We had a very quick overnight road trip to my favourite city in New Zealand.
Took the back road from Napier to Takapau via Tikokino, by-passing Waipawa and Waipukurau. Not too much traffic on the road which made our journey easy and we stopped at Dannevirke for morning tea.
In the past we’ve called in to the tearooms at Norsewood which is always pleasant, but being keen to get to Wellington, we decided to see what Dannevirke had to offer for a change.
It’s a trip I’ve done many times growing up in NZ, having worked both in Palmerston North and Wellington. I was actually disappointed not to be travelling through the Manawatu Gorge, which has been a favourite scenic route in the past. The road has been susceptible to slips over the years and it has finally become too costly to keep up the repairs. A real shame as I loved this really windy, scenic road which curved around the hills to Woodville and then on to Palmerston North.
The train used to run through the Manawatu Gorge and it was a journey that consisted of travelling through quite a few long tunnels but when you emerged from a tunnel the cliffs on the opposite side, the water gushing through the gorge and the native vegetation always made spectacular viewing.
So because the Gorge was no longer open, we drove through Woodville and Pahiatua, skirting Massey University, through Linton to Shannon, where we stopped to stretch our legs.
Ha ha – we didn’t stop for the dog toilet specifically but thought it was worth a picture …
We stopped in Otaki for a late lunch before continuing on to Wellington.
Wellington was a hive of activity, and we enjoyed a great meal at Murphy’s Irish Bar in Cuba Mall.
There are some really awesome shops with artists like Christine Harris, who explores the ancient art of 14th century marbling techniques which utilise the natural movement of water. Christine’s shop is an amazing mix of her paintings and includes clothing and jewellery. You can see more of her beautiful designs here – https://www.christineharrisdesign.com/product-page/016
The scenery is constantly changing and some of the farmland is densely populated with cattle as below, yet you can travel long distances and see paddocks with very little livestock.
Driving through the mountain ranges is always interesting and in years gone by we rarely took the Wairarapa route back to the Bay because it was always quicker to go through the Manawatu Gorge. However it is a truly spectacular drive this way with many little towns that have been re-vamped yet which still retain their original very New Zealand rural character, with the shops each side of the main street, bull-nose verandahs etc. Noticed that we always used to spell Rimutuka this way rather than Remutaka, which seems to be the new way of spelling the name of this mountain range.
It was a quick trip to Wellington to visit a very dear friend of mine who has been unwell, but it was time well spent and Wellington seems to be booming. Was disappointed not to visit Te Papa, the famous museum, to see the amazing Terracotta Warriors exhibition … but will hopefully re-visit one day soon.