Day 67 on the Road
Giant Wind Turbines and Walks in the Manawatu Gorge Forest
Today’s activities on New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year is the Te Apiti Wind Farm and a hike in the Manawatu Gorge!
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Today we are trading city life in Palmerston North for country life in the Ruahine Ranges in between we have a few Manawatu must-dos so that is what we’re doing today.
First on our list is the Te Apiti Wind Farm this is a wind farm which you can drive all the way up to you can park right underneath a wind turbine and have a look at the awesome views around all of the wind farm. This isn’t your everyday occurrence. New Zealand actually strives to be a 100% renewable energy in 2050 which is actually quite soon is you consider the size of the country. And the Te Apiti Wind Farm was actually the first wind farm in New Zealand and also one of the biggest. Every single one of the windmill that they have powers at least 900 New Zealand households which is quite impressive. I had no idea that windmills were that big they were so powerful and they made so much noise. She entertains herself. It is so windy that even some of the wind turbines have turned off because it’s too dangerous for them to go rotating in this crazy weather so we are up here at the windiest time ever all I can say in Te Apiti is a good place for a wind farm. Now we are going to Manawatu Gorge so this is just a quick drive Manawatu Gorge has I think three different hikes and the hike we are doing today is the Tawa Loop Walk which takes one hour and 45 minutes according to the signs. It’s quite underrated so there is really not that many people along the track so it’s really kind of something that even in summer you can definitely enjoy away from the crowds and that’s something that I always like. So Laura is far ahead she left me behind. We are going into this really cool forest there’s such towering trees covered in green moss but what’s cool about this forest is there are loads of small vines that just coil there way around the tree trunks and they are actually some are red in colour so it creates a whole different contrast to the trees also there’s vines hanging from forest canopy and you don’t even know where they’ve come from but it kind of feels like Tarzan I’m half tempted to grab hold of a vine and start swinging through the jungle here but I know there’s a lot of native birds around that won’t appreciate it. So I refrain myself.
Warble warble warble.
The hike goes through a lot of native bush and beautiful native forest a lot of ferns along the way and massive amount of vines I have not seen a forest with that much vines in New Zealand so far they have vines basically just circling every tree and just taking over it looks like an alien infestation that just takes the forest and just grabs every single tree in a very slow motion and is going to pull them down to earth with them and take over the planet. Halfway through the track we see this huge metal sculpture of a Maori warrior it looks so cool in this setting right in the middle of the forest yeah it’s pretty and from this section we have either to continue on the loop walk or to take a detour to a mud slip lookout. that’s what I call a slip! That’s a gigantic slip.
What have you found there, Robin? I found a kohia which is New Zealand passion fruit you can’t eat it like a normal passion fruit but you can use it to make an oil that is great for massage. Just the whole forest just looks so cool. Robin’s running ahead jumping through vines jumping into tree trunks sort of playing with all the leaves. There is all those vines and those trees and some trees are older than others and I just stumble upon a beautiful but very very old tree it’s that old that’s it’s completely hollow inside.
Oh it’s spacious. Oh is it? It’s actually pretty spacious so Laura is going to be sleeping here just with all the little friends right here. That’s a lookout of the Manawatu River and the small rapids that you can see all the way at the bottom are the white horse rapids which are pretty fun to raft especially in summer. Walking down, this forest is pretty amazing right let’s make it clear, I really embrace the wilderness of it and I really embrace the mystical feel that the while forest has it’s a very unique feeling in this forest and the whole Maori history of it adds another layer of mystery.
These palm trees here they are very slow growing it takes 40 to 50 years to begin from a trunk and about 200 years to reach 10 metres tall. 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 36, 37, 39, 38 oo very old. We make our way back down we’re going back to the beginning of the loop where we take that really nice stream boardwalk back to the car park and back along the highway and do the last leg of our trip today from the Manawatu Gorge up to Makoura Lodge where we’re going to be spending a couple of days then at one point we have to take left and we turn left and that’s when things get a little crazy there is one thing that you absolutely need to know and we talked a lot about that before, please don’t trust your GPS when you go to remote places in New Zealand they just get you the shortest route which is usually yes the shortest in kilometres but much more treacherous to drive so much longer in time and quite often pretty dangerous.
Boom. You know who we sound like? We sound like the Mythbusters. Alright Jamie, I’m Adam.