Mid September we resumed our Taranaki trip and set off for Hawera after a night at Waverley Beach. Stopped two nights at the NZMCA park in Hawera and spent a whole day at the Tawhiti Museum – a place I have had on my ‘wish list’ to see for a few years. We were just amazed at the meticulous models depicting scenes of the early Maori Wars in the region, and other display halls of pioneering life, muskets, early trading, history of the ‘forgotten highway’ rail line to Taumarunui, vintage tractors and machinery and so it went on and on. Neville is not one for visiting museums at all…but even he found it all very interesting and enjoyed the day out. We probably only managed to read about 60% of all the reading material on display too.
There are two parts to the area and a separate Whalers & Traders exhibit takes you into a darkened building where you are taken on a boat ride past life-size scenes of those murky and dangerous times. This area was built in collaboration with Weta Workshops and it is certainly worth paying the extra $15 to see it too.
An amazing place to visit if you are passing that way – hard to believe the models and concept is mostly all the work of one man.
From Hawera we headed to New Plymouth ‘around the mountain’ via Opunaki and Oakura. We spent a couple of nights overlooking the sea and beside the river near the Rewa Rewa Bridge. This is on the cycleway/walking track that runs from the New Plymouth Harbour to Bell Block. The bridge is designed to depict whale bones and from the north side, frames Mt Egmont perfectly. (Sorry…I was born and bred in Stratford and I will never get used to calling it Mt Taranaki).
After an obligatory ‘drive past’ my parent’s old house in New Plymouth we headed back to Stratford and spent the night in a carpark outside Victoria Park (where I used to feed the ducks when I was just a ‘nipper’). Stratford hasn’t changed much…it rained all night!
From there we hit the road back to Feilding to do some family visiting and thence back to Waikanae for another visit to our dentist.
One good thing, there are quite a few freedom parking spots around Waikanae Beach – 24 hour limit but there are enough of them to hop from one to another when we stay there for a number of days.