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.
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 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.
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.
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