On good recommendation I bought a satay chicken sandwich for breakfast and because it looked nice, a lamb and kumara (sweet potato) pie.
I stopped a little further on by the river to eat it. What a perfect choice. Not only did I see a Weka but a flock of Keruru (native wood pigeons) feeding on the broom bushes. There was also a beautiful little waterfall, cascading down the mountain to a big waterfall (which I couldn’t see as I was high up from the river).While I was there a group of Spanish tourists were also taking photos and when I went to take the waterfall they all started laughing. One of the ladies needed a toilet stop and had ducked down on the side of the road, in the bushes. I couldn’t see her 🙂
The road from Murchison to Westport is mostly through the Upper and Lower Buller Gorge. A very scenic but windy and hilly road, with many one way bridges. I was lucky there wasn’t too much traffic on the road. I wonder why each little stream got it’s name. There are lots of Stoney Creeks and (insert number) mile creeks, some were named after people. There was a section that were Dutch names, another German and often Chinaman Creek after the hard working men who came to make their fortunes in gold mining. I was thinking of our pioneers who forged the trails in immensely difficult terrain: some had settled along the way to provide stopping places and water and feed the men, some found gold and many returned to the newly established towns. Many died.
I turned on to SH97 and reached Westport, where I planned to get some food (always food) and diesel as Karamea is in “the back of beyond” with one store and no fuel. I called into the iSite to book an excursion to the limestone arches and was disappointed that they have yet to commence for the season as there are few tourists. I can go by myself, no problem, though it was on my list of treats.
It was exciting to sea the Tasman Ocean again. The coast here is quite different to where I live, not too far north (. . . as the crow flies). Mine is a wide sandy beach, where cars can drive for miles, here it is stoney, gets deep very quickly and is often wild.
The road hugged the narrow coastal plain for a while, past the coal mining settlements, the mines now closed. Coal is not economical to mine (and we lost 19 men a few years ago) and is not a clean fuel. In winter, though, you can still smell it, it’s a romantic, old fashioned smell.
The road over the hill, was long and slow and we went up very high, quickly. Fortunately there was nobody going my way and few the other way. I frequently drove in 3rd and even 2nd gear. Going down didn’t seem so long and I was amused to go through the town of Cobyvale where there was nothing. Only paddocks; no old houses. Zilch!!
On being a Kiwi. Last night I went to do the dishes in the camp kitchen. I do that sometimes if I feel like a chat. There was an American guy, very pleasant and a keen fisherman. There was an elderly Kiwi guy who thought he knew it all. The American was really polite and listened intently, smiling in the appropriate places, even after saying he had been to New Zealand many times. I occasionally spoke and was almost ignored by elderly Kiwi. He repeated himselff, made huge mistakes I knew the American was aware of. It gave me an insight of what it is to be a Kiwi with tourists, a valuable lesson (never let me be like that please!!).
ON NZ TV news: I watched the news tonight for the first time since Friday and there were 4 young German tourists there. Looking through their eyes I couldn’t believe how boring our news was. In the 25 minutes I watched, there was the American elections, the bombing in Syria (I may be wrong about the location), the American mass murderer and what the NZ government is going for your homeless people (they have already bought a motel and plan accomodation for a small number of people.