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Published: March 16th 2010
Packed up to leave and discovered that we had a fuel injector pipe leak. The local Toyota dealer checked it out - no parts in NZ so a temporary fix will have to do.
Stayed a further night in Greymouth.
We checked out the Brunner Mine memorial which was well worth a visit. A drive to the beautiful Lake Kaniere was also worth doing, where we found the Hans Bay DOC campsite. An area to ourselves meant we could fiddle around with the tarps to try out an alternative back door shelter, which sort of worked. There was a pleasant walk to the Dorothy Falls and the lake foreshore. Accommodation that night was in the camper as drizzle was forecast.
On the way out from Lake Kaniere we diverted to the Hokitika Gorge. DOC have done quite extensive work here with improved walkways to the lookout, swingbridge and to the river itself. The water here is glacial which means it is a beautiful light turquoise colour.
Drove to Ross to try the Mt Greenland 4x4 track, but this was overgrown and too low for the hi-top. Returning to Hokitika we booked into the camping ground .
The camping ground is starting to fill up today. We have found ourselves hopefully a quiet spot right at the back and behind a bank to protect us from the cool south-westerly. I dropped Dave off at the Wildfoods Venue so that he could help Darryl, from West Coast Brewery, set up the beer lines and refrigeration for the festival which started tonight with a concert with several bands including Elemeno P. Dave had spotted Ken and Sally Climo across the street, so we arranged to meet them for dinner. Ken and Sally are now based in Wellington, and it was great to have a catch up with them.
Wildfoods - Hokitika - great food - great music and dancing, great beer (350 kegs of West Coast and Green Fern (their organic label)). We based ourselves in the shareholders tent and listened to a few of Paddy’s yarns. Pity Doug and Jan weren’t with us to enjoy the free beer! That evening we popped into Stumpers Bar and met a nice couple from Picton who have invited us to stay on our way north.
Drove back to Reefton, via Blackball where we popped into the Hilton
(now known as “formerly the Blackball Hilton” because of a warning letter from Hilton International Hotels regarding the use of the brandname). The letter suggesting legal action is in pride of place on the bar wall. On arrival at Reefton we erected the tent and walked down to the racecourse to attend raceday - trots. What a nice way to spend an afternoon in the sun, having the odd $2 bet at a rural race meeting.
We left Reefton and drove through the lovely Lewis Pass, stopping at Sylvia Flat.
We knew there were natural heated rockpools on the side of the river, and so enjoyed a soak here for an hour before lunch. East to Hanmer Springs and it became warmer and warmer, with the temp. probably being nearly 30 degrees, a lovely change from the 17-20 degrees we had had for a couple of weeks. We decided to drive over Jacks Pass and onto the Molesworth, then Rainbow Stations to Lake Tennyson for the night. It was much cooler because of the altitude, and there are still remnants of last winter’s snow in patches. This was one of our favourite spots on last year’s trip. The
NZ Navy Band - fantastic
only other campers were Bob and Heather from Hamilton, who were heading south to cycle the Otago rail trail. We enjoyed each others company over several wines, in a beautiful spot. They had lots of info on the Walcott Inlet, Kimberley area of Western Australia. Out Northland Nomad signs on the track attract some attention, with lollipop men calling out our names and waving, and also a guy from Maungatapere, just up the road from Lynda and Lance saw the sign and came over and introduced himself (thanks Murray and Chris for that!!)
Drove through to Kaikoura via Waiau and the Inland Kaikoura Road and have found a great backpackers in the middle of town.
Tomorrow we will spend in Kaikoura and meet the other members of the 4x4 group at Puhipuhi Road DOC camp, inland from Hapuku, tomorrow night. We have two weeks of 4x4ing taking us through from here to Nevis, near Queenstown.
This may be my last blog for two or three weeks as we will be in remoter places with probably poor vodem (Vodafone modem) reception.
Thought for the day: Don’t take a hot shower for granted!
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