Archive for the ‘Wairarapa’ Category

Masterton & Wellington catch up

April 19, 2016


Whilst in Masterton we visited the local library.  Along the back wall was a mural of stitched/appliqued/quilted/embroidered panels which the Wairarapa Embroiderers Guild constructed.  The embroidered wall hanging consists of 110 panels, with each panel commemorating an event of significance in the history of the Wairarapa. 



They are truly an amazing piece of handwork by some very talented locals.

And the following two pictures are from when Roy met up with Natalie and her children to collect the books we had picked up for them.

8_thumbRenee with some of her stash of books, eager to get home to start reading them.


Michelle dressed herself for the occasion…ballet skirt, yellow gumboots,  completing the outfit  with a stuffed toy waistband accessory!  What every young fashionable person should be wearing this autumn.  Remember you saw it here first folks.

Castlepoint and a diversion

April 6, 2016

We headed to Masterton for a few days to restock, refuel and refresh. Whilst we are based here we thought we should do a little more exploring in the car particularly as we are not sure what the roads are like and when you are 10m in length plus towing a car which is around 14m all up, it makes it difficult to get ourselves out of tight narrow roads especially when you meet oncoming traffic.  Besides, I do not need that sort of excitement in my life!

So off we went heading to Castlepoint.


Map of the area
The countryside was picturesque with rolling hills, farmland and forestry are the main activities of land use. We were about halfway on our journey when there was a diversion ahead, we had to detour through Whareama to get to Castlepoint, we are not sure of the reason for the detour but detour we did, over windy narrow roads.  We’re not to far from Riversdale we summised, so why not go and check out what is there.

It turns out to be a lovely beach, obviously a summer destination as there is a rather large surf club on the beach. Unfortunately there is no motorhome parking in Riversdale, a shame really as it is a rather nice beach and I am sure that motorhomes would add to the local economy.   Riversdale is apparently one of the longest beaches in the Wairarapa and is also known for having a year-round surf.

 After a wander on the beach and a drive around the small settlement, we then headed over the hills to Castlepoint.

Castlepoint is a fishing village and is home to a lighthouse which stands near the top of the northern end of a reef. The reef is about one kilometer long. At the southern end of the reef, there is an island known locally as “seagull island”, due to its large population of seagulls. The southern side of Castle Rock is known as Christmas Bay. Castlepoint was so named in 1770 by Captain Cook who was struck by the similarities of Castle Rock to the battlements of a castle. The Maori name for the area is Rangiwhakaoma, which translates as ‘where the sky runs’.   

 View from the parking area on the beach
  Looking down to the parking area
  Boat retrieval 

We headed to the local pub for a bite to eat before heading on home.

On our return journey to Masterton, we stopped off in Tinui, a very small settlement famous for being the first place that held an Anzac service.  Tinui was the first place in New Zealand to have an ANZAC Day cross: the vicar led an expedition to place a large metal cross on the Tinui Taipos, a 360 m (1200 ft) high large promontory behind the village, on 25 April 1916 to commemorate the dead, when a service was held.

  The ceremony took place in this tiny church in April 1916,  the cross is on the horizon to the left of the portico and to the right of the tall trees…..I know, impossible to see but I can assure you it is there.

Back to Masterton where we are parked, this time the direct route was taken as the diversion had ended, then we had nquick trip down to Featherstone to have dinner with friends Garrick & Marguerite at a lovely local restaurant called Everest.  We can highly recommend it for a good place to eat, friendly service and with delicious wood fired pizzas  made for a lovely evening out.

Lake Ferry and surrounds

April 1, 2016

Another day and another day trip out and about, this time to Pirinoa, inland and just by the turnoff to Lake Ferry. Lake Ferry is on the shore of Lake Onoke…..I am not sure why the village has a different name to the Lake….Lake Onoke is at the southern end of Lake Wairarapa.

  There is not a lot there apart from holiday homes, homes, an hotel and a camp ground. So much so that I neglected to take a single picture!

From there we headed to Whangaimoana, which is on the coast on the Ngawi side of Lake Onoke.  Here, there were a number of people fishing, either surf casting or torpedo fishing.  Damn, we had left the kite fishing gear back at the van! 

   Whangaimoana looking East
 And looking west

From there we headed for the Putangirua  Pinnacles, which Roy has mentioned in his post the other day here

On our return journey we found this carefully tended grave site of the side of the road so we stopped to have a look.   

It is a memorial to 12 seafarers who lost their lives when their sailing ship the Zuleika ran aground offshore here on Good Friday in 1875.  

On the lonely windswwept coast of Palliser Bay, east of Wellington, flowers grow on a large grave. It holds the bodies of 12 men, but few people know anything about its occupants and the tragedy that happened long ago.

In 1897 the Zuleika a 23 year old iron ship had discharged half its American cargo at Duneedin and was to complete unloading at Wellington. At 11pm on April 16 it ran aground in a gael 6km from Cape Palliser.

There were 21 men aboard. All the deck fittings were swept overboard and the crew took to the riggings. Tremendous seas were running and the ship suddenly went under. Those who could swim made for the shore. The rest clung to the wreckage. All that was left in the morning was a piece of the forecastle. Wreckage was strewn over 3km of beach.

12 bodies, bruised and battered almost beyond recognition, were buried near the beach. They were the mate, cook, steward, seven seamen and 2 apprentices of the Zuleika.

Source….NZ Truth, 16 March 1976.
The steamer ‘Tutanekai’ took coffins to the scene of the wreck of the ‘Zuleika’ today (22 April) and 8 of the victims were buried in one grave. The 9th body, that of Alexander McKay will be forwarded to Port Chalmers.

Mr Erai, the Maori, owns the land in the vicinity of the wreck, has given sufficient ground for the burial of the dead and has undertaken to erect a tombstone if one is sent down.

The wreck of the Zuleika in Palliser Bay was sold at auction to Mr Flockton for 65 pounds (stg). In addition to the tins of kerosene and American hardware lying on the beach there is a quantity of fencing wire in the water which it is believed can easily be recovered by a diver. The spars are estimated to be worth about 100 pounds (stg).

Wanganui Chronicle April 1897

A poignant reminder of how rugged this coastline can be. 


Ngawi to Cape Palliser

April 1, 2016

We arrived in Ngawi before Easter and planned to spend about a week there at a PoP (Park over Place) just before Ngawi itself. The PoP is owned by friends of Pat & Steve and is a lovley private and quiet spot which we really appreciated especially when we saw the number of people camped/parked at the free camp spots at Ngawi.  It is an ‘interesting’ drive in to Ngawi, I’ll let the pictures tell that story at the end of this post.

 Parked in the very dry paddock

  The view looking down toward Wellington headland
  Map showing Cape Palliser in relation to Wellngton and the South Island
We parked ourselves beside a shelter belt to protect ourselves from the forecast SW winds, but of course you know what happened don’t you?  Yep, we had every wind from every direction  with only one day of the forecast SW winds!

We took the opportunity whilst basing ourselves in Ngawi to explore the surrounding area, first of all was a trip into Ngawi itself then along the 5km of road to Cape Palliser.

  Boat launching Ngawi style
Ngawi is a fishing village, where the predominant catch is Paua and Crayfish.  It is also reknown as have the highest number of bulldozers per capita.

 You can see in the above photo that there is a step ladder/ramp from the boat to the bulldozer over the very long draw bar.  We watched the boat being launched, then the bulldozer and trailer positioned so that the bulldozer was out of reach of the tide but the trailer was still in the water, the driver walked up the ladder, carefully climbed along the side of the trailer to then leap onto the boat as it carefully manoeuvred itself toward the trailer on the incoming waves.  It was all very well orchestrated and timed.  

From here we went to Cape Palliser.  Cape Palliser is the southernmost point on the North Island and lies further south than Nelson and Blenheim in the South Island. Cape Palliser was named by Captain James Cook in honour of ‘his worthy friend’ Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser of the British Royal Navy.

  The lighthouse as viewed from the carpark

  Read all about it

They say there are 261 steps to the top, and I will have to take their word for it as I lost count about half way up and I was not going to start again and I was concentrating too hard on getting down again with my dodgy knees to think about counting as well.
   Roy taking a photo of me taking a photo of him

I mentioned earlier that the road into Ngawi is interesting, the following photos are taken on our way out.

 The road winds its way around the coastline, with one lane having been washed away in places. 
  Looking back along the road to Ngawi
  On the flat along the sea.  Apparently the road is frequently under water when high seas are present, our host Julie told us that sometimes she has to wait for a gap in the waves to make her dash through to get home! 


Belated 2

March 28, 2016


Once again a catch up of photos and comments.


This photo is for you James, you should have approached Tui for sponsorship on recovering the billiard table at the Lodge!!

Before  leaving Lake Wairarapa Bernice and I took a train ride in to Wellington where we met up with Bernice’s niece Natalie & family.  Before doing so we went to the National War Memorial to see the extension to the exhibit we had previously seen.


The exhibition has been extended with the addition of a Gallipoli section.  This primarily consists of a time line from the landing through to the evacuation presented through a series of colourised original photographs.  These include New Zealand and Australian photographs in the main.  Each is presented within the context of the time and place of the action associated with the photograph.  There is also a roughly four metre square diorama of the action at Chunuk Bair.


The detailed work of colourisation has made those old black and white photos really come to life and add a depth to the experience which is significantly greater that that achieved through the original black and white photographs.

Meanwhile we moved from Lake Wairarapa to Ngawi.  So where is Ngawi?  It is about 5km from Cape Palliser which is the southern most point of the North Island. 


Parked up at a POP just a kilometre out of Ngawi.  Friends of Steve and Pat own the property.  Lovely spot close to the sea.


One of a pair of Highland cattle who are our neighbours.


Due west (where the sun is setting) is Seddon, on the South Island.  We have caught sight of the South Island from time to time.


This shot shows the reflected light, form the sunset above, on the dry hills immediately behind where we are camped


A cloud formation above the Aorangi Forest Park shaped like a feather.


The toilets which are positioned on the sea side of the road around this area are all well tied to the ground to avoid disappearing in the high winds. And yes, we have experienced a little of the strong winds.

We took a short trip from here to Cape Palliser.  This is the southern most point of the North Island.


Looking from the carpark up the steps to the Lighthouse.


Bernice part way up the stairs, taking in the view.


There is the top.  Not quite there but close.


And here is a shot of the original lighthouse keeper’s house at the bottom.


Steve and Pat waiting in the carpark for the mountaineers to return.


I think this sign may have been relocated from somewhere a little further south!!


A very happy little bach, or crib for those of you in the south.


This boat is being launched in Ngawi.  Note the very long drawbar between the cradle and the bulldozer.  Also the angled  connection is actually a ramp leading from the back of the bulldozer to the side of the cradle and the crewman driving the bulldozer can use this to go on board the boat.


Oops!!  Genuine seaside residence, with only a sight problem with the foundations.  Unobstructed sea views with direct access to the sea.


This is the view from the ridge track to the lookout at the Putangirua Pinnacles, a formation very similar to the clay cliffs outside Omarama.



Belated 1

March 28, 2016


Someone, who shall remain nameless, has been remiss with submitting blogs.  As a result it is now necessary to catch up and to post some of the pictures that have been taken over some past weeks/months.

So this blog starts when we were at Rangiwahia and goes through to about Wairarapa.  Some of these places and photos may be duplicated but most have not been seen before.

These first two are of the POP at Rangiwahia.  It is around the Hall with the parking on the left and the dump station on the right.

1The Hall


23POP and Dump station



This aeroplane on a stick is a monument to celebrate the first powered flight in the Wairarapa, it is not far from Gladstone.



These two were seen out and about at the Harvest Wine Festival


Then on to Lake Wairarapa where we spent time exploring the neighbourhood and relaxing.



4Early morning mist and a very still Lake

5Panoramic view of the same part of the lake.



A cloud formation over the Lake that strongly resembled the upper part of a Toetoe frond.


16And another great sunrise over the Lake.   One has to be early for these shots so they are also new to some members of the party. (Bernice here I’ll have you know that I watched quite a few sunrises over the Lake, from the comfort of my bed whilst waiting for my cup of tea to be delivered!!)


6A view of our camping site from further round the Lake.   This was on one of the busier days, but there was still plenty of room.  We saw a reasonable number of overnighters and very few stayed more than two nights.


7An interesting tree within the Camping Area.  It has obviously been there a long time as the trunk has completely filled the tractor tyre which had been placed around it to protect it when it was planted.  The root mass now starts at the top of the tractor tyre.  It will be interesting to come back and see how much it has stretched the tyre at some point in the future.


8Another glorious sunrise


5And finally a sunset over the Rimutaka Range

While we were at the Lake Wairarapa we took the opportunity to do some sight/site seeing and exploration of some of the remoter camping sites on the East Coast.  One of our trips took us out to Te Awaiti and Tora – the northern and southern ends of a remote part of the East Coast.


10The bridge at the north end of Te Awaiti.  The bridge is privately owned and provides access to the farm at the north end.  There is a gate across the far end of the bridge and nowhere to turn a large vehicle at the near end, a problem if you were to come here in a big vehicle.  It sometimes pays to explore first!


8Sue and Bernice preparing lunch carefully supervised/observed by Pat.  Whilst it looked not a bad place to stay we would never have got into the Camping area with our vehicle.  It was too narrow, too steep and impossible to turn into, so we crossed it off our list of possible coastal stays. 

On our way from Te Awaiti at the north end, to Tora at the south, we saw these fishing boats hauled out of the water.  They are launched using Tractors and bulldozers.  You will see more of these when we post about our stay at Ngawi. 




There is a free camping site at the beginning of the Tora Road.  Quite rudimentary it is between the bridge and the sea in fairly rough ground with some flatter spots.  There is a sign and rubbish bins at the entrance, but that is about all.


14Found this rather comfortable chair or lounger at the top of the beach on the road to Tora.  Obviously provided by some enterprising local.

On another day we went to see Stonehenge Aotearoa.  This is modelled on Stonehenge’s seen throughout the world, the most famous of which is probably the Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain, England.  Bernice and I had been to Stonehenge Aotearoa ten years ago which was not long after it first opened but Pat and Sue had not been so we all went and had a look.



The entrance or causeway to the henge.


Statue of Diana in the foreground and the Seven Sisters or Pleiades in the background.  Maori know these stars as Matariki and, for many tribes, the dawn rising of Matarki herald the beginning of the new year.  To the south-west of the Seven Sisters there is a marker stone.  Stand on this stone and the Sisters will show you where Matariki rises.



19Pat, Sue and Bernice listening to the enthralling tour provided by Richard Hall.   This site is a must see for everyone with a sense of wonder.


20And last but not least a view of the “ghost house” on the hill opposite the Stonehenge site


March 18, 2016

We all went down the country lane
for blackberries, sweet blackberries 
And there we saw them wet with rain
Those blackberries, sweet blackberries
And oh my dear it was such fun
To see them glistening in the sun 
We ate them all, yes every one 
Those blackberries, sweet blackberries.

This is a nursery rhyme from my childhood (I think I have recalled it reasonably accurately) which every year at about this time comes to mind especially when we find blackberries growing. And this year we found a nice couple of places where we have managed to find them growing in abundance. The first patch of blackberries we found were not too far from Gladstone where we were parked last week, so Roy and I went off to pick a few. 
  growing wild
Roy in gathering mode
On one of our trips out and about with Pat & Sue we found a lovely apple trees growing on the side of a road, of course we stopped and picked a bag each of some very good cooking apples. We are not sure what variety they are but they are very tart, and when cooked fluff up beautifully. The perfect combination – blackberries and apples.  

A bag of apples and a bowl of blackberries
It didn’t take too long to get the first lot of Blackbrry Chutney in a pan cooking away. This is a recipe that I developed a few years ago whilst at the Lodge when I was looking for a chutney to accompany a specific cheese and after trying a few recipes, I worked at developing my own recipe very carefully noting all the quantities and methodology along the way.

  Chutney in the making

  Chutney at the front and the start of Blackberry & Apple Jelly cooking at the rear.

Chutney was made, Jelly bottled, then apples cooked up and portioned into bags and put in the freezer along with a few small bags of blackberries. Blackberry & Apple tarts were also made,  individual ones made in muffin tins and these have provided us all with a treat at the end of dinner.  A few pears have also been foraged and added to the larder and a few more blackberries were added to the freezer after we moved to park at the reserve by Lake Wairarapa where we found another irresistible patch to raid.  These will be used at some stage over the next few months to remind us of warmer times.

Wairarapa Harvest Wine & Food Festival

March 13, 2016

It came as somewhat of a shock but we are just not used to it.  We are of course talking about the weather!  On Friday night the temperature dropped which meant we had to find some warmer clothes, dig out the slippers from their summer hiding place and get out the quilt to throw over the bed covers.  We are just not used to this, temperatures dropped overnight to 10C, I mean, we have become accustomed to overnight temperatures dropping to the early 20’s but this sudden change meant that we turned on the heating for a quick blast of warmth.  So when we woke on Sarturday morning with the temperature rising very slowly and with a cool breeze, we all rugged up ready for a cool day at the festival.

We drove the 6km to the venue where we were directed to park in a large paddock and then board one of the numerous buses running shuttles to the venue on the banks of the Raumahunga River.  Once we had gained entry we were given our wine glass which came with holder and handy cord to hang around our necks along with a very good programme which also included a list of each eatery with a menu of their offerings for the day,  a great idea.  In between cooking demonstrations there was great entertainment on offer and got the crowd to their feet.

  The crowd waiting for the entertainment to start
We met up with Ali & Ian (their motorhome is called Alian!) as we discovered we were in the same region.  We first met Ali & Ian in 2012 at the Pakawau Old school Cafe, read here, and then again in 2013 which you can read here so it was lovely to be able to meet up again.   They were parked in the motorhome parking area at the venue whereas we had decided to stay where we were after doing a recce of the venue and parking area last Thursday and on being told that 150-200 motorhomes were expected to arrive, we  decided to stay at Gladstone Reserve away from the throng.  However, once we got to the festival and checked everything out, there would have only been 40-50 vans there, but never mind, we were happy and comfortable where we were.     Sue, Ali and Bernice

It wasn’t too long before the sun came out and the layers of warm clothing removed.   The bands started playing and the crowds got to their feet to sing and dance  along with them.

  The band and crowd enjoying the atmosphere

Soon it was time to board our bus back to the carpark and then into the car to return home.  Funnily enough as we settled down for an evening drink outside we could hear the band on its last set of the day as although we had to travel 12km to the event in a circuitous route, as the crow flies it was just a few hundred metres away from our spot on the side of the river. 

A lovely day spent with great friends, good food and wine and entertainment – the weather was great too. 

The long and winding road

March 11, 2016

By Wednesday morning the gales had subsided and we were soon on the road heading toward Gladstone which is just out of Masterton in the Wairarapa, to meet up with Pat & Sue as we are off to the Wairarapa Harvest Wine & Food Festival this weekend.  We set off from Feilding taking just a small detour to the dump station before we were tootling along quite nicely enjoying the ever changing landscape. We caught glimpses of the Apiti Wind Farm peeping out from cloud covered hills.

 Apiti wind farm under the clouds

It wasn’t too long before we came to the Manawatu Gorge, we had heard a lot about this road through the gorge, its reputation preceded it so it was with some trepidation we approached the route.   Yes, it is a winding, narrow road but with all traffic travelling at a sensible, appropriate speed and it was not long before we came out of the other side.


  Manawatu gorge
Before long we passed through many small rural towns including Woodville, Pahiatua and Eketahuna not to forget Mangatainoka – the home of Tui Beer.

      Tui Brewery

Our GPS took us through one very convoluted bypass around Masterton to arrive at Gladstone Scenic Reserve where Pat & Sue were waiting, having just recently arrived.

  All parked up!