Category

Short Walks

Seaview Gardens – Foxton

By North Island, Short Walks

A short walk in Foxton town

Seaview Gardens Reserve is an historic, elevated garden at the south end of Foxton’s Main Street, in the Horowhenua, that offers a  short walk up a hill.

The gardens contain native trees in a hilltop park, with extensive views of the surrounding town and rural areas.
This area up and around the water tower was once called Ferry Hill.
People used to walk up the hill to watch the ferries go across the river below and to watch the ships enter the river entrance at the Manawatu Heads (Foxton Beach).
The ferry enabled travellers and the Wellington-Wanganui stage coach to cross the river to Foxton after travelling up the coast. Ferry Hill became Seaview Hill and with the planting of the gardens, became Seaview Gardens.
In the 1930s the gardens included terraces, plantings, fish ponds, ponga shelters and a bird aviary.
Following a cutback in Borough spending in the 1950s, the gardens have gradually “disappeared”, until recently the council have constructed the walking tracks and planted flax and placed signs.
The water tower was constructed in 1923 and still provides pressurised water distribution for Foxton and is now also used for a mobile phone tower.

Te Puna Quarry Park Garden

By North Island, Short Walks

By Judith Simpson
My favourite short walk has always been “Around the Mount” but we’ve discovered Tauranga’s Hidden Secret. The Te Puna Quarry Park Garden.
Perhaps you need to be a little more energetic to do this walk but it’s definitely worth the effort. It’s really a treasure, full of unexpected joys.
Some people run around the main track in 20 minutes, others take all morning to investigate the side tracks that lead to all sorts of adventures for young and old.
It’s a place to take your granny for a stroll along the lower level to smell the flowers in the raised garden for the blind or to just take a rest under the flowering cherries and watch the children clamber over the enormous stone dragon or slide down the silver slide from the princess’s castle.
Take your grandchildren and let them clamber into the big digger and pretend they’re in control of filling the next lorry with gravel. They may want to climb up through the Rhododendrons and Vireyas to make music on the pipes and gongs or walk a little further to ride on a big wooden engine complete with guard and flag while you sit on a bench and admire the view.
82 acres of wilderness.
Making it into a community resource was the vision of a local lady, Shirley Sparks. With a group of willing volunteers they began cutting and hacking their way through the gorse and rubbish. They met every Tuesday morning and still do today to weed, clear and plant, turning it into a parkland.
It was opened in 2000 by the Governor General Sir Michael Hardie Boyes.
The quarry had been abandoned and over time it had become a dumping ground for any old waste, fridges, washing machines, you name it. Most of the area was quite dangerous. Today it is hard to imagine what it must have been like for those early volunteer battling  four metre high gorse and scrub.
But let’s take walk up the main track. This isn’t a garden parkland for the purists. There’s been no grand design and as groups have offered time so the garden has developed. Old Heritage Roses, the Fuchsia group, a native area, Bromeliads and a Japanese Garden with Bonsais to name a few have all organised their chosen spaces.
A family giving up as Orchid growers donated a trailer load of roots to make an unrivalled display as you walk up the track.
Take a diversion to investigate the Monarch Butterfly House.
Swan plants reign supreme and butterflies flutter everywhere. If your caterpillars are being eaten by wasps? You can bring them up to Mary who will pop them in the purpose built House to “chrysalis” in peace. And then be released as butterflies.
Onwards to the first terrace and “Brian’s Wall”. A dry stone wall built by his family in his memory and as a lasting gift to the community.
You can lean on the wall and gaze down on the butterflies and Fuchsias or out over the Bay to Omokoroa, Matakana Island and the Mount. Stunning. It’s a wonderful place to show visitors what Kiwifruit orchards look like from above with their tall, thin shelterbelts or just the green, luscious looking Te Puna landscape.
All along the way you stumble across “treasures”. A mosaic set in the pathway below the abseiling cliff wall, a cairn that reminds you of Nepal, corrugated cut-outs of bushmen and you often see groups having their photo taken with the life-sized mosaic family enjoying afternoon tea.
Up the “Lions’” stone steps. What labour went into creating these enabling a round walk to be developed. The Lions also planted a grove of Kauri trees and the local Rotary was involved in pond making and getting the old water wheel into working order. It really is a community project.
As you come off the Lions’ steps you look out over a valley covered in Ponga ferns – a sea of waving, green umbrellas? And then it’s down wooden steps to an area newly planted in Magnolias. What a sight they will be in a year or two.
Shirley and her committee have thought of many ways to be useful to the community.
Want to have a wedding? There’s a pavilion complete with small kitchen that can be yours for a donation and many’s the time we’ve seen birthday celebrations on the green lawn, a Book Club having a summer picnic lunch and their monthly meeting or our group having fish and chips under the cherry trees.
But there’s more if you have time. A hidden path behind the Pavilion follows a small stream up to a waterfall. This part is still untamed and if you’re lucky you may hear a Bellbird sing or see a Wood Pigeon lumber overhead and of course there are tuis all around.
Our Quarry is an amazing place with something for everyone to enjoy. It is my favourite place. Why don’t you come and visit our Te Puna treasure sometime soon?

Anzac Park Scenic Reserve

By North Island, Short Walks

Anzac Park Scenic Reserve is a sheltered pocket of native forest, located 3km north of Norsewood in Central Hawkes Bay just a few metres off State Highway  2.
This is a pleasant place for travellers to have a short or overnight stopover and have a short stroll.
On looking further up the park there is a short forest walk about 500 metres, starting with a formed track and later just marked with arrows.
One is unlikely to get lost as it is a banana shaped belt of trees. It is just a great place to stop and stretch the legs after a long journey. Matai and totara are prominent and there is a wealth of smaller broad leaved trees.
A large grassed area adjacent to the forest is set aside for picnicking and camping with a picnic shelter, toilets, water supply and barbecue facilities provided.
Over nighters are expected to pay a small charge towards facility maintenance.

Whangarei Falls – A walk not to be missed

By North Island, Short Walks

A popular walk in Whangarei, just a few minutes drive from the CBD, is the Whangarei Falls walk.

The walk loops around the waterfall, down one side, crossing a footbridge at the bottom and back up the other side. It has well maintained tracks and is suitable for all ages although both sides of this circular track do zig zag down steep slopes to the lower bridge.

An easy walking path leads to the upper waterfall’s lookout. It takes only two minutes to reach this lookout, and the walk is suitable for people of all abilities. Take the track to the left to the waterfall’s base, cross the river via a concrete bridge and follow the track.

One minute after crossing the river you’ll see one more upper lookout – don’t miss it. It will take five minutes to reach the waterfall’s base from this lookout and then five  minutes to come back to the carpark using the same track, or return via the 30-minutes’ loop track. This track has the stairs and not suitable for wheelchairs/strollers

The picturesque waterfall is 26.3m high and falls over basalt cliffs. The two viewing platforms above the waterfall give spectacular views of the falls and a birds eye view of the forest below.
Don’t be disappointed! Whangarei Falls is a type of waterfalls which may have little or no water at all during a dry summer. Hence, if the summer is dry with no rain for a few weeks, please don’t expect to see a powerful waterfall. There is a lovely picnic area and public toilets by the carpark.

The walk accesses the AH Reed Kauri Park, with 500 year old kauri trees, and is the uppermost section of the complete Hatea River walk.
Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of native New Zealand bush. Trees include nikau, totara, manuka, to kouka (cabbage tree) and ponga (tree fern) and birds that you may see and hear include kukupa (native wood pigeon), tui and riroriro (grey warbler).

History

Traditionally this area was a good eeling spot for the local Maori and around the turn of the century it was a popular picnic spot (and still is today) for Whangarei residents.
The base of the falls may once have been tapu (sacred) as the pools below the falls were once used for washing the wounded and dead, and was known to Maori as an area of healing.
In the late 1920’s, Mr Archibald Clapham brought the property, reputedly to prevent the falls being developed as a commercial watermill. In 1946 a local businessmen’s association raised the purchase price by public subscription and the property was vested as a public domain in 1958.

Fact file

Whangarei Falls is roughly a 10-minutes’ drive away from Whangarei city center, or 2.5-hours’ from Auckland. The road surface is always sealed.
Make your own way to Whangarei, then follow the signs ‘Whangarei Falls’ until you reach a car park at Boundary Road. The area is very well maintained and has toilets as well as a beautiful picnic area with a few tables.