Kaikoura to Cromwell

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April 19th 2010
Published: April 19th 2010
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Sore legsSore legsSore legs

Checkiing out a noise in rear wheels
20/4/10 - Flying tomorrow Auckland to Christchurch - have been in Kerikeri for a week to catch up with family, end-of-financial year stuff etc.
Here's an update, and will get onto the gap between Easter and now as soon as I can..............going back to......

24/3/10 - Drove to Albury via Opiha then over the MacKenzie Pass, Hakataramea Pass Road to Cattle Creek, then through Old Kaiwarua Rd to Waimate. Repairs were required for Al and Sue’s Safari after strange noises in the rear wheels. We stayed in a cabin in the camping ground after a sudden deluge of hail. The whole group endulged in a lovely meal at the Waimate Hotel - GREAT value.

25/3/10 - Mt Dasher Station was our next destination, inland from Oamaru, where we would attempt the Dunrobin Rd track. Wayne and Joy Sim own the station. They have 8500 hectares, and run 11000 sheep, 300 cows, 27 inches of rain per year. This track takes you over the Kakanui Mountains .After stopping for lunch at the Scout Hut on the station, our great leader Mark followed the incorrect track and we backtracked after an hour and a half, restarting from Scout Hut. Mt Obi
Mt Dasher StationMt Dasher StationMt Dasher Station

Dunrobin Rd track
gave us amazing 360 degree views at a height of 1430m. Wayne had warned us about the track down the southern side, and true to his word it was a steep, sharp, zigzag. One corner’s acute angle and steepness meant that some of the medium-wheel base vehicles, back right wheel was lifting and losing traction so we had to back down one zig of the zig zag! I used the excuse to take photos to get out of the vehicle.
After this the track became vague and the reliance on a GPS proved to be a mistake. However, we made our way towards the main road that could be seen in the distance, and finally reached the road in darkness at 8.15pm. We then drove to Dunback Domain for a $2 per person campsite.

26/3/10 - This morning goodbyes to John, Maureen and Mark, our Marlborough companions. The next planned trip was cancelled due to the dryness of the station. Nev met a farmer on the road who gave us permission to go through Clover Downs Station. This was great, and we noticed DOC fencing around certain areas there. This is to save an endangered lizard at a cost
A loo with a viewA loo with a viewA loo with a view

Mt Dasher Station
of $750 per metre for the fencing. There was at least 1.5km of fencing!! We had lunch at Macrae’s Flat, then checked out the lookout over the Macrae’s Goldmine operation. We then drove over the northern end of the Rock and Pillar range to Hamilton Diggings where we checked out the cemetery, and past the old TB sanitorium on the hill. Ranfurly camping ground was our accommodation. A few Otago Rail Trail cyclists who were complaining about their sore bums!

27/3/10 - Dave and I were leaders today. We drove through Patearoa, with a quick guided tour through the village, then onto the Linnburn to Serpentine Road up to the Serpentine Conservation area to the church. This church was built of stone in the middle of nowhere by miners. It has a ghostly feel, being surrounded by tussock covered hills, often shrouded in mist and sitting at over 1000 metres. We then travelled on the Old Dunstan Rd to Poolburn Reservoir, for lunch and to see the old fishing cribs. This barren area covered in tussock and schist outcrops was where the Plains of Rohan were filmed in “The Lord of the Rings”. On returning to Ranfurly we diverted
Mt ObiMt ObiMt Obi

Mt Obi on Mt Dasher Station
to Naseby to watch curling at the International Curling Rink. That evening we discovered Sue’s joke-telling ability.

28/3/10 - Off early towards Paerau and the eastern side of the Old Dunstan Rd through to Te Papanui Conservation area over the Lammermoor and Lammerlaw Ranges. Near the end of the track a wrong turning was made, and we ended up trying to find our way out of a forestry area. A couple of pig-hunters (together with 3 dead wild pigs) turned up and showed us the way out, taking us to Lawrence. From there we drove through to Ettrick Camping Ground for the night.
29/3/10 - Just south of Roxburgh is the Mt Benger Rd, which takes you up onto the Old Man Range. However, this was closed by the farmer as he had had too much trouble with motorbike riders disturbing the stock. So we drove through Roxburgh (purchasing fresh apricots, apples, nectarines on the way) to Coal Creek Rd, which also takes you up onto the Old Man Range. A slight diversion (should we trust the GPS!!) by Geoff took us down to the Pomahaka River for lunch, then we went back onto the top of the range,
Mt Obi descentMt Obi descentMt Obi descent

Nev heading down the zig zag
turning west onto Whitecombe Rd. This road was classified in the book as requiring a minimum of 5 medium to large trucks for safety. It was certainly challenging with deep ruts and bogs. It took us 2 and a half hours to drive 13km. Dave couldn’t resist one large bog hole, and sure enough we were bogged with muddy water flowing under the doors into the cab. There was a steep descent to the road. Apparently two guys had been killed on this track a year or two ago, because they followed a bulldozer track which was too steep causing their vehicle to flip backwards.
Waikaia Camping Ground was our night stop.

30/3/10 - Dave and I were leaders again. Lumsden was a refuel etc stop before driving north towards Queenstown and turning off at Garston to drive through the Nevis track to Clyde. This was a more scenic and easier track. The Nevis Valley was interesting with a small outdoor museum. Payment was a couple of DB stubbies in the mailbox. Clyde Camping Ground for the night.

31/3/10 - Today’s track was from Arrowtown to Macetown via the Arrow river.
This was a busy route with several
Mt Obi zigzagMt Obi zigzagMt Obi zigzag

So steep we had to back down one of the zigs
Nomad Tour landrovers, motorbikes, hikers and private vehicles. This is where the UHF radios are great. The leader can warn the others behind of vehicles coming, as a lot of the track is one-way only, and with minimal passing places. This is another historic goldmining town where two buildings have been restored, and a 10-head stamper and other remnants remain. Geoff and Al found a tunnel as large as their vehicles and about 30m deep.
The night was spent at Arrowtown camping ground,, where we had a combined meal and sing-along (as I had my guitar with me).

1/4/10 - Skippers Rd up the Skippers Canyon is a single-lane, but well formed road which hasn’t changed since we were there 20 years ago on a tour.. The old Mt Aurum Station homestead has been restored, and I met a lady who knew a lot of the history as her great grandfather was the first to discover gold at the nearby Bullendale Mine.
After a farewell group hug (no, just kidding) we all went our own way after exiting the Skippers Rd. Dave and I trundled off to Cromwell and called in to see friends, Gail and Garry at their
DOC fenceDOC fenceDOC fence

$750 per metre fence to save the lizards
crib. We drove through the Lindis Pass to Dunstan Downs Station backpackers.

Next chapter when I get to it...

Additional photos below
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Macrae's GoldmineMacrae's Goldmine
Macrae's Goldmine

Central Otago

20th April 2010

sore bums and Co
We were following in your footsteps on the rail trail!! Chilly starts to glorious days (gel seat covers and water bottles inadvertently left outside overnight were frozen but this helped with the sore bums :-) went curling at Nasby not international standard but..... was after lunch at the pub so....... Ranfurly was the stock up point to take food and liquid refreshments to Kokonga where we self catered at an old homestead in a paddock in the middle of nowhere. got a very lively Norwester on the last day, blown off our bikes and showered with sheep shit blown off the paddocks. Awesome landscape-sorry we missed you guys would have been great to catch up!! keep on truckn. Cheers George and CLaire

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