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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Friday 13 January 2023

Back to Hokitika via Moana

 January 12th

 I know I keep harping on about those sandflies, but it's getting to the stage that even opening the door slightly brings them in. We can't even get out quick as the Toy has a side sliding door, it has to be opened wide for me to get out. We have also started to stink, that much repellent has been put on, we badly need a shower!  It's ever a wonder that folk keep away from us, but if it deters those little blighters, so be it. To anyone coming over to New Zealand a humorous article has been written by an American journalist Alastair Bland about these horrible little flies.

Leaving this morning was not an early affair. At this site several walks start, some of which had been mentioned by Marilyn and David. A very long suspension bridge could just about be seen from the toilet block, Ian walked towards it yesterday evening and mentioned the three walks that start from across the river. It was decided then to make for one of the walks first thing in the morning. So after breakfast we got sprayed up, walking shoes on, and I remembered to grab the poles. Before we even arrived at the bridge, a short tunnel with steps at the end had to be negotiated.

That suspension bridge was in three parts, looked very stable but moved a great deal, especially when Ian decided to bounce and jump on it to try to make me nervous. Well it didn't work, all it did was make me grab for the camera and record his antics!


This Robin was at the end, it too decided to join in the jump.

and it must be very used to people because Ian's shoes seemed to attract its attention. Maybe it thought the laces were worms. ๐Ÿ˜Š

We chose the short 20-minute walk, the morning was departing rapidly and there were places to see and places to go. It was the Tailrace walk.  Nelson Creek was built on gold found by a prospector called Nelson in 1865. The area was extensively mined, with tailraces cut to let gravel down containing gold into the creek below. We thought this to be the easiest of walks, it stated just that on the sign! Well I don't know what they class as easy, it certainly wasn't for me!

We clambered up rock strewn steep inclines, over large tree roots which had encroached onto the path with a drop below and a path I refused to go on even though Ian said he would help me down...nop...not on your Nelly! If we had taken the wrong path, for the life of us we don't know how. Every route seemed more impossible than the next. Whoever said this was an easy track must have been a mountaineer!!

It started very easy.

Getting harder

Really????? Does this look easy?????

This couldn't have been wider than a foot. Ian went ahead, told me not to attempt this. That was when we turned around.

The poles came in handy here.

 The 20 minutes turned out more like an hour, We back tracked and found where a path forked. Ian recognised the surroundings and got us back to where that awful stony incline was. This time to descend, it was difficult... thank goodness for those poles!


Eventually arrived back at the suspension bridge, very relieved and in a sadistic way, enjoyed every moment.

  We drove through Stillwater. Yesterday at the Brunner mine it told of all unidentified bodies in the mining disaster being buried in the cemetery. We stopped and pay our respects. 

Moana was our next stop. Lovely small town with Lake Brunner at the heart. The TranzAlpine train also stops there. Pretty little town, it was here we stopped for a late lunch consisting of Chicken and Brie Pie for Ian and a Pork with Hoisin sauce pie for me. 

 How is it that seeing a sign showing Kumara 73k off to the right could get us so utterly confused. We were on the Lake Brunner Road, and had to get onto SH73. At Inchbonnie was that sign off to the right, so we took it thinking this was the highway we were looking for. The confusion came when we hit gravel!

A car had just come past.

Surly a major highway would be on a sealed road. Anyway we kept going until I consulted the map. The reason for the gravel road became clear, this was a shorter route to Kumara but not necessarily quicker. Did we really want to travel 30 km or more on gravel? Nop, Ian stopped the Toy at a place where he felt he could turn around. It happened to be by a very pretty part of Lake Brunner.

With my help he got safely around

 If we had ignored that first sign, another few km would have got us to SH 73. The distance to Kumara from that junction was79 km, going the shorter route would only have saved 5 km but would no doubt have taken twice as long.

 Next stop was Hokitika and the Kiwi Camp. On the North Island we purchased a fob that we can load with cash for the use with Kiwi showers. Plenty of these Kiwi Camps on North Island, hardly any on the South Island, so we were very pleased to find one at Hokitika. $2 for five minutes, they were lovely and so very clean. We could have stayed at this campsite for $30 a night, but we prefer to save our money for various excursions planned and do the freedom camping thing. But....There are no freedom sites around Hokitika, there is a NZMCA and a DOC site both of which are roughly $10 pp. The place Ian found was a Park over Property site (POP) for $5 pp in the back of beyond called Woodstock Domain right next to a sports field. It had toilets and sinks outside, no rubbish or showers but perfectly adequate for our needs and of course cheap!

Seen on route. New Zealander's sense of humour.

And wildlife


Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

I agree with you about the sandflies - they can be a menace. Interestingly, this time on the Coast has been the worst I've experienced. Maybe the excessive warm weather has caused lots of egg laying and hatching so they are more populous than usual. I'm not sure.

I'm so glad you got to the cemetery at Stillwater - good to see that photo of the mass grave now.

The tunnel and the bridge at Nelson's Creek were beyond me, so well done, you two. We did do a walk that didn't involve them and managed not to get lost. The tailings and bush were great to explore. And I'm very glad you took your sticks!


Anonymous said...

Hello, the highlight of this blog was Ian jumping and that dear little Robin appearing to do the same, fabulous pics.
Thank you and take care you two,
Ann Makemson xx

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