Off the Beaten Track to... Himatangi
The small coastal community at Himatangi has a population of about 600 which increases in the summer when visitors arrive to enjoy the long, sandy beaches and the coastal climate (more sunshine, less rain and higher temperatures). Vehicle access is permitted along the beach, so if you prefer a quieter beach to stroll along, visit during the week when the locals are away.
The coastline was once a seasonal gathering place for local Maori who caught fish and shellfish there. Leaving the shells in piles called middens, they inadvertently created an archeological record of what the area once looked like. The oldest known middens can be found near a series of lagoons 4 kilometres inland, indicating where the beach line was 500 years ago.
The sand dunes of Himatangi beach are the largest in New Zealand at approximately 20 kilometres wide and they are getting wider due to strong currents and westerly winds driving the sand seawards (to the west). Once stabilised by native grasses and vegetation, these disappeared when the early settlers began to graze them in the 1850s and the sand still causes problems for buildings today.
Activities for you to enjoy Himatangi Beach include:
- Hiking, walking, strolling or sleeping
- Fishing and whitebaiting (in the whitebaiting stream)
- Beach volleyball, tennis, outdoor skating rink, mini golf and bowling
- Surfing and swimming
- Camping and campervans (at a quiet, peaceful campsite)
Other Things to See and Do
- DeMolen Foxton Windmill - This full size operating windmill is an exact replica of a 17th century Dutch flour mill. The de Molen Dutch windmill is open to the public 7 days a week between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm allowing visitors to experience a little of the Netherlands. Tours of the upper levels and working parts of the mill are conducted. The gift shop sells a range of flour, imported Dutch cakes, biscuit and sweets.
- Hyderabad Shipwreck - Maritime historians can view the remains of the Hyderabad in the sand dunes of Waitarere beach where she was driven ashore on 24th June 1878. A full square-rigged sailing ship, the Hyderabad was deliberately driven onto the beach following a severe storm by the Captain who hoped to give the crew and passengers a better chance of survival. No lives were lost. Find out more about the ship's history.
- Manawatu offers great hiking opportunities and has some of the world's largest trout in its rivers. White water rafting, kayaking and jet boating through the Manawatu Gorge are great drawcards for thrill seekers.
To help plan your Manawatu holiday choose from the main categories below: