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Published: March 30th 2010
Puhi Puhu Rd Camp, near Kaikoura
Snow on the mts this morning - ice on the tent!
31/3/10 - We are currently in Clyde, leaving today for Macetown (near Arrowtown), then Skippers Canyon tomorrow - sorry, this current entry only goes to the 23/3 but we thought we'd let you see what we have been doing up until then, and I will add more with photos when our group trip has finished - they are long days! - but awesome. .......
Kaikoura - Woke to see snow on the Seaward Kaikouras - no wonder there’s a cold wind.
Spotted Des and Christine from Ruakaka (ex-Kerikeri) in their motorhome, so sat and had a chat with them for an hour, then drove to the seal colony, but there wasn’t much happening there. As we were meeting our 4x4 group this evening, we headed to the meeting place at Puhipuhi School site DOC area. Whilst driving up to the head of this valley, we found Geoff and Steve, Alan and Sue doing the same thing. Nev and Sue, and Brian and Sue arrived a little later without Irv and Viv who were staying in Kaikoura due to a hole in their radiator It was cold that evening with us sitting around as the temp. dropped down to 5
Near Ward, Marlborough
The inside of our tent fly had ice on it this morning. Bbbbrrrrrr!!!. After meeting Irv and Viv, John and Maureen and Mark in Kaikoura, we headed south on SH1, then drove down onto the riverbed on the Kahutara River, driving up as far as Dairy Farm Rd, exiting there and then heading west on the Inland Kaikoura Rd to the Conwy River bridge, stopping on the riverbed for lunch. This is a great trip, winding down the riverbed which is in a narrow, small canyon. Once again on the road, Dave was pulled over by a traffic cop for going too slow!! Drove through Cheviot to the coast staying at Gore Bay camping ground, a lovely place to stay right by the pounding surf.
Dave and I were drawn as trip leaders for the day. We drove up the Waipara River as far as a narrow gorge that we couldn’t get through. This trip was slightly more challenging with rocks and holes to negotiate especially for Suzuki with his lower ground clearance. Returning to the exit at Stringers Rd we drove to MacDonald Downs Station where we were met by the owner, Bill Patterson.
Down the mighty Conway River
This is a great drive, down the riverbed, high cliff walls like a mini-canyon.
He invited us to the woolshed where he gave us a rundown on the history and current farming methods of the station. It is 25000 acres, which was purchased in 1966 for 10 pound per acre. He has put in 160km of roading, farms 12000 ewes, 800 cows and 2000 beef stock. It takes 19 days to do the shearing. The station receives 27 to 30 inches of rain per year on average. It snows on average 22 times per year. We left Bill about halfway across and drove on to Lees Valley and the Ashley Gorge camping ground.
The Ashley River flows down to the coast north of Christchurch. We drove down the riverbed as far as Bowicks Rd, then on to Rangiora at midday. This gave us a free afternoon to refuel and restock food. Our night’s accommodation was at the Okains Bay camping ground on the eastern side of Banks Peninsular.. This was a great camp amongst the pine and gum trees right near the beach. Geoff gave us some smoked eel to try.
We toured the roads around Banks Peninsula, checking out Akaroa, Little Akaloa, Le Bons Bay etc.
Lunch at Flea
Dave giving guidance to Brian in his Suzuki (not in photo)
Bay was eventful with the landowner putting a flea in our ears about us being visual pollution. The DOC signs indicating the reserve area were rather confusing and we weren’t aware we were on his land.
Unfortunately we were woken by really strong windgusts off and on from about 3am. At 5.30 we got up to find a fibreglass tent rod had snapped, so we packed up in the dark and climbed into the back of the Troopy for a nap until others were awake.
Replacement and repairs were found in Christchurch and we met the others back at the lunch stop of Birdlings Flat, a desolate, windswept stony beach at the eastern end of Kaitorere Spit. Some fossicked for agate stones. We then drove to Methven for supplies and then to Rakaia Gorge camp for the night.
North west up Double Hill Run Rd on the western side of the Rakaia River took us to Glenfalloch station. They charged $20 per vehicle. This is 11000 hectares has 6000 sheep and 300 cows. The station is partly dominated by large metal scree slopes, the Rakaia and Lake Rivers.
We drove over the boundary into Lake Heron
The team on Mt Heron Station
Station, ($20 per vehicle). This comes out at Lake Heron, a great spot for trout fishing. A quick trip into Geraldine was necessary to ask at Wrightsons regarding station owner contacts. The night was spent at the Orari Gorge DOC camp. A cool, blustery sou-westerly forced us into the Troopy to sleep.
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