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Published: February 20th 2023
First the cyclone, (still waiting for the water to go down)….and now an earthquake…what a country!
Hoorah the cyclone has passed….with lots of high winds and power cuts and closed roads but we were safely snuggled in our dodgy motel without power feeling very sorry for those people who were having to deal with landslides and damaged structures. We ventured out to find lots of trees down but we met a man who had driven across from Raetihi which is where we were heading and he confirmed that the road was open so off we went. So many trees down ….whole forests where the trees had been sliced off by the wind about 3 metres off the ground. The main Highway 4 is closed by a landslip just south of where we are staying so we are very lucky to be on this brilliant campsite with the best showers you have ever seen.
So the water level on the Whanganui is STILL too high to allow canoes on it so we have decided to wait with fingers crossed for the DOC (Department of Conservation) announcement on Thursday. The weather is still very windy and wet so it would probably
be quite miserable on the river.
We hired mountain bikes today to cycle the Old Coach road which was amazing. The recommended way to cycle it is one way (mostly down hill) but the road to the drop off point was impassable for the shuttle vehicle due to the cyclone so the man in the shop offered to upgrade us to electric mountain bikes for the same price so we would be able to cycle both ways. What an amazing thing! Neither of us had ever ridden an electric bike before let alone an electric mountain bike but it was like swimming with flippers on! The ground was so rough and so steep but we just zooooomed up everything and it was totally brilliant!
The Old Coach Road was built in 1905 to carry passengers by horse and coach over the top of a mountain between 2 railheads until the railway in between had been built. So by 1908 it was redundant and was reclaimed by the jungle/forest until recently when it was opened up as a cycle track. It honours the engineers and railway workers who performed feats of engineering miracles to build the line and the
cycle track visits not one but TWO curved viaducts that were built along the way. Humbling and amazing how they managed to construct these beautiful structures in the middle of nowhere,
WHAT A GREAT day and now we can see why Gwen and Mark and other friends are raving about electric bikes. We may just have to go for it when we get home but Pete may never be able to admit to it so please don't ask…..ever.
And the very same day, we were standing in the kitchen of our campsite when an almighty rumbling happened. Pete had just opened the fridge door and was holding on to it thinking “What the hell is wrong with this fridge?” whilst I was standing in the kitchen thinking “crumbs there must be a juggernaut approaching down the campsite road”. It was only when Jamie texted saying “did you feel the earthquake?” that we realised what it was! And then I got a text on my New Zealand phone telling me to put my shoes on NOW not even to go into another room before I PUT MY SHOES ON so I was ready to evacuate. It was a 6.8
strength earthquake which apparently counts as strong and the epicentre was 88 miles away in the sea between north and south island so between us and Jamie. And yes I did put my shoes on! Flipping heck what a country
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