Te Apiti wind farm located on Saddle Road north of the Manawatu Gorge, 15 kms from the city of Palmerston North. Te Apiti is situated within 1,150 hectares of farmland owned by several landowners, including Meridian Energy. The Te Apiti wind farm is the first wind farm to supply electricity to New Zealand’s national grid. The Te Apiti wind farm is also a carbon offset project.
Te Apiti Windfarm: The Manawatu Gorge area is ideal for wind farms. The Tararua and Ruahine Ranges provide a barrier to the predominantly westerly winds that flow across New Zealand. Between the two ranges lies a lower range of hills that serve to funnel the wind.
Construction of Te Apiti began in November 2003. Major work was needed to construct 21 kilometres of roads and excavate the turbine foundations. The roads were constructed to 10 metres to carry the width of the 400-tonne crawler crane that was used to install the turbines and regrassed to 5 metres upon completion.
Te Apiti wind farm is the largest windfarm in the Southern Hemisphere. For something different, but quite awe inspiring, take a drive up the winding scenic Saddle Road to view the Te Apiti turbines up close and personal from the visitors carpark. Standing underneath one of these giant turbines gives you a true idea of how very big these turbines really are as one of the towering turbines 35m long blades roate in the wind above you. An added bonus is the spectacular views of Manawatu and bordering regions.
How to get to Te Apiti Wind farm:
From Palmerston North, turn off State Highway 3 at Ashhurst and follow the Saddle Road signs. The car park is open daily from 8.30am to 5pm and is clearly signposted from Saddle Road. The visitor car park may occasionally be closed to the public for maintenance.
Te Apiti Wind farm is located a 20 minute drive from Harringtons Motor Lodge and is listed as one of New Zealand’s 101 Must Do’s.