Rotokawau aka Virginia Lake

Being new to Whanganui I was wondering why this 4.5 hectare public space was more commonly known as Virginia Lake and not by its Maori name of Rotokawau. The answer to which I found in very small print on a rather large plaque hidden in a corner of the front entrance of the neighbouring Winter Garden.

Unfortunately the land was purchased for development by white settlers in the mid 1800’s. The Māori legend of the lakes origin can be found written on the plaque beneath a bronze sculpture of the beautiful Tainui.

The legend explains that the lake was formed from the tears of the grief stricken Tainui and the rain from the angry gods over the murder of Turere, Tainui’s love. Turere had been strangled by the jealous suitor Ranginui. Notice her tears as she gazes out towards the lake.

Rotokawau means ‘roto’ – Lake and ‘kawau’ – blag shag

Walking around the lake, the kids disappeared down a bamboo bush tunnel. Waiting at the end of the track I could hear a weird rather loud chattering. It sounded almost aggressive. I looked across the lake but couldn’t see the cause. The kids soon gathered around me and joined in the search for the sounds source. Then we looked up, and there in the trees were several nests with kawau fledglings. We watched as they continued their persistent squawks, calling out to their parents.

The lake offers a rich habitat for many bird species. Take your time and open your eyes

The rather large metal lily fountain sculpture was donated in 1970 by Mr Henry Higginbottom, a local philanthropist.

Don’t forget to spot the rather odd Peter Pan sculpture, who my kids found quite entertaining as it looked like he was peeing, complete with a puddle beneath him.

virginia lake rotokawau whanganui wanganui nz metal bronze peter pan sculpture

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Whanganui Winter Gardens

Wondering what to do while visiting Whanganui? The Winter Gardens offers an all year round colourful display of flora amongst sculptures and garden art.

Built in the 1940’2, the Winter Gardens were built to commemorate the Centenary of New Zealand.

A walk in aviary was developed over the 1960’s and 70’s. Birds to be observed include pheasants, parakeets, finch and rosellas, and of course, what aviary would be complete without a couple of talking cockatoos.

Local artist have contributed to the sculptural garden next door. Exhibited pieces include punga carvings, mosaics and glass works.

More art can be found by continuing your journey to Lake Rotokawau (Virginia Lake), a half hour woodland walk. You can join in with the leap frogging children created by sculptor Hamish Horsley.

 

Tairua Wet n Wild

 

Tairua is host to the Wet n Wild event that runs over a summer weekend. It is an action packed couple of days with plenty to see and do! Tairua is a perfect location for such events as it has a great surf beach for those ocean flips and sprays, and a harbour which on full tide, hosts the jet ski races. These include circuit races, a  slalom track and a public novice track for anyone keen to give it a go!

-unfortunately Tairua Wet n Wild is not running in 2016

There is even flyboard demonstrations!

The weekend is action packed with a good ol Kiwi water slide, and those brave enough can jump off the bridge scaffolding and onto the giant inflatable blobby! Fun for the spectators! I was continually laughing at the children being flung into the air, and the water sliders water entry attempts ; ) An awesome weekend!

NZ Jetski on Facebook

The Coromandel

NZ Jetski WetnWild

This post includes photos from last years event.

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions pop in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

at 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

Find them on Facebook too!

https://www.facebook.com/tairuainfocentre

Mill Creek Bird and Animal Encounters

Mill Creek Bird and Animal Encounters, also known as Mill Creek Bird Park, is located 10min South of Whitianga, towards Tairua. There is signage on State Highway 25,  leading you to a dirt road and onto their driveway, lined with mini train tracks ; )

Mill creek bird and animal garden

As you wander the grounds you will find a range of animals for the kids to feed, from donkeys to eels, from to turtles to geese. There is over 400 birds housed in 45 aviaries ranging from tiny finches to huge Macaws.

They have been operating a  Bird & Animal Rescue Centre for the past 3 years, and have DOC authority to hold injured protected wildlife in captivity, so you may get the to opportunity to see New Zealand native birds such as the Ruru (Morepork) or the Kereru (Wood pigeon) up close!

There’s plenty to keep the kids occupied, with mini train rides, a playground and a mini putt. Mum and Dad can relax at the Station Café.

There is even accommodation to suit, whether it’s a campervan park, a self contained unit or B’n’B you need, they can provide it. They will even allow your dog or bird to stay with you at the campground! (prior arrangement)

 

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions pop in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

Find them on Facebook too!

https://www.facebook.com/tairuainfocentre

Whiti Farm Park Fun!

Whiti Farm Park is located along State Highway 25, between Tairua and Whitianga.

You can’t miss it! Its so decorative and creative, capturing the imagination and excitement all of children and adults that venture through the gates! Many of the structures have been created using recycled pieces and have been built by hand with a lot of love and passion. It is definitely worth a look! Bring a picnic and stay for the day.

Whiti Farm Park is magical playground, with a ship to explore, toadstool tables and a giant trampoline! There so much to keep children of all ages entertained….

….and then there’s the animals!

Buy your kids a bag of animal feed at the office and away they go! It’s obvious how much these animals are loved. Their enclosures are clean and well kept, and the animals all looked very healthy and happy. I would definitely recommend this to anyone!

whiti farm park finger bitten emu

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions pop in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

Find them on Facebook too!

https://www.facebook.com/tairuainfocentre

Golden Hills Battery

 

The Golden Hills Battery  is a short walk which is great for kids, and prams as there aren’t any stairs! It can be a very educational walk as it takes you past two mining tunnels, one with the trolley tracks coming out of it. Unlike other tunnels in these hills, these ones are either unsafe or are still in use, so are closed off to the public. The history of this area is amazing, and the ruins help piece it all together. In 1908 the Golden Hills mine was producing gold on a large scale. By 1910 the stamper battery was built across the river from the mine. Unfortunately production lasted only 3 years.

At the end of the track are the battery ruins. What remains are the concrete foundations with support wires embedded, and huge concrete arches that once supported large cyanide vats.

 

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions and walks

call in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

Find them on Facebook too!

https://www.facebook.com/tairuainfocentre

Gem of the Boom Creek

So back up Puketui Valley Rd Doug and I went! Today we were just after a short walk, after my epic 14km walk completing in the Surf 2 Firth ; )

6.5km in from the main Highway 25 is the Bridge Carpark. I walked back along the dirt road until I got to the bush entrance (the opposite direction of the white bridge). The Broken Hills  Gem of the Boom track is an easy walk of 20min. It’s really fun for adults as it gives a couple of good opportunities to scare the bejezzes outta the kids!

Take the lower path…

puketui valley broken hills walking track coromandel nz

which leads to a bridge…

puketui valley broken hills walking track coromandel nz gold mining glow worms

and onto the first tunnel, where you can see cave weta. The track is easily followed by locating the orange triangles. The old type are equilateral triangles which are just nailed to a tree, while the new type are more pointed and actually indicate the direction of the track! Much better! Thanks DOC.

Further along you will come across another cave. Now this one is pretty deep. It goes in an L shape, so if you can get ahead of your party and hide, it makes for a good heart attack ; )

It also has a few glow worms. What I like about this cave is that the worms are low down, so you can easily show children the droplet chains that these creatures create to trap bugs, which are attached to the glow worms glow!

More on glowworms

The damp walls glistening with what is probably insect poop, looks like silver and gold!  Very magical ; )

Then, not much further along is the dug out jail cave, where lies a naughty miner!

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions and walks

call in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

Find them on Facebook too!