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Published: August 24th 2016
Dunedin, either going to rain or raining and this was true to form today.
We left on a miserable cold rainy day, heading north and to Twizel for the night. Initially the road north takes you towards Oamaru, along the coast line. Evandale Cheese factory caught our eye, just south of Waikouaiti. Pulling in the drive to a huge building, very close nearby were many abandoned buildings, roads and hostel type places. This is the former site of the Karitane hospital set up by Dr Truby King. He was a pioneer for maternal and infant health, setting up a system for monitoring and assisting mothers with new babies, that has been copied world wide. Also nearby on this site is the old Cherry Farm, which was one of the premier psychiatric hospitals in the South Island. All these places have closed down now since institutional care is no longer the way to treat mental illnesses. Other places in NZ had similar lovely names, Sunnyside in CHCH and Seaview in Hokitika. Back to the cheese, we bought 3 varieties. A Bay Yellow hard rinded cheese, a Brie and a Komene Kass which is a Dutch cheese with cumin seeds. Cows milk, all
made right here, and got a blue cheese thrown in for our $20-. And right next door was the Matanaka butcher. Freshly made salami in a party pack and beef sausages made its way into our van, with the cheese, salami and some crackers consumed for morning tea. Today the whole area is called Hawkesbury Village. Palmerston for our mid morning coffee stop and next stop Moeraki Boulders. Confession......I have never ever been to see these. Just 2 km off the road, easy walk down the beach to see these huge big round rocks scattered on the beach. Maori legend say these are the food baskets of a wrecked canoe. Geologically they were formed by the erosion of the cliffs behind the beach, over a period of 60million years lime salts accumulated around the eroded pieces. Inside the broken ones there are Quartz and crystals like formations. Passing through Oamaru you turn left on the north side, just before you cross the Waitaki river and head towards Omarama. On the way we passed a Maori rock art site. The Maori has only been here for approximately 1000 years so any art is not significantly old. These drawings today were drawn
in black and red on the side of very eroded cliffs. The Waitaki river is on your right, and is a major contributor in the Hydro works right up the Waitaki valley. Numerous dams, lakes, power stations and canals are dominant features of the landscape. Benmore is the biggest earth dam in NZ easily viewed. Little towns around here, many built just for the construction of the hydro works are still thriving in the summer, with water sports very popular. A spin off industry using the many canals in this area is salmon farming. Set up in the glacial blue water, this cold mountain fresh water makes an ideal environment needed for their growth. A spin off is the sport of fishing in the canals, the trout in the canal have caught on to the free feed floating down from the fish farms. Tonight we are staying in Twizel, built for the express purpose of housing the hydro workers. This place was my first teaching post when I lived in NZ in 1979. The primary school was then the largest in the country, peaking at 1200students in that year when many of the works had come to completion and many
of the canals opened. But amazingly the town stayed with the formation of new lakes and the new industries of salmon fishing. Being close to ski fields, mountain biking and tramping as well as within sight of Mt Cook has seen this South Canterbury town flourish.
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