Tag Archives: Hastings

Maraetotara Falls & Maraetotara Falls Heritage Walk

Maraetotara Falls Heritage Walk is a short but scenic drive from Hastings. Most of the way it’s the same route as to Ocean Beach. This beautiful day saw lots of paragliders circling peaks reminiscent of Te Mata Peak.

One entrance to Maraetotara Falls Heritage Walk
One entrance to Maraetotara Falls Heritage Walk

Maraetotara Road widens to provide ample parking. There are at least two different entrances to the walkway. Above is the second when approaching from Waimarama Road.

Near one entrance to the walkway
Near one entrance to the walkway

From the entrance I descended to the river. A path follows the river in both directions. There is no indication of the way to the falls, so I headed east.

Maraetotara River?
Maraetotara River?

I assume that the water tower just visible through the trees below was part of the historic Havelock North hydro-electric power station. It is visible from Maraetotara Road, and marks another entrance to the walkway.

Water tower
Water tower

I’ve read that I could walk about an hour on the tracks around the falls.  There wasn’t so much daylight left on a winter’s day, and the river is in a gully, so after walking some distance to the east, I decided that the falls was in the other direction, and turned back to the west.

The falls walkway
The falls walkway

The smaller falls are the first you see.  These flow over pipes that I believe used to carry water to the power plant.

Smaller falls
Smaller falls

From what I’ve read I can’t quite tell whether the falls themselves were actually created to power the plant.  It is clear that people enjoy swimming in the pool in the summer.

Maraetotara Falls
Maraetotara Falls

It’s a beautiful setting, a great place for a swim, and a good place for a short walk.

Maraetotara Falls
Maraetotara Falls

Please enjoy the full gallery of 10 pictures below.

Piwakawaka Loop: redwoods, lemon eucalyptus, and fantails in Te Mata Park

Piwakawaka Loop is a 1.3km walk of about 40 minutes through Te Mata Park. It starts the same as 4 of the Top 5 Walking Tracks in Te Mata Park, in a clockwise direction from the Main Gates Car Park.

Near the start of 4 of the Top 5 Walking Tracks in Te Mata Park
Near the start of 4 of the Top 5 Walking Tracks in Te Mata Park

Soon the track ducks into a leafy tunnel. Green markers show the way.

Piwakawaka Loop diverges
Piwakawaka Loop diverges

I was surprised by a grove of redwoods that continues for some time. I’d only seen the other end of it previously, and never entered far into it. This is not the Big Redwoods Grove, but it is pretty big.

This grove was planted in 1974 by the Hastings Rotary Club with trees propagated by Don Wilson Nurseryman of Hastings using seeds imported from California. Redwoods seem to do well in New Zealand, and past residents of Hawkes Bay seem to have loved them.

Redwood grove
Redwood grove

This short loop track was given the Maori name for the fantails seen along the way. These curious little birds like to come up and say hello.

Piwakawaka (fantail)
Piwakawaka (fantail)

Lemon-scented eucalyptus are striking trees that always stand out from their surroundings. The essential oil of the tree is about 80% citronellal. Unrefined oil is used in perfume, and a refined form is used in insect repellents, especially against mosquitoes.

Lemon-scented eucalyptus - Piwakawaka Loop
Lemon-scented eucalyptus

The last part of the loop passes through the same landscapes as the beginning of Giant Circuit, and the end of some of the other walks in Te Mata Park.

Piwakawaka Loop
Piwakawaka Loop

Familiar sights include the view from the lookout near the Main Gates Car Park.

View over southern Hawkes Bay
View over southern Hawkes Bay

As I walk the tracks in Te Mata Park I get to know the park better as a whole while appreciating different areas and features. It’s nice to have a short walk like Piwakawaka Loop available, and its character makes it a unique Te Mata Park experience.

Please enjoy the full gallery of 8 pictures below.

Pakowhai Regional Park, The Dog Park

Pakowhai Regional Park is referred to as a country-style park. It is located near Hastings on either side of Raupare Stream. Ngaruroro River flows along its northern border. There are about 2km of easy walking tracks, open grassy areas, and a lot of interesting trees.

West from the car park - Pakowhai
West from the car park

The park was built in the bed where Ngaruroro River once flowed. The river was moved in 1969 as part of a flood control plan. Flood control features are easily recognized, such as the high banks. In places willow trees were planted to reinforce the banks.

From the car park the tracks follows Raupare Stream at varying distances.

Raupare Stream - Pakowhai
Raupare Stream

Soon you have to cross Raupare Stream in order to continue west.

Raupare Stream - Pakowhai
Raupare Stream

The park continues some distance to the west. A track along the river continues much further. I turned east instead. In the picture below you can see the Ngaruroro River and a track along the top of a stop bank.

Ngaruroro River - Pakowhai
Ngaruroro River

The park ends at the Pakowhai Road bridge over the Ngaruroro River. I was drawn to the graffiti and burned out car beneath the bridge.

Bridge over Ngaruroro River
Bridge over Ngaruroro River
Bridge over Ngaruroro River
Bridge over Ngaruroro River
Bridge over Ngaruroro River
Bridge over Ngaruroro River

The track continues a great distance to the east as well. I have a half-baked plan to follow this path to the pacific coast, and then to Napier.

This park is known to locals as The Dog Park, and it’s obvious that dog walking is a very popular use for the park.

The Dog Park - Pakowhai
The Dog Park

In the picture below you can see the long narrow island in the middle of Raupare Stream. There are bridges to the island and a track along much of its length.

Raupare Stream
Raupare Stream

Pakowhai Regional Park is a good place for a picnic or a short walk, especially if you have a dog.

Pakowhai Regional Park
Pakowhai Regional Park

Please enjoy the full gallery of 18 pictures below.

Cornwall Park, Hastings’ oldest park

Cornwall Park is a pleasant 8 hectare park in Hastings with a variety of attractive features.  The city’s oldest park has a wide array of beautiful plant life, big old trees, playgrounds, cricket grounds, an aviary and a Chinese garden.

Gate to Osmanthus Gardens
Gate to Osmanthus Gardens

Osmanthus Gardens was established in 1996 to commemorate 15 years of Hastings’ sister city relationship with Guilin in China.

Osmanthus Gardens
Osmanthus Gardens

The gardens feature an array of plants from the Osmanthus plant family, bamboo, and other Chinese and New Zealand plants.

Osmanthus Gardens
Osmanthus Gardens

The gardens are lit with Chinese lanterns every year in April in celebration of the sister city relationship. Auckland’s Lantern Festival has long been a favorite of mine, and I look forward to seeing Hastings’ version.

Lighting of Osmanthus Gardens - from Hastings District Council website
Lighting of Osmanthus Gardens – from Hastings District Council website

The John Holt Memorial Display House is a small heated glass house that keeps its plants flowering throughout the winter.

Inside the John Holt Memorial Display House
Inside the John Holt Memorial Display House
Inside the John Holt Memorial Display House
Inside the John Holt Memorial Display House

The southwestern end of the park contains the Chinese Gardens, display house, and many of the big old trees, such as the sequoia tree in the picture below.

Californian Big Tree
Californian Big Tree

Past residents of southern Hawkes Bay planted a lot of redwood and sequoia trees.  I’ve seen a plaque just like the one pictured below in another Hastings park.  For some reason it identifies (describes?) the tree as a “Californian Big Tree”.

Californian Big Tree
Californian Big Tree
Cornwall Park tree
Cornwall Park tree
Cornwall Park tree
Cornwall Park tree

There are always a lot of people enjoying the duck pond.

Cornwall Park duck pond
Cornwall Park duck pond

The aviary has shaded by thick vines growing over an arbor.

Cornwall Park aviary
Cornwall Park aviary

This was the friendliest bird by far.  He climbed around the wire mesh with claws and beak to be as close as possible, making noise the whole time.  I’m not sure what kind of bird he is, maybe a kind of cockatoo.  None of the birds would speak, not even the sulfur-crested cockatoo .

Cornwall Park aviary
Cornwall Park aviary

The rainbow lorikeet were curious.

Cornwall Park aviary
Cornwall Park aviary

There is a wide variety of colorful birds here.

Cornwall Park aviary
Cornwall Park aviary
Cornwall Park aviary
Cornwall Park aviary

I still enjoy a good painted rock.  The local kids seem to as well.

Painted rock
Painted rock

Cornwall Park is a nice little city park, with more to see than I expected. I’ve been back several times and will be again.

Please enjoy the full gallery of 21 pictures below.  To view on imgur click here.

Te Mata Peak

It seems to be the first place locals tell you to go in Hastings, and for good reason – Te Mata Peak is the highest peak in the area, and offers views in every direction, over the Heretaunga Plains, and Hawke’s Bay, including Napier, the Ruahine, Kaweka and Maungaharuru Ranges and Cape Kidnappers.  On a clear day you can see as far as Mount Ruapehu and Mahia Peninsula.

North toward Napier from Te Mata Peak
North toward Napier from Te Mata Peak

Te Mata Park is a 99 hectare recreational reserve with a variety of hiking and mountain biking tracks, a fair number of which seem to converge on the peak.  Other trails lead through forest and along limestone valleys.

Looking west from Te Mata Peak
Looking west from Te Mata Peak

The landscape of the park itself is the most beautiful part of the view in every direction.

Looking west from Te Mata Peak
Looking west from Te Mata Peak

The Maori story of Te Mata, from NewZealand.com:

Many centuries ago the people living in pa (fortified villages) on the Heretaunga Plains were under constant threat of war from the coastal tribes of Waimarama. At a gathering in Pakipaki (near Hastings), a wise old woman (kuia) suggested that the leader of the Waimarama tribes, a giant named Te Mata, could be made to fall in love with Hinerakau – the daughter of a Pakipaki chief – and turn his thoughts from war to peace. This mission was quickly accomplished, and Te Mata fell under the spell of the beautifully Hinerakau.

Looking east over the Tukituki River
Looking east over the Tukituki River

However the people of Heretaunga had not forgotten the past and wanted revenge. They demanded that Hinerakau make Te Mata prove his devotion by accomplishing seemingly impossible tasks. His last task was to bite through the hills between the coast and the plains, so that people could come and go with greater ease.

Looking south from Te Mata Peak
Looking south from Te Mata Peak

Te Mata died while eating his way through the hills. His half-accomplished work can be seen in what is known as The Gap or Pari Karangaranga (echoing cliffs) and his prostrate body forms Te Mata Peak.

Te Mata Peak, the sleeping giant, from TeMataPark.co.nz
Te Mata Peak, the sleeping giant, from TeMataPark.co.nz

Te Mata Peak is a place that must be visited when in the Hawkes Bay Area.  I’ll return for the views, and also to explore the trails.

Te Mata Peak
Te Mata Peak

You can view the full gallery of 16 pictures below.  Be sure to check out the panoramas!  To view on imgur click here.  The gallery below uses the Photo Gallery plugin, and offers a nice slideshow feature.  Let me know how you like it!

On a Sunny Day in Hawkes Bay we happened upon Lake Tutira

I had only spent a short time in Hawkes Bay about ten years ago, and I had never been to Lake Tutira.   On a sunny Saturday we headed south and west for Hastings, about a 5.5 hour drive from Auckland,  spending a few hours in Rotorua looking at the usual steaming geothermals and lake scenery.  In the mountains further to the southwest it began to rain hard, and continued through the early evening, clearing by the next morning.  The weather was good for the next ten days.

Hawkes Bay, north of Napier
Hawkes Bay, north of Napier

A couple of days after arriving, on the last day of October, I needed to take advantage of an expiring AA fuel discount, so it was prime time for an outing that would empty my tank.  We headed north from Hastings toward Napier.

Hawkes Bay, north of Napier
Hawkes Bay, north of Napier

We enjoyed the views of Hawkes Bay, but kept driving.  We stopped on the way back for the pictures above and below.

This carpark next to Hawkes Bay, north of Napier, allows camping
This carpark next to Hawkes Bay, north of Napier, allows camping

The highway turns away from the coast, and climbs into the mountains.  Lake Tutira looked like a nice place to stop.

Lake Tutira
Lake Tutira

Near the carpark atop a small hill is a small shelter in a Maori style.

Lake Tutira
Lake Tutira

On the other side of the road in is the smaller Lake Waikopiro.

Check out this area on Google Maps.

Lake Waikopiro
Lake Waikopiro

Can you identify this bird?  I’m going with: Grey Heron.

Grey Heron?
Grey Heron?

The many ducks in Lake Tutira gave every impression of expecting food.

Lake Tutira Duck
Lake Tutira Duck

The black swan population didn’t seem to fear us, but they didn’t come as close as the ducks.

Black swan
Black swan

Various tracks offer walks into the surrounding hills and mountains.

Mountains of Tutira
Mountains of Tutira

But we stuck to easier tracks, with nice views of the high ground.

Mountains of Tutira
Mountains of Tutira

On the west side of the lake, past the campgrounds, we saw a flock of wild turkeys, and heard them gobble excitedly when a ‘Kahu’, or New Zealand hawk flew overhead.  We also frightened some large wild hares.

Wild turkeys near Lake Tutira
Wild turkeys near Lake Tutira

Our destination was one of six sites around the lake, this one, like many, located on a peninsula.

Lake Tutira from the pa
Lake Tutira from the pa
Lake Tutira from the pa
Lake Tutira from the pa
Lake Tutira from the pa
Lake Tutira from the pa

After a rest on the pa, we went back the way we had come.

Looking back at the carpark over Lake Tutira
Looking back at the carpark over Lake Tutira

Lake Tutira and the surrounding area are beautiful.  I’ll visit again when I’m next in Hawkes Bay, and walk the whole 5 hour Tutira Walkway.  Signs around the lake suggest that there are more tracks than are mentioned on this DOC page.

Lake Tutira
Lake Tutira

You can view the full gallery of 19 pictures here.  To view on imgur, click here.