Horowhenua Chronicle have put together some ideas for things to do in the area over the summer holidays, for all ages, active and non-active, including lots of free activities. Costs are shown (current as at December 12).
Go bird spotting along Sunset Walkway and walking alongside the RAMSAR site in Foxton Beach/Manawatu Estuary https://www.horowhenua.govt.nz/Places-Events/Parks-Reserves-Recreation/Hartley-St-ReserveSunset-WalkwayManawatu-Estuary-Foxton-Beach
The Department of Conversation has a great resource for families exploring the area including some challenges to do, suitable for young and old. https://www.doc.govt.nz/globalassets/documents/parks-and-recreation/places-to-visit/kiwi-guardians/manawatu-estuary-adventure-map.pdf
Hunt for fairy doors on the base of trees in Holben Park Reserve, Foxton Beach. The fairy doors open so children (and the young at heart) can leave them little gifts like a painted rock, flower or note https://www.facebook.com/enchantedlifenz/
Go fruit picking – Noho Blueberry Farm, Levin; Lewis Farms for strawberries in Levin, Waikawa blueberries, Penray Gardens in Otaki for a variety of fruit and vegetables (cost depends on what you pick.)
Discover the many parks and reserves in the district. How many can you visit in one day? Pack up a picnic and get outdoors. https://www.horowhenua.govt.nz/Places-Events/Parks-Reserves-Recreation
Make up your own scavenger hunt to do on foot, on bikes or in the car. Get members of your family or friends together and make up cards of things to find on your route. Divide into teams and get looking, taking photos on your mobiles when you have found the item.
Some ideas include:
•A commemorative plaque
•A historic building
•Something for sale outside a home, like fruit
•A pink flower
•A recycling bin
•A yellow car for sale
Make a sandman. We may not get snow here but there is plenty of sand. Take a carrot nose and a hat and make yourself a sand man on the beach. Seaweed makes great hair and shells are good eyes.
Make a den on the beach. Some families get very creative making chairs and tables from driftwood.
GET IN THE WATER
Try out the new aqua park at Off the Loop wake park in Foxton ($13-16 for 50 minutes) for over 5s, competent swimmers only. Other activities available include wake boarding, riding a biscuit, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking and water polo. http://www.offtheloop.nz/?fbclid=IwAR3OvxlDxF4vu8ndKdaqjuaMhheQa9vBdoeMbzqLu_ACY2x8xEs2MyXaHyc
Take the kids to Inflatable Invasion at Levin Aquatic Centre, every day during the school holidays 1-4pm ($15.50 for a family pass)
Shannon School pool and Foxton pools are also open throughout the summer.
Visit a swimming hole – check out the Horizons Regional Council safe swim spots https://www.horizons.govt.nz/managing-natural-resources/swimming/safe-swim-spots-map
Try any land or aqua based fitness class at Levin Aquatic Centre and Foxton Pools for just $1 from January 11-16, 2021. https://aquatics.horowhenua.govt.nz/Fitness-Classes
MAINLY FOR KIDS
Visit the Toy Circus in Shannon – a toy museum with retro toys from the 70s and 80s including one of the largest collections of Star Wars toys. Foam pit and roller blading, scooter/BMX ramps, mini golf and Nerf battle area. open every day, 10am-5pm (just closed Christmas day.) Entry charges covering all of the activities: children $19, (wet days $9), adults accompanying children $14, unsupervising adults $19.
DISCOVER OUR HISTORY
Visit the museums in the area.
Foxton has the only Flax Stripping Museum in the country at the Riverside Cultural Park. It is hard to imagine that the riverbank in Foxton (the Loop) was once home to a thriving flax industry from the 1880s. Here you can find a rare flax mill in operation.
At Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom you will find several attractions https://www.teawahou.com/Plan-Your-Visit/Te-Awahou-Riverside-Cultural-Park-Information/Admissions-Hours
Visit the Piriharakeke Generation Inspiration Centre where you can immerse yourself in Ngāti Raukawa history, reo and taonga through digital displays, soundscapes and art.
Learn more about the history of the Dutch arriving in New Zealand at Oranjehof – the Dutch Connection Centre also housed at Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom. Here you can hear Dutch radio, play traditional games, dress up or site on a Dutch bicycle for a selfie. See Dutch art and experience a Dutch Stellingmolen, the De Molen windmill, built to a 17th century design and one of the very few places in the world outside the Netherlands you can see one.
A unique heritage exhibition can be enjoyed at Whare Manaaki Māori Gallery and Workshop next to the Flax Stripping Museum at the Riverside Cultural Park. This space showcases local Māori artists.
Foxton is also home to MAVTECH – the national museum of audio-visual arts and sciences. Housed in the old Town Hall which was used as an old picture theatre, exhibits cover over 100 years of film, radio and sound. It is the only publicly accessible cinema in New Zealand that can show film with traditional carbon-arc projectors, (1938 model Peerless projectors).
Shannon Railway Station Museum and Visitor Centre gives a unique insight into the history of this once thriving town mostly involved with flax milling and dam building at Mangahou. The station is one of only three remaining Vogel class railway stations. It is the only one left built by the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company. Built in 1893, it was a busy staffed freight station until the 1970s. https://www.museumsaotearoa.org.nz/museums-directory/22899/details
Entry is free to all these museums and galleries. Donations are welcome.
Shannon Christmas Carnival, Shannon Domain Sunday, December 20, 10am-2pm
Foxton Forgotten Fauna Tours Monday, Friday 11am and 3pm by
Foxton Wildlife Trust, South Main St, Foxton ($2) To learn about some of our forgotten fauna (animals) of skinks, gecko and fish, the trust provide up close experiences of some of our more common New Zealand geckos and native fish on display. There are hands-on opportunities with exotic lizards so children can understand the impact that introduced species have on our native fauna and their habitats.
Enjoy some traditional Irish and Scottish music with duo Polytropos at the Tsunami Sound Stage, 100 Liverpool St, Levin, Friday, January 15, 7.30-9.30pm ($20 door sales.) Their debut album was recorded over two days at the Levin studios. https://www.polytroposmusic.com/upcoming-events
Foxton Beach New Year Fair
The annual Foxton Beach New Year Fair, organised by the Water and Environmental Care Association, promises to be bigger and better than ever for 2021.
Held at the Dawick Street Reserve on Seabury Ave in Foxton Beach, the event is free. There will be food stalls, craft stalls, kids rides, paintball, stalls that sell clothing, fruit, vege and plants plus a arrangement of local organisations and producers promoting or selling their wares or services. The fair is WECA's annual fundraiser. It is open from 9am to 3pm on January 2. New stall holders are welcome. Inquire with Mike 021 1858057 or Christine 367 9891.
Waitarere Beach Big Dig
The Big Dig will be held again on Saturday, January 2 from 2pm at Waitarere Beach. Tickets will be $4 each for both adults and children and will be on sale from 9am on the beach at the tent just south of the main entrance.
Business Community of Levin, and friends and family of the band have donated 300 prizes, with a total value of over $7000.
Top child's pit prize is a watch and top adult's pit prizes are donated watches, with many vouchers with a face value of between $50 and $100.
This annual event has been going for 36 years now. The first Waitarere Beach Big Dig was held on Boxing Day 1985 and has been held each January 2 for over 30 years. Band president Chris Craddock will be used to purchase new instruments for its expanding Youth Education Programme.
Further information please contact band president Chris Craddock on 027 410 2420.
Harness Racing and trots in Ōtaki
Kāpiti Coast Harness Racing Club and Ōtaki Māori Racing Club join forces The Kāpiti Coast Harness Racing Club holds its annual harness race meeting with a difference at the Ōtaki Māori Race course on Monday, January 4, 2021 in conjunction with the Ōtaki Māori Racing Club as a 'dual Code' race meeting. This is the first time this has occurred in over two decades. Gates open 10am, first race held at 11am.
It is anticipated that there will be a minimum of four harness races on the programme, with a potential eight galloping races to follow. Possibly a total of 12 races on a fun-filled day of excitement.
This will be the only harness racing to take place in the Wellington Region this season. North Island GRASS track harness racing at its very best on a wonderful sole of grass. After an extensive grass resewing programme and track drainage work undertaken by the Ōtaki Māori Racing Club in recent years.
The feature harness race is the $12,000 Ōtaki Cup for the highest graded pacers, with a mobile start over 2700 metres. Again this year featuring locally owned horse The Kāpiti Express, a syndicated horse raced by many members and supporters of the Kāpiti Coast Harness Racing Club. The Kāpiti Express finished 3rd in the race last season and hopes to finish 'two better' this January.
There will be plenty of free activities for the children, including a bouncy castle, face painting, drawing competition, fun run events, treasure hunts, lolly scramble, pony rides and much more.
Harness club president Chris Craddock said he was delighted that the Kāpiti Coast Harness Racing Club and the Ōtaki Māori Racing Club were combining to host this dual code race meeting on the Ōtaki track.
"The Kāpiti Coast community was getting the best of 'both worlds' with both harness and galloping races featuring on the day," he said.