One day we drove a winding road to Otaki Forks, the western gateway to the Tararua Forest Park, where we hoped not to meet a passing car on the narrow, steep drive. The gorge descended sharply from the road and recent slips were evident on the landscape. We felt in awe of the scenery, and the depth of the varying shades of green in the bush, against the straw coloured agricultural land. We parked up at a lovely picnic spot by the river and walked ‘The Arcus Loop‘. Sophie really strode out and was such an enthusiastic leader on the walk. Poor Charlotte, suffering from hay-fever, was less than delighted with having a few fields of pollen loaded grasses at her head height to walk through. Alice was a happy participant (but then she was carried a large distance – only because she’d take all day if we had let her, what with foxglove finger puppets and all!). But when we did let Alice down she sure showed us how to move… especially down hill! She ran at quite a pace – dragging her Daddy and Granddad along with her, hee, hee! After a beautiful walk we enjoyed a while by the river skipping stones and making big splashes…The fresh air and exercise eventually drove us away from the scenic beauty to nourish ourselves with a late lunch at the superb ‘Brown Sugar Cafe‘; where it’s easy to enjoy a coffee and cake whilst the children run around the beautiful garden setting. Our girls made up their own languages on the chalk boards, played tag and fairies, and Alice role played stories with the toy dolls.
We visited Lindale Park to sample Kapiti cheese and ice-cream and had a delightful time visiting the little petting farm there. The girls all loved feeding and petting the animals. Across the other side of the state highway, from Lindale Park, we stopped to meander around the stunning Nikau Palm Reserve and admire Keruru sitting colourfully and plumptiously in the trees. It was wonderful to revisit this magical place, having visited over Easter 2011 (which I wrote about in ‘A visit to a Nikau Reserve‘).
Loco Miniature Railway & Gardens
We revisited the wonderful Loco Miniature Railway and Gardens, which we’d so enjoyed in Easter 2011. We played cricket, chilled in hammocks under a walnut tree, met the hens and the guinea pigs (on the kind introduction of the owner’s youngest daughter) and, of course, marvelled at the miniature railway.
Nga Manu Nature Reserve
We walked through the beautiful Nga Manu Nature Reserve in Waikanae, admiring the native birds in the walk-in avaries… and catching our breath at the scenic surrounds of the reserve and the rich mixture of flora, with the call of native birds following our every step.