville until 8.30am. We stopped in at Subway in Dannevirke to grab some lunch for the trip, the food is always good and the staff are very friendly, great customer service.
We decided to head to Blackhead beach via the Waipukurau route it was an easy trip, with great scenary along the way. We didn’t get lost once, the route is very well sign posted, all the way out to Blackhead Beach.
For directions and more information click on Central Hawke’s Bay, District Council, Te Angi Angi Marine Reserve link above.
Even though it was a bit chilly, blue skies greeted us on our arrival at Blackhead beach. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see the rock platform as it is only exposed at low tide but never the less there is always something new to see and experience when you visit a place for the first time.
Blackhead beach has a camping ground and facilities only a stones throw from the beach. Ideal get away, for a few days.
As we walked up the beach, we noticed it was receding fast because the tide was coming in, the waves got bigger and the tide came in quite fast.
It would be easy if you didn’t have your wits about you, to get cut off, the only way to get off the beach, depending of course where you are, is to scramble up to the tree line. Which isn’t as bad as it sounds because its more or less right on the beach.
We got some great photos though, so it was worth it, the weather changed quite quickly, from blue skies to very cloudy and grey.
Seeing as we couldn’t go any further we decided to head off to Pourerere Beach, we went back the way we came and followed the signs. Didn’t take us long to get there. The weather followed us, we had a bit of blue sky then it clouded over and got quite cool and breezy.
Pourerere is similar to Blackhead, large expanse of beach and ocean as far as the eye can see. As with both beaches we found shells and seaweed washed up on the beach, some of which we had never seen before. There has been a lot of coastal planting along parts of the beach and signs have been erected telling people to use the designated pathways.
We managed to get a reasonable walk along the beach before the tide came in, once again. We also saw some Pied stilts, Shags and Gulls if the tide had been out we would have seen many more species of birds.
I imagine during the summer months both beaches and the reserve are a big draw card for tourists and locals alike.
Although, Gina and I visit beaches in winter and summer because there is always something different see and do.
After we had wandered around for a while, we decided it was time to head for home. On the way back to Woodville, we looked across at the ranges, which were still covered in snow and saw a spectacular light show, as the suns rays streamed down through the clouds and lit up the hills. Of course we had to find a spot to pull over and take photos. A great end, to another great day out.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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
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. Things to see and do in and around the Manawatu, Tararua, Wairarapa, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Regions of New Zealand