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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 6 (October 1, 1928)

Towards Napier

Towards Napier.

The following morning we set out on our way once more, this time for Napier. Dinner was partaken of at Wairoa, and our regret was that we had not more time to see the places of interest there. The business part of Wairoa faces the broad river of the same name. Twenty-five miles along the coast (northwards) is the deep water port of Waikokopu. Wairoa had high hopes of becoming a seaport and spent much money to bring it about, but to no purpose. The Public Works Department, page 43 therefore, made a branch railway along the beach to the nearest place where a harbour could be formed, with depth of water to suit ocean-going steamers. From Wairoa a road runs to Waikaremoana, a favourite tourist resort, and the site of a great hydro-electric scheme now under construction by the Public Works Department.

At a number of points the operations of railway builders indicated the route of the East Coast railway between Gisborne and Napier. Steam navvies were seen eating into cuttings, and busy locomotives with their rakes of small wagons deposited the spoil from the navvies into adjacent gullies. Much remains to be done, however, before the “iron horse” gallops between the two cities above mentioned. A stop is made at the small township of Waikare for afternoon tea, and then the last stage of our journey is attempted. For some distance the road skirts the shores of Lake Tutira. Mr. Guthrie Smith, the owner of the surrounding property, with the laudable desire to preserve our native birds, refuses to allow shooting of native game. He deserves much credit for his efforts in this direction. Soon the road approaches the sea coast, and away across the bay, in the golden sunlight of the afternoon, the city of Napier can be plainly seen in the distance. Passing through Petane (which is the Maori way of saying Bethany) the roadway improves and permits of smoother running.
One Of The Most Beautiful Drives In New Zealand. The Opotiki-Gisborne Road through the Motu Bush. (Photo, A. P. Godber.)

One Of The Most Beautiful Drives In New Zealand.
The Opotiki-Gisborne Road through the Motu Bush.
(Photo, A. P. Godber.)

The railway extension northwards from Napier reaches as far as Eskdale, some twelve miles. The Public Works Department runs a construction train for several miles further on. These services are of benefit in bringing goods for the adjacent farmers.

The difference between car and train travelling is vividly in evidence as we take our seats for the short run to Hastings. True the service car attendants are courteous and polite, but no motor car runs as smoothly as the railway train, and we settle back comfortably in our seat and say: “Well, after all you can't beat the railways.”

(The journey by rail from Hastings to Wellington is too well known to readers of the Magazine for description of it here. The traveller, however, has the choice of two routes, one via the Wairarapa, Rimutaka Incline and the Hutt Valley, and the alternative route via the Manawatu Gorge and the Manawatu district to the Capital City.)