High Peaks Farm Stay: Mangamahu, North Island New Zealand, Part #2

"We're going skyward" said Stuart, quad bike driver and owner of High Peaks Farm Stay.

This B & B is full of surprises, perched high in the hills of Mangamahu on the North Island of New Zealand, about 45 minutes drive from Whanganui.

This is the second post about the surprise landscape views Ben and I experienced at High Peaks Farm Stay. To see an introduction to the cottage and gardens, please check out Part 1.

My husband Ben and I were greeted shortly after arriving at the house by hosts Michelle and Stuart, from the back of their quad bike. I had let them know when I booked that I'm a photographer and was keen to explore their property. I had seen photos of a mountainous view on their website, where they wrote "Your host is happy to provide you with a farm tour or a ride to the tops of the high hills to enjoy the spectacular views.". Yes please!

Having safely packed the wine and dinner supplies in the kitchen, we piled on jackets, grabbed the tripod and camera bag, and braced ourselves for the ride of a lifetime. Stuart nonchalantly drove us up the dirt track cut into the hills. We passed intrepid sheep clinging to the steep sides, wild deer prancing in the amber glow of the afternoon light and beautiful poplars planted by Stuart's father decades ago.

The four wheel quad bike seemed to know the way to the very highest point of the property, accelerating over muddy patches and up crests into seeming oblivion. When we thought we couldn't go up any more, Stuart turned up a tight hair pin bend towards the sky.

When we finally pulled to a stop next to a fence line, the splendour that unfolded below was breathtaking. Mountains rolled as far as the eye could see. Their valleys starkly defined, full of evening shadows. And perching proudly in the middle, in snow draped glory was Mount Ruapehu. At 2,797 metres, Ruapehu is the largest active volcano in New Zealand, is the highest point on the North Island.

We spent time taking it all in, both in our memories and on film. Stuart and Michelle then showed us where they are building a hut for visitors to stay in, also on the ridge line. We admitted we'd be the first to book as the views were spectacular, especially from the open air bathroom! This would be perfect for couples on their honeymoon.

When we returned to earth, Michelle asked if we'd like to go up again in the morning? Yes please! The pick up time started at 9:00am (we were on holiday after all!), then with some negotiation ended at 5:00am to witness the sunrise from the top. We were so glad we did. Having travelled around this globe a fair bit, this was for me still such an incredible experience. To be so high in the mountains, so isolated in a place that not many people get to visit, was what made it special for me. We shared hot cross buns and hot coffee, waiting for the sun to peek above the horizon. Once risen, we jolted our way back down the mountain.

After breakfast we packed up and left High Peaks Farm Stay for our next adventure.

When I'm not on holiday with my husband, I photograph weddings and families exploring the great outdoors, in the Wairarapa.

When I'm not on holiday with my husband, I photograph weddings and families exploring the great outdoors, in the Wairarapa.

Lots of love, Sarah x

#adventure #honeymoon #sunrise #HighPeaksFarmStay

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