Foxton, with it's vast black sand beach was my party venue as a Palmerston North teenager. And the super cool thing was that you could drive all the way up the beach to Himatangi.
I have barely thought about Foxton since, but as a tour operator, a new cultural heritage centre has brought the small Horowhenua town back on my radar.
Te Awa Hou Nieuwe Stroom opened to a large multicultural crowd on 18 November 2017.
It houses the national Oranjehof Dutch museum along with the Piriharakeke Generation Inspiration Centre which tells the story of local Maori. The facility appropriately carries Foxton's original name 'Te Awahou', meaning 'the new stream' in its title, and a Dutch translation of the same.
Foxton is a great choice of location for New Zealand's national Dutch museum. For starters, Foxton has boasted a functioning replica 17th century Dutch flour mill in its main street since 2003 and the area has strong Dutch ancestry.
Officials and locals alike are hoping that the 8.5 million dollar Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom will help to breathe life back into a town that has seen busier days. The new venue certainly piqued my interest, and once Foxton got my attention I realised it has much more to offer.
Consequently Welcome Tours' upcoming Dutch-themed trip to Foxton will also include a visit to MAVtech (audio visual museum) housed in Foxton's historic movie theatre. Enthusiastic volunteers are opening the doors to us so that we can take an entertaining trip down memory lane.
The beautiful godwit sculptures at the turnoff to Foxton represent the Manawatu estuary's wonderful natural environment. The bird life is so impressive that the area has been recognised as a wetland of international importance by the United Nations. Ninety five species of bird having been identified there!
I am beginning to picture a second day trip to Foxton that includes a visit to the Manawatu estuary, the Piriharakeke Generation Inspiration Centre and the flax-stripping museum....
Sure, Foxton's not likely to outdo Queenstown for visitor numbers any time soon (and that's a good thing), but I do recommend you check Foxton out next time you are in the vicinity. Or even better join us on Friday 8 December for a fun day of discovery! Details are here.
Sue is the Director and Chief Explorer at Welcome Tours. Sue blogs about new discoveries and the things that matter to Welcome Tours.