Having had a peaceful night at the Rakaia Gorge Camp we woke to the sun streaming in through one of the windows of the campervan and the promise of a much better day weather wise we decided to move on.
It was so much nicer to be driving with the sun shining again whilst we followed the scenic route along State Highway 72 with no real fixed plan about where to stop or what to look at.
Since we crossed on the ferry we have been surprised by the number of motorbikes we have seen on the road. You can see four in this shot but we had passed as many as fifteen to twenty in one group. Turns out that the Burt Munroe Challenge was on over the weekend so last week they where all driving to Invercargill and this week they are all riding back again. The press say that there where 3500 people attending so lots of bikes on the road.
Arriving in Geraldine I remembered reading on Chris Miller’s blog https://buggeritweareoff.com about the wonderful car and machinery museum so Sarah and I agreed to make a stop. It was really easy to find handily located on the main road with easy on street parking right outside at only $15 per adult we thought it was good value.
There is such a varity of stuff that you could spend hours looking at all the different items that all had at least a small label stating what they where as sometimes it was a bit confusing. Othertimes it was obvious like the old breakdown truck.
With seven exhibition halls we spent almost two hours viewing the exhibits making it a must view if you are in Geraldine with some time to spare.
The other thing Chris had talked about was a place to stay called Peski’s just out of town in fact he rated it as his top place to stay on his recent South Island trip so we decided to accept his recommendation checking in for the night. Right from the moment we met Sue the owner of the property and saw her fabulous gardens we knew we had made the right choice.
Part of the property includes a walkway to the river that runs next door to the property and most of the pathway is bordered on both sides by masses of plump ripe delicious blackberries. One of the downsides of our camper is that the stove is positively useless otherwise a crumble or pie could well have been an option. The walk is probably only two minutes but it would have taken us more like twenty as we sampled the product on the way to the river.
Th official camp manager Tui came to visit us later in the afternoon she used to belong to the previous owners of the camp and was unable to go with them when they retired to a rest home so the new owners adopted her. She is a real character inspecting each camper as they arrive making her very popular and well known with people who visit the camp.
It’s such a small world when we were at Marfells Beach Geoff and Renee arrived parking next to us on our second night there. Then when we arrived at Peski’s I backed the camper into an available spot that turned out to be right next door to them again. We had a very pleasant evening getting to know each other parting this morning with Sarah joking that we have placed a GPS tracker on their caravan.
Not far out of Geraldine we came across a group of Citroen 2CV’s with the lead vehicle broken down on the side of the road. Obviously a group tour/rally as each of the vehicles was numbered. It would appear that it was only a minor mechanical glitch as not long later whilst we collected some supplies in Fairlie we came across the group grabbing coffees at the local bakery.
Fairlie is the first town in the Mckenzie Country that you come too with this sculpture reflecting the history of the area.
A sign that you are in the high country comes with the first sightings of mountains with a dusting of snow on the tops and the grass changing to tussock. The country is just so different from what we had been driving through in Canterbury.
Not long after Fairlie we came to the amazing Bourkes Pass nothing more than a pin stop on someones map of the South Island but the people who live here have made it extra special, Stopping outside the historic church making sure we were well off the road we stepped inside the historic church and admired the patterned roof together with the old pews with a few historic plaques on the wall worth a stop just for this.
But what actually made us stop was the general collection of stuff that is Bourkes Pass it was just amazing from the Airstream Motorhome down to second hand licence plates for sale from all round the world it was a car enthusiasts dream.
It was like a visit to a free museum with stuff just piled everywhere. I did wonder about theft and stuff just going walkies but then realised that I am in the South Island as there in no way a place like this could exist north of the Bombay Hills. Almost every item had a price so if you want some thing for your shed this would be well worth a visit.
Arriving into Tekapo we wanted to go and have a look at the famous church but the four tour buses and numerous vehicles in the car park put paid to that, so after a quick photo opportunity with the dog it was off to the NZMCA camp (8065) to check in for a couple of days, I will do another post on the time spent in Tekapo.