Tag Archives: History

Landscapes in the Ida Valley

Today was washing day.. two big loads to catch up while a brisk Nor wester was there to dry it all.

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Fiona using the power pole clothesline 🙂

The washing line was a hoot. Two shortened power poles with the washing line wire in between. It worked a treat.

We’re staying at The Crows Nest which is a very small campground in the main street of Oturehura with cabins for Bike Trail people. There are only two powered sites but I’m sure the host Bill, could rustle up some more if the need arose. Its all here though and exceptional value at $20 per van for two with power.

The hosts are fantastic and although Bill was originally from Winton, for most of his life, he and his wife Mal, have been in the Tauranga area for quite a while but have now settled here. They’re lovely people and very helpful.

Fiona off up to the Poolburn Dam.. great colours

The next morning, Fiona organised the washing and I got the bikes ready. Once the wash was out, we were off on our way up to the Poolburn Viaduct. An easy ride although a lot more gravel on the trail here making it harder to ride on than other parts of the trail.

Auripo Station looking back towards Oturehura
The Poolburn Viaduct .. took 3 years to build.

The colours and the landscape was just amazing. With the clouds doing strange things with the wind over the hills, it was really interesting for piccies.

Over the hills from the Viaduct looking out towards Lauder

I averaged about 20 odd Kph despite the gravel but stopped a lot for piccies with my phone. Some amazing spots.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

We ended up doing about 30 odd K’s for the round trip over nearly two hours.

People enjoying a walk on the Trail
Outside the camp looking back at the hills on dusk.. stunning

After cleaning up and locking the bikes,  we headed off for a walk to have a look at the town ending up in the pub!

Click on this Gallery for the old time General Store!

 

Great Hotel and its for sale

A neat wee town and we’ve decided to stay another couple of nights to have a good look around.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download : 59.00 mbps
Upload : 20.10 mbps
Ping : 71 ms

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Rolling down to Waipiata

Fiona wanted to bike up to Hyde from the Rock and Pillar so after leaving Middlemarch, we stopped at the Rock and Pillar area where we’d biked to the day before and got her ready.

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Fiona arriving at Hyde

The plan was she was going to bike up to Hyde and I would meet her there in Rafe and then we’d go onto Ranfurly for the night for the next part of the trail.

Waiting for Fiona at Hyde

She made it to Hyde in quite good time and decided she wanted to ride further up the trail so I stopped at Daisyside where the trail ran right alongside the road and there was an easy carpark for Rafe and we put her bike on and off we went to Ranfurly.

Off to daisyfields

There was a Tunnel and a Viaduct and the complaint was the light didn’t work. Murphys law, the wires had come unplugged for the headlight just in time for the Tunnel so after plugging them back in, we were all good again.

Happy Hour in the corner at the NZMCA Park Ranfurly

We arrived in Ranfurly just in time for late lunch at the 4 square cafe and left with a bottle of wine for an afternoon in the blazing sun at the NZMCA park.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

The next morning, we got the bikes ready and both set off towards Waipiata.

On the way in the fog to Waipiata

Leaving Ranfurly in the fog, it was cold and the air on your hands on the trail was bitter.. I thought then, we should have thought about gloves but too late. The sun was starting to come out and more sun was appearing across the trail the further we went on.

The Waipiata Pub

By the time we got to Waipiata, the pub open sign was out and it was time for a Latte and time to warm up. We met some really nice people who were there as well with cups of Coffee warming up as well who were from Epsom and Greenlane. They were doing the whole trail over 5 days. They were heading in the same direction as us so after a chat, we all set off.

We followed them as far as Kokonga which was another 12 k’s or so and then turned around to head back to Ranfurly. Several bridges and some nice scenes..

The Ranfurly NZMCA park

Every bit of this trail is quite different and has a different look. A great day. It was nice to get back to the NZMCA park, meet our neighbours and enjoy a drink in the Ranfurly sunshine.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download : 59.04 mbps
Upload : 20.06 mbps
Ping : 71 ms

Rafe’s Tracker Map

The Start of the Trail

We arrived in Middlemarch early in the afternoon and with the plan being to bike up to Hyde from there, I thought that might be optimistic but Hey Ho!

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Getting the Bikes ready

We were staying in Middlemarch Holiday park so we had power to charge up the bikes and so we could turn up the heat as it was forecast to be pretty cold!

The Kitchen in the camp

We were welcomed by the camp owner Susan who couldn’t have been more helpful and told to pick a site and plug in. Susan then went on to tell us that she had ridden the whole trail on her horse Wilson who was in the next paddock so she knew it well.

Susan with Wilson

It didn’t take long to get the bikes ready and we were off towards Hyde. It was just before 3pm when the shadows started to get longer and as we had to return to Middlemarch, I thought if we got as far as Rock and Pillar, we’d call it quits and have a go at Hyde the next day.

Fiona setting off from Middlemarch

What a great track and with the sun out a not a cloud around, but when we went behind the trees, it was cold. As we went on the shadows got longer but with the new Lecky bikes it was a lot of fun and basically, we did the round trip in just under an hour.

Some horses on the way

As it turned out, the sun hung up there longer than we thought and we might have made to Hyde.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

It gave us a chance to get back and have a look around the camp which is neat. The Kitchen is made from an old railway carriage and fits into a covered seating area for people to sit and enjoy the area.

On the way back to Middlemarch

Another interesting town full of history.

Back at the station

 

The Big Mine

Macraes is famous for its size and as it was on the way to Middlemarch, we stopped at the lookout for a look at this amazing mine. Friends of ours had shown us this several years ago but it looked even bigger this time than I remember it.

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The BIG Hole – To the left of the car on the road you’ll see the diggers in the pic below
Looking down in the BIG Hole

From the top the diggers and trucks were just little specks and you really have to look hard to see them doing their thing in the mine. Its massive!

The mine was opened in 1990 and since then has produced more than 5.7 tonnes of Gold.

The Boot Makers

After this we checked out the town ship which was basically the pub and a few historic old buildings.

The Pub at Macraes

Its amazing seeing all these places and this was one town that I had never seen.

Rafe’s Tracker Map to Macraes

Layers by the River

We spent the night at the Oamaru A&P grounds just a couple of K’s North of the town. At $6 for two and plenty of room on the grass, its a great spot. There are lots of loos and a laundry as well.

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Oamaru A&P ground

By the time we got up and got under way, and then checked out the Historic Precinct, it was lunchtime. The plan was to head to Middlemarch and do bits of the Otago Rail Trail that we missed two years ago but already, we were running very late!

No chance of getting lost here in Herbert

As we passed through Herbert, there was a Riverside Holiday Park right next to the river which looked good. As it was starting to get late, we popped in, there was heaps of parking and it seemed very reasonable at $28.

Shop in Herbert

The very helpful hosts who were happy for us to park anywhere as it was quiet and were happy to tell us a bit about the area.Just a fantastic spot right by a river and we had the camp virtually to ourselves in that area. We met another couple who parked away from the river around the other end who were from Timaru who were just giving their van a run 🙂

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

The huge cliffs beside the river showed really interesting layers of rock which suggested they were pushed up by several earthquakes… I’m not a geologist but thats what it looks like. Amazing.

We both really enjoyed this park. Everything was clean and tidy and everything worked. The Hosts were great and what an amazing spot.

What a Cliff

In the morning we went back a couple of K’s to check out the Historic town of Herbert.

The Netspeed Speedtest (at Oamaru A&P)
Download : 48.3 mbps
Upload : 17.4 mbps
Ping : 49 ms

Rafe’s Tracker Map  – The park is at the Blue Dot

In the Paddock at Oxford

The Oxford Workingmans club was handy to the Anzac day service the next day so we thought we’d check it out. It was also handy to the cemetery where we went to check in on my Grandparents and see how things looked there.

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Workingmans club

At the cemetary, the headstone was in a bit of a state and you could barely read it so we thought we’d get some potent cleanup stuff and take to it with a stiff brush. It came up really well and looks fantastic.

Fiona cleaning the Headstone
The end result!

After that, we went and checked out the local Workingmans club which has free accomodation for Motorhomes in a well separated paddock out the back.

Our neighbour in the paddock

We decided to join the Oxford Workingmans Club and after enjoying a couple of wines, we bought some Fish and Chips and headed back to Rafe. They’re fantastic people there and very helpful. A place to remember.

Rafe’s tracker map

Anzac Day at Oxford

After a great night in Springfield, we headed back to Oxford as an old stamping ground for my family and to be there for the Anzac service.

Oxford was settled by large parts of my family, the Vincents and the Millers. The local cemetary tells the story and they’re also well represented in the Museum and on the local War Memorial Obelisk.

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In the Town Hall during the service

The next morning was the Anzac service so we walked around to the Town Hall where it was standing room only. It was an amazing turn out for such a little town.

In the Main Street

After the service, the returned Soldiers and other services like St John and current Soldiers, formed up for the march to be led down the road a bit to the Cenotaph.

The Cenotaph

Following a lone piper, the parade occupied most of the main street before it turned in to the Cenotaph. .. Very impressive..!

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Two of my great uncles Ashley and Ray Vincent were killed in action about 20 years old and were both on the Cenotaph and had seperate crosses.

The Obelisk

A really impressive setup and the parade went like clockwork. It was also nice to see several armed police turn up just to ensure everyones safety.. thanks Guys.

Donegal House

What a find.. Owned and run by the Boyd family on what was once the family farm, this is a superb setup and has to be one the better Park over properties sites I’ve come across.

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It is set in the grounds of Donegal House Irish Pub about 7 k’s from Kaikoura. Its only downside is it is not walking distance to kaikoura but more than makes up for it with the facilities.

What you see on postcards

We’d only been in the South Island a day and the weather was the pits with it raining non stop so we thought we’d wait it out in front of the open fire at Donegal House 🙂

Inside the Pub

We spent two nights there waiting for the weather to improve before heading further south.

Great Fire

Powered sites are $20 per van per night and non powered is free in a separate area. There are heaps of powered sites all nicely setup up in little fenced areas with Irish names on each!

This is a place with huge family history and they’re very proud of it. Their family tree is up on a board with lots of photos in side of how it was with their relatives.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

The Gardens are amazing too and well cared for. A stunning spot.

The Netspeed Speedtest… Awful! .. I suspect there was an issue with the local tower as it did improve before we left.
Download:  1.48 mbps
Upload:  0.24 mbps
Ping: 76ms

Rafe’s Tracker Map

De Molen Windmill

We’ve passed through Foxton several times and every time have said, we should have stopped to check out that Windmill.. well, this time we did and what an amazing project.

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The Windmill

It is modelled on a 17th century Dutch Windmill with some modern changes to meet NZ building codes.

The Milling gear in the Windmill

De Molen was setup by two Dutch immigrants Jan Langen and Cor Slobbe and opened in 2003. It was established as a monument to all the Dutch immigrants that came to New Zealand and bring tourism and create some employment for the town.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

There is easy Motorhome parking behind the Public Library right next door on grass. Admission is $2 for a self guided tour and from the top, you can right out to Foxton beach and also a great view over the town.

Looking out to Foxton Beach

Its well worth doing and Fiona and I also saw the Rembrandt paintings on at the Library right next door. A really interesting hour or so,k

Rafe’s track to the Windmill

The Big Ride to the Horeke Pub

After a great night of catching up with Helen, Chloe and Jessica along with Dianne and Gary, it was time to get some sleep for the big 30k ride the next day.

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Getting the bikes ready

The next morning, Helen and the the girls set off to check out the Bay of Islands and we got organised and set off towards Horeke.

The top part of the Trail

We simply crossed the road and headed off down the trail. The first part of the trail is downhill..some of it so steep that you are advised to walk it! The first third is pretty much downhill but then it flattens out and its up and down the rest of the way through to Horeke but the trail is pretty easy and nicely set out.

Riding beside the stream

The middle part of the ride go’s through Snows Farm and past a Lily pond and the track is set in some really nice easy bush and along side a river. The scenery and countryside is amazing.

Dianne and Fiona

Eventually the track comes out to a road and then cross’s over to a huge wooden track built up over the Mangroves on the upper reaches of the Hokianga. From there it is only a few K’s to the pub.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

We were well and truly ready for a G&T and a sit down lunch and the lunch didn’t disappoint!  The Seafood Chowder was recommended to us by Noeline at the Rail Stay so 4 Seafood Chowders later, everyone was happy.

Peter the Publican came over to say Hi and it was interesting talking to him. He has owned the Horeke Tavern for more than 25 years so has seen some big changes.

Horeke Pub

Peter runs a shuttle for bikes and gave a us a ride back to the Rail Stay. Gary being a bit of sucker for some more punishment, decided to ride back on his electric bike and did it in really good time too, despite it being mostly uphill on the way back.

Back for a cold one with Rafe later.. Dianne, Jessica, Helen and Gary.