Roadside Signpost Near Ashhurst New Zealand

I shot this roadside photo a few months back on a digital camera. This signpost is on State Highway 3 between Ashhurst and Woodville not far from the Ashhurst entrance to the Manawatu Gorge. Ashhurst (pop 3500) is a small rural township nestled under at the southern end of the Ruahine ranges and is the gateway to the fertile Pohangina Valley.

Note the windmills in the background, part of the Te Apiti Windfarm which supplies energy for about 45,000 homes from around 55 wind turbines.

Roadside signpost between Ashhurst and Woodville. State Highway 3. Southern end of the Manawatu river


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Ngawapurua Bridge Pahiatua to Woodville Road, New Zealand

For the last 3 years or more I have driven, once a week, the 35 minutes each way from Palmerston North to Pahiatua. Pahiatua (pop 2500) is a small sleepy town halfway between Woodville and Masterton. The road passes through the Pahiatua township and is quite busy at times as it links the Tararua and Wairarapa districts together and is a main route (State Highway 2) to the capital, Wellington.

Ngawapurua Bridge between Pahiatua and Woodville

I took this photo in the late afternoon on a clear winter day in June I think. The light was lovely and I liked the view from the top of the hill overlooking the Manawatu River and Ngawapurua Bridges and surrounding farmland. The Ngawapurua Bridge which is around 6 miles north of Pahiatua was opened 6 April 1965 by Prime Minister Keith Holyoake. It replaced the old Ngawapurua Bridge, a combined road-rail bridge, which you can see on the right. If you are interested in the history of the old Ngawapurua bridge there is an interesting newspaper article from 1904 about who should foot the bill for its construction.


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Pohutukawa Flowers in the Manawatu Gorge Early Summer

If you are travelling New Zealand by car you are likely at some time or other to drive through the scenic Manawatu Gorge. "The Gorge" as it is called by locals is windy and slow going in some places. There is no passing permitted in either direction.

The slow trip through the Manawatu Gorge means there is plenty of time to appreciate the scenery. And luckily for us keen photographers there are lots of places along the way to pull over and take in some spectacular views of the Manawatu River.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Manawatu Gorge is at its best in early summer. At this time of year you will find as I did (photo taken December 2009) the odd pohutukawa tree flowering near the roadside verge. What a magnificent specimen this pohutukawa tree is with its bright red flowers perfectly offsetting the surrounding native bush.

Flowering Pohutukawa tree in the Manawatu Gorge, New Zealand
The Manawatu Gorge is home to lots of native birds too. I frequently see plump wood pigeons flying across the road near the Woodville entrance to the Gorge so watch out for these. The best time to catch these birds is early evening.

Amongst this wonderful scenery its hard to believe that trains have been running right through the heart of the Gorge since the late 1880s. Note the rail bridge in the background of the photoraph.

If you have time to spare there is also an excellent day hike - The Manawatu Gorge Track which passes through the Manawatu Scenic Reserve and affords great views of the Gorge.

The Manawatu Scenic Reserve is denoted by the letter "A" on the Google map. Closest towns to the Manawatu Gorge are Ashhurst and Woodville.


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