Solstice Tour, Wednesday June 19 2013
Following tradition, this solstice trip was a relaxed affair, this year to attractions east of Dannevirke. Jim Hickey had predicted a fine day, but got it wrong. We set off from Napier in the dark with light, misty rain falling. Not a good start but somehow appropriate.
Our first stop was the Peka Peka Wetlands. The rain had stopped but the early morning misty conditions made this a memorable visit. The work put into developing this area is impressive but obviously we were not there at the right time to see birdlife. It will be a magnificent place when developed further and the native plantings are more established.
We headed south via Waipukarau to Porangahou and stretched our legs (only a little) on this vast beach. We had it all to ourselves.
Then it was further south to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu.
I will only type that once. In future, I will refer to as “Thehillbetweenporangahauandwimbledonwiththe longnamethaticannotrememberorpronouncewherewetookaphotohadcoffeeandsawafantail”. We had a group photo by the sign. Some were more enthusiastic than others.
Then south again via Weber to the Waihi Falls Reserve. We could look down on the river and walk down to the base of the falls. The river was in full flow, so the falls were magnificent. The walk down is through bush, mainly kowhai trees. It must be great to see in spring when they are in bloom and the place would be alive with tuis. These falls are well worth the trip out from Dannevirke.
It was time for lunch but we had one more stop, Mangatoro Reserve. This is a small reserve but, like the falls, well worth a visit. The reserve is a remnant of the original “90 Mile Bush”. Not only are the trees old but they are very, very tall, reaching for the sky from the bottom of a deep ravine. One totara is said to be “one of the largest in New Zealand”. I don’t doubt the claim.
With the help of “GPS Betty”, we navigated our way to The Vault in Dannevirke for a relaxed lunch and coffee of choice to celebrate the solstice.
Then it was back into the van to complete our marathon round trip. Many thanks to our driver, Kelvin. Although light on the tramping – as none of the areas visited was very big – it was an interesting day and well suited to a solstice trip.
Trampers: There were 11 of us (a tramper’s dozen), being Kelvin Shaw, Robyn Smith, Julia Mackie, John Marshall, Peter Slagter, John Burrell, Murray White, Vic Bullock, Dennis Mitchell, Paul Exeter and reporter Ken Ross