We are living on a plateau elevated about 20 m above the river. Our plateau is the highest of three terraces. All three terraces are based old alluvial flood plains, where the river has cut down into the landscape, thus flooding is not an issue.
The bottom terrace has moderately fertile silt loam soils. The top two terraces have very free-draining sandy loam soils of rhyolitic volcanic ash, which is of moderate fertility, however where the old flood terrace is close to the surface, this leads to perched water tables in the winter. These can be drained relatively easily, and the impermeable layer makes pond building easy. Surrounding our flats are mudstone hills which are broken, and moderate to very steep in nature. The steeper valleys are covered in old-growth kanuka.
We have a moderate size river on our boundary (the Mangapoike river), and two streams that flow through the property. One dries up in a drought; the other has never been know to dry, but in times of drought runs at a greatly reduced flow.
There are several ephemeral springs, one of which we use for drinking water most of the time. However, we will need to rely on water storage for water use through dry summers.