|Weka, by Dave Foster|
Wednesday, 15 June 2016
Two intrepid walkers - on a road trip #2
Hello there. Here we are back on the road again.
Make yourself a pot of tea, or coffee, put your feet up
and join Sis and me on the next part of our journey.
When I left you last we had had a break in Otira for lunch
and now we are headed to the West Coast.
Once you cross over the mountain the landscape changes dramatically. The West Coast is a very narrow strip of land on the coast, bounded by mountains and the sea and we drive through ancient, beech forest to reach it. Rainforest.
But today the sun is shining and as we drive north up the coast we are in our shirtsleeves. Definitely overdressed. Once we are over the Taramakau River bridge we are almost there. This is a road/rail bridge which throws some people, like my GKB when he first drove on it, but we grew up with it so no problems there. :)
We booked in at the camping ground and decided not to have a cuppa but to go and visit our aunty, who is still living in Greymouth, and have one with her. She was out. Oh well, we had other places to go in connection with our reunion next year. The hotel PR lady was next. She was away for the day! A restaurateur we wanted to speak to. He was finished for the day! We weren't having much luck. I guess that is what happens when you do things on the spur of the moment. Let's try aunty again on the way back to the camping ground. Aah, finally, she was home and we had a nice visit - and finally too, a hot cup of tea.
We bought fish and chips for tea and ate them back at the camping ground and then decided to go for a walk on the beach. These are not sandy beaches and neither are they beaches I would swim in, the Tasman Sea is too rough and rugged for me. But they are enjoyable to walk on. Not that we went far as the wind was coming up, making it a bit cool and unpleasant. It's winter, remember.
The camping ground is at the beach, leave the grounds heading west, cross a narrow track/road and you're in the flax and grass that borders the beach. As we were heading back we saw a large bird run across the grass in front of us - then another one. A pair of wekas. Weka - also known as wood hen or Maori hen. They had no fear and posed for us before calling to each other and disappearing into the scrub again. But as luck would have it none of my photos turned out so this is a photo of a postcard with a Weka on it. The photo is taken by Dave Foster. We also saw these on the roadsides as we were travelling on the West Coast side.
With the wind getting up and darkness falling we decided to have showers and call it a night. It was 7:30pm! We read and chatted and planned a programme for the reunion, but mostly we read. I couldn't believe how tired I felt. Sometime in the early hours of the morning I woke up, then there was an almighty thunderclap. Sis reckons it was the lightening that woke me. With the thunder came the rain, and did it rain. The West Coast of the South Island gets torrential rain and I hadn't experienced it for a long time
- welcome home :)
It was still raining when we left in the morning about 10:00am. We caught up with the people who had been away the day before and decided to have a cooked breakfast before we headed off. Above is the view out of the tearooms window as we ate.
And this is what it was like as we were leaving Kumara and heading back towards the mountains, with no let up as we headed into Otira where there was a beautiful rainbow. We drove right into it and I decided to enjoy the moment instead of trying to capture it.
Can you see though, how it is coming down between the mountains and therefore having nowhere to disappear to.
It was a long haul up the mountain behind two large trucks, I think our top speed was about 15 kpm and we kept waiting for the engine to cut out. Eventually we came to a short passing bay but it was long enough for us and we made a run for it. Through the passes on the Canterbury side the sun was out and it was a pleasant trip through to Christchurch. Another overnight stay and then we headed back to Otago and the meeting I had to be home for that evening.
I hope you've enjoyed our road trip.
I'm joining Amy, and others, for
so why don't you pop over for a look as well.
By the way, don't ask me what mountain I crossed, I don't know to be honest, just that it is part of the Southern Alps . Growing up if we were going to Christchurch we were going 'over the hill'. We drove up the mountain, or took the railcar, and went through the passes but it has never occurred to me to find out which mountain we crossed. We knew the name of the passes, that sufficed. Maybe I should find out!