I mentioned in the last post that we had been away 10 days from Waikanae and hardly moved. Here's what I mean:
|This shows part of the Tasman and Marlborough Districts - you can see Picton (where we started out) near the east of the picture and Collingwood, Pakawau and Puponga to the western side (where we got to in 10 days), with Nelson near the middle.
|And here is the extent of the South Island and Stewart Island. We had been to probably less than a 20th of it at the point I wrote the last post and this one...
After leaving Ann and Salvi's place in Stoke near Nelson the day after Chris's birthday, we headed for Collingwood. I know we have been over the Takaka Hill years ago - I seem to remember it was Chris who took us over when the kids were little and we were staying with him in Nelson.
Travelling it in a car is probably a bit less scary than being in the motorhome because you are not so high up and therefore cannot see down the steep banks beside you... And currently there are big sets of roadworks strengthening the corners that get eroded by slips in heavy rainfall. The process they are using involves digging back across the road to where the roadway and its bed a firm and strong. Then they build up the corner outwards using concrete and bolts into the rock. After that they prepare and place rock gabions (big rocks and little rocks in wire baskets) on a bed of rock and clay, build them up to the road surface level and seal it. A very very big job. And scary to drive past!
The whole road is 25kms long and maybe my blood sugar was low because I felt quite anxious driving the road and declared I wasn't doing it again. David did remind me there was no other way out so I would have to do it at least once more ... However, I think part of my anxiety may well have been that the rear view camera stopped working while we were travelling - thankfully at the base on the far side of the hill. It is spooky not having a rear view camera - I have two side mirrors which do a great job, but as they cannot be angled sharply enough (given the motorhome sides are slightly wider than the mirrors) for me to see directly behind me, it is disconcerting to lose that view and it doesn't feel very safe!
We stopped in Takaka for a bite to eat - found a lovely organic cafe and bought a couple of very yummy things: definitely NOT what I have previously expected organic places to sell (in my ignorance and prejudice ...) Takaka has a very hippy alternative vibe and I felt drawn back to the late 60s/70s when I saw a woman who would have fitted in seamlessly back then almost dancing down the street, barefooted and singing to the music through her tiny earphones - they were the only thing out of synch with the earlier period!
The holiday park at Collingwood was delightful - it has a new part and an older area, and we were in the latter. A good thing as we were parked up under the trees - given the heat and intensity of the sun, shade was a good thing! The hilarious thing was the facility block - it was an open sided barn-like building with a very high roof. There were about 6 separate cubicles (unisex) each of which had a toilet, handbasin and shower. They did not extend up to the roof, but they did have mosquito nets over the top! A novel way to protect people from bity things!
|Our place under the trees - good shade, but the beech trees bled sap on to the motorhome in the heat ... Better for us than being out in the sun though!
|In the evening we went for a walk around the village - a number of the sites are on or close to the side of the river with the Wakamarama Ranges in the background.
|Sunset over the Wakamarama Ranges, taken from just 100 yards or so from the Courthouse Cafe.
|Now that looks like an old courthouse, doesn't it? Apart from the cafe tables, chairs and umbrellas, of course! Photo taken in the morning before we went in to eat ...
I am finding that cafes and restaurants here are very happy to accommodate David's dietary needs. And the Courthouse Cafe in Collingwood was no different. And the breakfasts we had were really good.
We breakfasted there before heading up to Pakawau and Puponga to see the approach to Farewell Spit. It was a day of exploration as we stopped and looked at beaches and the amazingly clear water in what is a very large bay.
|As we crossed this bridge not far out of Collingwood, the river water was beautifully still and clear.
|This plant was underwater on one of the beaches that we stopped to look at.
|Near Puponga - I took this from the roadway because my friend Lesley in the UK and other UK friends were WhatsApping photos of their winter day. I admit it - I was being mean!
On Pakawau Beach we chatted with a couple, both of whom are truck drivers - it was the woman who told me about the road repairing process on the Takaka Hill. She was a fount of knowledge, and also had hair-raising stories about when the trees were felled on the roadside (leading to erosion of course) it became possible to see the cars abandoned after they had plunged off the road... AAARRRGGGHHH!!!
We decided not to head over to Wharariki to see the Archway Islands because pictures showed they looked very similar to rock formations in North Taranaki, albeit they are of different rock.
However we did walk across farmland (a very English pastime... ) to Pivot Point.
|Well, it's English in that it is a public footpath through farmland, but that is pretty much where the resemblance ends to be frank!
|Up and over the steps (not a stile) and down through the bush and flax to the sand dunes and the beach. That is the sea you can see there - next stop: Australia.
There were 4 people sitting on the beautiful white sand, but I had to have a paddle. So shoes and socks off and in I went - but only up to my shins.
|Looking back to the hill we came over
|And in the water
|Now where's the best place to put my shoes back on? Find a grassy spot, check for spiders and then sit to brush sand off the feet - sand in the shoes is uncomfortable in the extreme! ...
A quick chat with the people as they were about to head back to the carpark - and where were they from? South Taranaki, of course: Manaia and Kaponga.
Of course I had forgotten to take my Lieke stick (even though we had moved it from the garage into the cupboard by the bed to make sure we would remember to use it) and my right hip, knee and ankle were not happy! David found me a stick on the way back which did help a lot. He's a kind husband.
|On the walk back to the car/motorhome park.
We had been told by a couple the previous evening that the Langbourne store at Bainham was well worth a visit. So on the way back to Collingwood, still surprisingly with reserves of energy, we cut inland to Bainham.
It was not what I was expecting - I had expected it to be an old store extensively upgraded. But no! It was original inside and out. And rather than selling groceries and all other things such a store would have sold back in the day, it had lots of old cups, saucer and plate sets, china teapots, platters etc. I was very very tempted, but realised that I had had to give away some of my c,s&p sets when we shifted to Waikanae, so accumulating more was not an option. The lady did say she would buy mine off me when I am ready to sell though, as they go like hotcakes!
Mmm, shall keep that in mind as I don't think anyone in my family wants them when I shuffle off this mortal coil ...