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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.

Monday, 30 January 2023

DOC enforcement and floods in Auckland.

 January 29th

Well, well, well. 7.45 am and a Department of Conservation (DOC)  officer arrives to check number plates to see who has paid and who has not. Of the vehicles that were left (many had already gone) at least three heard a knock from the guy. It should be an immediate fine for not complying with the rules, and we heard two German girls begging to be allowed to pay the site fees and not the fine. This chap was lovely. Gave them a stern telling off in the nicest possible way and allowed the site payment to go ahead. I doubt they will try to avoid payment again in future. DOC charge for the upkeep of the grounds and toilets even though most are long drops. The charge is usually $10 each, that's a fiver to us in the UK. Madness then not to pay. They do a sterling job conserving New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage and for such a small fee for the privilege of staying in some of the most scenic places in New Zealand, it's criminal not to part with your cash.

By the time we were ready to leave it was nearly 9 am. Te Anau was about a 15-minute drive and having had WiFi signal last night Ian found out about the laundrette and public showers. Yea...clothes and bodies washed, and about time too! Shopping and waste disposal was next, it was well after midday and before leaving stopped for a bite of lunch at the lake edge. A seaplane was coming into land. Never been in a seaplane and both of us would have loved to have flown in one but at $165 each for 15 minutes it was an expense we couldn't justify. 

Ian happened to be looking at the NZ news. Gosh, we couldn't believe it. On the North Island a state of emergency had been declared due to flooding. I found this on the web. Click here Mainly in the Auckland area but also as far a field as The Bay of Plenty and Gisborne. This from Wikipedia So isolated on the South island we had no idea any of this was going on. I still say that climate change is the cause of all these weird weather events! 

We like to get off the main highways so after lunch the route we took was along the SH 95, Fiordlands Southern scenic route. Invercargill was our destination, a 154 km drive. We never did make it that far.

Stopping at a scenic lookout, we noticed a dam across the Waiau River. Apparently this was one of the first hydro schemes in New Zealand.

On the map was Clifton Suspension bridge, it rang a bell, had we been to it before? We decided to find out. The answer was yes as was the Clifton Cave we had also thought about going to see. Before the bridge was a huge car park with fancy toilets, and they were the flushing kind too. This was also a freedom camp site and as time was getting on (it was mid afternoon) this would do for tonight.

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