My holiday is nearing the end and I’m not looking forward to going home. I’m enjoying being mobile and going solo.
I did some tourist shopping before I left for Greymouth, I really like the Glacier Shop, it has a great range of things that appealed to me and I bought 3 bracelets. If you are in Franz Joseph I recommend it.
As I neared Whataroa I was deciding if I would stop and go on the Alpine Fault tour. I almost did but decided to save it for the next time, I am keeping a list 🙂
I stopped briefly at Lake Mapourika, there was a nice little walk down to the lake but no birds. It is a kettle lake, formed when a large block of ice was left behind by the retreating Franz Josef Glacier some fourteen thousand years ago. I’ve only learned this since I was there. I would have looked at it differently had I known.
I was looking forward to visiting the Pukeko Store in Hari Hari to reconnect with the beautiful cat “Mr T”. Dasha and I had stopped there in April. so we were acquainted. He was parked outside on top of a tall parcel, making him at perfect smooching height.
I stopped at Lake Ianthe, initially going to the wrong end by a pretty stream, waving to a couple in an NZMCA caravan parked there and going to the actual lake after several attempts at turning. I wasn’t the only one 🙂 It was very apparent the rain had been considerable, the lake level was high and the grass squishy and soggy to walk on. It’s a very clear lake, the fishing is good, according to the blurb, and I watched an Indian chap (who reminded me so much of my late doctor) for a while but he wasn’t successful.
I had great fun photographing the resident Weka. It looks like it was caught in a trap and had lost one foot (also had a fat leg) but was very healthy and a character, I’m sure it posed for me. It abandoned me when two English tourists arrived with their lunch.
I stopped in at the Bushman’s Centre, Pukekura, population 5. It has a cafe and museum. I met two of them (the other 3 are Pete’s daughter, partner and child, just recently arrived) and seemingly missed such treats as a possum pie in the cafe, which I didn’t go to. It was an interesting place, a relic from the past. Justine makes possum items, there are several industrial sewing machines in sight. I bought a signed print, and Pete wiped off the dust. We chatted about possum trapping and 1080. They reminded me of old (probably younger than me) hippies, were well spoken and educated. He had been a possum trapper for much of his life, both were conservationists. They are ardently anti 1080 and we also had an interesting discussion about the ‘alleged’ damage possums do to our native forrest and birds. We had slightly different opinions but it was a civil conversation and I learned much! I’ve since seen he has written a book which I will get.The Pukekura Lodge, opposite, has reasonable accomodation including several powered sites.
I forgot to stop at the Kakapotahi River for a fossick, as planned (it’s on the next time list) and went on to Ross, population about 300. I drove around the residential streets and like many towns on the West Coast, Ross is a former mining town which has become a little run down with the closing of the mines and the loss of employment. A large opencast mine was opened in 1990s, over the road from the pub 🙂 It’s now been filled with water.
It was in Ross that the largest gold nugget in New Zealand was found in 1909. The “Honourable Roddy Nugget” was as big as a man’s fist and weighed 99 ounces (over 3 kilos). It was purchased by the New Zealand government and presented to King George V as a coronation gift. A 1950 enquiry about the whereabouts of the nugget to the Royal Family resulted in the embarrassed Imperial Household reporting that the nugget had been melted down to gild a Royal tea service! (Further discomfiture ensued when the said tea service could not be located). Not nice at all, shame on you 😦
I drove on through Hokitika (but did stop for a Lotto ticket), wanting to stay again in one of my happy place but knew I needed to experience Greymouth to decide which was my most favourite West Coast community.
My favourite bridge, the Taramakau Road/Rail Bridge, about half way between Hokitika and Greymouth.
And from the other end, the bridge was being painted (not my videos).
“A new two-lane bridge will be constructed 30 metres downstream of the existing bridge to carry vehicles, with a separated off-road shared facility for pedestrians and cyclists also being constructed. The rail traffic will remain on the existing bridge, separating all modes of traffic to improve both safety and efficiency. The realigned road will also pass over the existing rail south of the river via an overpass. Construction of the new bridge is expected to start late 2016 and will take about 2 years to build.” Another piece of information I have since found. I think it’s the last road/rail bridge in New Zealand. It will be a sad loss when it is closed to vehicular traffic.
I had two motor camps to choose from and decided on the Greymouth Seaside Top 10, one of the most expensive I have stayed at. It was spacious and clean, I had my own Weka, a juvenile. I would stay again though I nearly didn’t get there, it was very difficult to find on the GPS.
The beach is so pretty, less of an undertow than most though I wouldn’t swim there. There were beautiful stones and I added to the collection.
7.53.55 pm The sun kisses the sea, micro seconds later.
It was a lovely sunset and I was amazed at how quickly it met the sea. I walked back to the Ducato and was serenaded by a blackbird ❤