Ridge Top Farm, a 607ha sheep and beef farm, combines glamping with a Kiwi farm experience and has stunning views as far as Kapiti Island, Mt Taranaki and Mt Ruapehu. Horowhenua Chronicle reporter Ashleigh Collis and family spent a weekend there to take in the scenery.
The farmland softly tiered down to the cities and towns below.
Up here, with grassy shoes and wind-swept hair, I stopped and stood in wonder.
On my left I could see across to Palmerston North, the Tararua mountain range pointed to Kapiti Island perched in the ocean.
My host tells me that on a clearer day you can see Mount Taranaki and Ruapehu.
Arriving at Ridge Top Farm is simple if you follow the instructions on their website.
Make sure you write those down - cell phone reception can be patchy, even non-existent.
The 20-minute drive from SHI to get to the farm was an adventure in itself .
Winding country roads were edged in clouds, concealing the spectacular view building with our ascent.
We pulled into the driveway, my son, brother and me.
After a prompt introduction, our host jumps on her quad bike, pulling a trailer behind it.
She zoomed in front of us, leading the way down the farm's long airstrip, on to a field and into a small private valley.
Before giving us a run-down on the facilities, she unloaded dinner, dessert, marshmallows for the fire and breakfast for the morning. It looked positively delicious.
On the first night we lit the fire and downed the gooey marshmallows, finished off the prepared meal on the barbecue and slipped inbetween the cotton sheets.
In the morning I woke early to make a coffee, unzipping the tent I found myself enclosed in mist, it was so amazing and felt almost ethereal at first.
Our oasis was perched on a plain carved into the side of a hill, it looked out across panoramic views of Manawatu and a wetland of regenerating native bush.
The accommodation, a large tent/cabin hybrid, was a plush and relaxing environment.
It had been tastefully designed from the polished floors and soft beds to the vintage board games and pot belly stove in the corner, begging to be lit.
After a breakfast of free range eggs, croissants with jam, homemade muesli with yoghurt and the perfect coffee to wash it all down, we were ready for our 10k walk.
Off we went with a map in hand and a packed lunch of chicken wraps and chocolate brownies.
My son named the first section Field of Thorns as the thistles were thriving, blanketing the ground around us.
Down a muddy track, I was glad to have brought proper tramping shoes, but I had regretfully ignored the website's suggestion to bring walking poles, so we made some out of sticks, my son rightly informing me that "every great adventurer has a stick".
We passed through the gates, numbered to guide us, as every section provided beautiful scope for the imagination.
Towering old rimus stood alone in one paddock, a small swamp greeted us in another, a flock of turkeys ran wild, putting on a beautiful display and dropping feathers to be found and kept as mementos.
All the while, the stunning foreground scenery was trumped by surprising views of the city below. The winding corners opened up every time to an even more beautiful view than before.
While sheep darted back and forth around us, the odd wild goat could be spotted on an adjacent hill.
Rounding a corner, we saw a large bull standing only metres away and without a fence between us. Images of bullfighting flashed across my mind, but he was harmless.
We reached the top to find equipment and buildings that looked a century old, rusted, worn and utterly beautiful.
After a break for lunch and more than a moment taking in the views, we continued on. The last half of the walk was beautiful too, from ponds to insane vantage points and fluffy baby turkeys darting across our path.
I've been to farms before but never like Ridge Top.
It was a true North Island Kiwi farm experience that opened my eyes to the raw beauty and rough terrain of this high country.
Back at the campsite, I placed my feet in a foot bath while my brother watched the sunset, beer in hand, soaking in the outdoor bath.
Relaxed and full from another gourmet dinner, we were ready for bed, warmed by candle light and a glass of red wine.
With our shoes drying by the pot belly we drifted off to sleep, ready for whatever adventure tomorrow's walk would hold.
Ridge Top Farm has the perfect glamping farm walk experience on one of the most stunning of New Zealand sheep stations. Not only are the views spectacular, the catered meals amazing and the facilities extensive, but the farm walks opened my eyes to high country scenery I never knew existed.
This place invites you to wind down, walk life a little slower and open your mind.
Pack your tramping boots and yoga mats, grab a group of friends and head to the Ridge for this unforgettable two-day farm walk package.
For more information visit ridgetopfarmwalk.virb.com