Just outside Palmerston North there’s a quiet little town called Ashhurst, a popular spot for families since housing prices are more reasonable and it’s only about 10 to 15 minutes into Palmerston North by highway 3. What brought us there today though, was one of the most exciting sites Te Apiti Wind Farm. Situated just north of Manawatu Gorge, Te Apiti Wind Farm was the first 55+ gigantic wind turbines that are plugged into the national grid and the wind farm works non-stop because the wind is so strong, providing electricity for 45,000 homes every year. This is the largest wind farm in the southern hemisphere.
It only took us 30 minutes to drive from Massey and through the windy mountain ridge. New Zealand is so green and even though Palmerston North is considered one of the lesser scenic areas in the country, it was still stunning. Along the way, we saw so many farms with sheep (and cute little lamb), cows and just so many varieties of trees and the mountains were just so beautiful. Michael and I have always been so fascinated by the wind turbines and I know someday when we have our dome house built, there will be a wind turbine next to it. To us, it is ridiculous that the world still runs on petroleum while you have so much natural energy to harvest, at a fraction of the costs.
As the sign says “Welcome to Natural Energy” and as we were approaching the viewing area, the wind turbines got bigger and bigger and boy, it was gigantic once we arrived at the bottom of one. We were thrilled and took a lot of pictures, the wind turbines are so quiet, it would have been perfect if we had the Nissan Leaf but unfortunately unlike most of the countries, New Zealand government isn’t going to give out any incentives and the communication package (GPS, remote control features) aren’t available either. The price tag is going to be almost double that in the US at around 60,000 NZD!
We had a wonderful visit and then went to Cafe Soskys for breakfast, their “Big Breakfast” which seems to be a must item on the morning menu at almost all the cafe in town, is delicious, and their coffee is also one of the best in town.