While we were in Tekapo with our neighbours, Ray and Margaret who have been living in their bus for the last 4 ½ years or so, we found out that we had probably missed the best part of the Rail Trail while we were in Ranfurly. We had a few days up our sleeve before catching up with Helen in Lowburn so we decided to spend another couple of nights at one of our favorite stops in Central Otago, the Omakau Hotel.
The Omakau Hotel is well setup for Motorhomes with a whole set of Ensuite cabins and concreted Motorhome parks out behind the Hotel. See my previous blog on this.
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We were travelling from the NZMCA park in Cromwell so it wasn’t that far.
We used the time to have a good tidy up. Vacuuming and washing Rafe inside and out! The only problem is that the fresh water in these parts has a high level of calcium which dries on as water spots.. ugly! At least it was clean 🙂
The next morning, we up early and set off on the bikes to Lauder on the bike trail. The first bit to Lauder was slightly uphill but barely noticeable. There were a couple of bridges but it was largely a dead straight track across open fields most of the way to Lauder.
We stopped briefly at Lauder for a couple of sandwiches which we took with us and a glass of water.. the last of the big spenders !
From here is was a slight uphill grind up to the hills until we came to a curved viaduct crossing a river which was amazing. We stopped here for a look then headed onto some amazing tunnels which had to be walked through.
Both tunnels were reasonably short. We continued a slight climb through a really rocky Central Otago landscape to cross the main Viaduct.
From here we were on the edge of the Ida Valley and could pretty much see right down towards Ranfurly.
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Amazing view. Apparently this Viaduct took three years to build and the workers lived up here in the hills in little shacks. It must have been pretty unpleasant. There are some great signboards which give you the history as you go along.
It was sandwich time before heading back to Lauder. We’d done the bits we missed !
The ride was great and it was nice to see the Tunnels and Viaducts that we had missed. We worked out that we did approximately 36k’s there and back.
This was the easy bit. Feet up downhill really all the way back to Omakau. We stopped in at Lauder for a cuppa and something else to eat before heading back to Omakau.
While we were in Lauder having a cup of coffee, I received a phone call from my old neighbour, Terry. He was on the road on his way to Alexandra and was keen to catch up.
We arranged to meet at Omakau and we had not long been back when he arrived armed with a bottle of Chardonnay and some cheese and biccies.
It was really nice to see Terry and we ended up having Tea at the Omakau Hotel which was great.
Update on Omakau Hotel 12-05-2019
We popped in here on the way through to Alexandra and checked in with Stacey to see if we could stop over for the night.
We planned to splash out and shout ourselves a meal in the restaurant and then crash in Rafe in the park behind later.
What used to be $15 a night for a powered site is now $35 plus another $10 if we wanted to use the ensuite shower/toilet !
I mentioned that at $45, that was fast approaching TOP Ten prices but without the amenities.
I suggested $20 just for a powered site might be more reasonable given that we were also planned to have a meal there.
It was $35 or nothing so we left.. For a powered site in the middle of nowhere, that’s getting expensive!