Palmerston North & Taupo
The last two days of holiday were a lot more relaxed than the first two, and unlike most of my other holiday’s in the past there were no set plans from here on-wards. First up on Monday morning was to the Woodville information centre on the other side of the Manawatu Gorge to see if we can collect a kiwi ranger badge for Robin, who had completed the required tasks from the booklet several days earlier.
I had phoned the Woodville information centre yesterday during the air show to confirm that they had the kiwi ranger badges after the lack of knowledge of the Kiwi Ranger scheme back at the Palmerston North Information Centre several days before. Andd I was told the Woodville Information centre did have the badges which was great news.
So we headed out, drove through the Manawatu Gorge itself – only a 20 minute drive from Palmerston North, but then the lady in the information centre said they no longer did the Kiwi Ranger programme and that there were no more badges. Robin was quite upset and I was annoyed as this was a big part of the planned holiday, fun for Robin while learning about our birds and wildlife and it was not going well. The lady tried to get hold of the person who I spoke to on the phone yesterday to find out why they thought there were still some kiwi ranger badges around – plus she did lots of looking around, under the counter & out the back but she couldn’t any.
We waited around 15 minutes while she kindly but unsuccessfully tried to find them. Eventually a second staff member arrived at work, and luckily knew exactly where the kiwi ranger badges were!!
Robin was so excited to receive his second kiwi ranger badge; he now has the Tiri badge with the saddleback on it and now the Manawatu Gorge badge with the kereru on it.
After all that drama we drove back through the gorge and visited the Palmerston North Museum – and boy was I surprised – it was excellent.
Very modern with lots of old stuff for me to look at, lots of great displays for the kids to play with and get hands on with their learning, plus it was all free. We spent several hours exploring the history of the area and this great section on water which covered the Manawatu River including a great pretend cave where it was Robin who finally found the cave Weta’s in a real display. Normally it’s Julianne that spot’s the wildlife, looks like Robin is becoming a real kiwi ranger if he can beat her at spotting things.
We then drove to nearby Fielding where I headed off into a Stage Coach museum - which was better than I thought it was going to be and it was huge. I am not really into stage coaches but it also covered a huge number of other things such John Deere tractors, an agriculture section and of course the history section which was my favourite. There is also a large number of historic games the boys could play, so while I explored, Julianne was reading in the car and the boys were entertained.
On leaving Fielding we drove to Mangaweka to have an afternoon tea at the real DC3 plane café as I thought the boys would enjoy exploring a real airplane parked on the side of the road, and to be honest they really didn’t care – they were more interested in the toy helicopter ride out the front – oh well.
Then onto Tony’s Lodge nestled beside Lake Taupo, about 30 minutes south of Taupo itself. I wanted somewhere quiet to spend the last night. Shortly after arriving I headed down a short walk to the beach – and jumped into the water – and it was so nice. 22 degrees and of course being a lake was fresh water plus there was no-one else around as it was 6-30pm at this point.
Even Robin got himself into the water. I had a swim around out to several trees that were growing out of the water which was strange. I then had fun playing with the boys in the water before we all headed back to the B&B for dinner.
The following morning was again taken easy, with a nice cooked breakfast from our hosts. We headed out to Opepe, on the Napier-Taupo Road for a 10 minute walk through the bush to a tiny cemetery containing five graves. Two of the graves are war graves, containing the bodies of nine members of the Bay of Plenty Cavalry who were killed in a surprise attack by Te Kooti's advance guard on June 7th 1869. Surprising where you find bits of NZ’s history when you look for it.
We then drove to the Taupo museum, which was OK – not really that special – through there was the Ora Garden which won a gold medal at Chelsea Flower show back in 2004 which I remember being in the news at the time – and it was a very peaceful and lovely place to visit.
We then drove up to the Huka Falls for the boys to visit, and for us to have lunch before heading back home.
It’s been a great 4 days away, seeing bits of New Zealand and of course fighter jets & helicopters!