While bigger adventures are off the menu for now, we did manage to fit in a weekend adventure this hot late summer weekend. We loaded up the four-wheel drive (4wd) truck and headed north to Palmerston North on Friday after school finished. On Saturday we met up with a group of adventurers and made our way north of Ashurst into the Ruahine Ranges. The track began in farmland, climbed up into native bush then higher still onto the ridge at the top of the ranges. The views were amazing, you could see for miles in all directions.
After lunch we headed back down the range and back to Ashurst where the trucks and the kids had a play in the Pohangina river. The landscape in the area is dominated by the Manawatu Wind Farm, in fact you can see them on the horizon even before you arrive in Palmerston North. Everywhere you looked to the north you could see hundreds of gracefully spinning wind turbines, it was an incredible sight.
After a play and BBQ in Ashurst Domain we headed off again north through the Manuawatu Gorge, then up into the North Range. This is wind turbine country. The road was winding, dry and dusty, taking us up through farmland to the top of the range then along the ridge, amongst the machines. It was amazing, it is hard to get a sense of the size and number of these turbines from the photos but they were huge. We got to the ridge just as the sun was setting and the light across the landscape was magical, softening these giants with a rosy glow. To say we were awestruck is an understatement! The road turned into a 4wd track which took us bumping in darkness down the valley to join up with another service road, then onto the road connecting Palmerston North with Paihiatua in the Wairarapa.
What an adventure! The highlights for the kids were the river crossings, the swimming and the getting to stay up late. For me, it was experiencing the freedom of exploring hard-to-reach areas of our country and being in the landscape of the wind giants at sunset. What a perfect adventure to round off the summer.