Day 5 on the Rail Trail with another gorgeous day in the high country. Having done the bike ride both ways out of Ranfurly it was time to move on to another starting point. After some debate we set off for Becks with a stop in Naesby on the way to explore this historic village. Right where we parked you could have set off a shotgun down the main street and not hit a sole it was deserted.
Also close to our parking spot was the gate with the Fantails crafted into it, a very special gate that I am sure the owners must be happy with.
As we wandered around the village it was like we had stepped back in time with historic buildings everywhere at the far end of town. I believe that most of these are associated with the museum that was not open when we arrived even though it was well past 10am. Country Time I guess.
Like a lot of places we have visited the ownership of a lot of the older historic buildings is in private hands. We thought the stone cottage was something special with a babbling little creek running right past the house, so quaint.
With a permanent population of only around 100 Naesby relies both on the tourist/cyclist trade but also on the number of people that own holiday homes in town. A place well worth a visit.
On the main road on the way to Becks we drove past this old stone building right on the roadside, maybe an old store or similar as it looked to close to the road to be a house. Peeking through the windows it’s being restored inside. I am sure it will be wonderful once finished but it looked like a huge job.
We arrived in Becks to discover that actually its quite a distance from the Rail Trail and that the POP (#8719) alongside the local pub is actually quite close to the road. We rang Brian telling him to double back so we could all stay at the CAP (#8747) Hayes Engineering.
Now owned by Heritage New Zealand the old homestead and factory have become a museum that displays the farm as it was when the company operated from here. For those who don’t know Hayes manufactured and distributed a huge range of farm tools especially wire strainers and fencing equipment.
We had lunch in the small Cafe, just as well it was a fine day as they have no indoor seating but they do have some really yummy homemade pies. I had the Thai chicken which was just divine with Sarah having a sausage roll and Brian also a chicken pie. They also roast their own coffee on site it’s very good.
Admission into the museum is $12 per person with this fee also covering the fee for the overnight camping we thought this was good value.
The museum is spread over a number of buildings with each building representing the part it has played in the history of the company with the inside of building shown the office where samples of the product are on display along with old invoice books, typewriters, photo’s etc. One of the really interesting features of this place is that all the exhibits (if you can call them that) are open and on display so they can be touched or read as the case maybe. Totally unlike any other museum we have been to.
From the office it was outside, onto the tractor to show off my farming skills, that don’t exist and then into the workshop area.
The workshop is the original factory where all of the implements where manufactured it’s a fascinating place with all of the machines driven from a common driveshaft mounted in the rafters so depending on which piece needed to be used you could choose to power up that one whilst disconnecting the one you had been using. All the power came from their own windmill onsite or water power if the wind wasn’t blowing.
Through the back of the workshop is the Forge area, again all the tools are on display with no red tape or rope protecting the area so you can go touch as you please. Maybe theft is not an issue in parts like this but all the fruit boxes on the shelves contained items for the manufacture of items that if so inclined you could have put in your pocket or maybe with most visitors riding their bikes theft is not an issue.
With the tour completed it was time to head back to the motorhomes get out the bikes to start the days ride, but not before we had a great laugh about PC gone made with the sign about the rabbit holes. A very interesting place well worth stopping to spend some time here.
Starting the days journey at Oturehua the plan was to ride back to the highest point on the trail (619 metres above sea level) where Brian and I had ridden to yesterday then ride back to here and ride as far as we could in the other direction before returning to Hayes Engineering for the night. What you cannot see in the photos is that although it was a clear blue sky it was also blowing a gale although thankfully this was behind us for the uphill leg of the journey.
Reaching the highest point on the trail you also pass the marker telling you that you have crossed latitude 45. The Gangers hut here is called Seagull Hill I thought what a strange name but apparently they breed in the valley below. With the wind (hurricane force) blowing into our face we set off back downhill enjoying the scenery but as we reached the flat at the bottom it was hard going directly into the wind thankful for Ebikes I turned up the power put my head down slogging into it.
With Sarah deciding that the wind was to much for her Brian and I wanted to press on in the other direction with the ride towards the Ida Burn Station. With the track flattening out as it stretched out in front of us it felt like the wind was beginning to drop making the start of very pleasant riding conditions.
The Ida dam above is in winter an ice skating rink when it freezes solid. I would be tempted to come back to see this it would be so pretty. Brian and I had to laugh at the hand written sign (no photo) that tells you, you will be in big trouble if you dump rubbish.
One thing about this time of the year is that all the apples growing on the side of the trail are starting to ripen with Brian and I stopping to pick quite a number of a tree that had very tasty red ones. The apples and pears growing next to the track are apparently a result of the cores thrown out of the passenger trains as they chugged up the tracks.
It was sad to see the grave marked by the spade with no name anywhere to acknowledge who had died during what was probably a very hard physical job digging the whole track by hand.
Reaching the Ida Valley Station we noted that it was only 4 kms to the next stop at Auripo so we decided to press on, then return to the vans at Hayes Engineering. Another day another 40 plus kms on the bike.
That night we had all decided we would have dinner at the local pub in Omakau, when we arrived the place was quite crowded but with a table spare for us we sat down to have a meal. The landlord had informed us that as they were so busy the wait would be around 1 hour for the meal, soaking up the local atmosphere we decided to wait. Although I didn’t take any photos it’s a pleasant place if a little expensive for the meals.
The pub also has a park over property behind it (#8725) that backs directly onto the Rail Trail so although not as pretty as the place we stayed still a very convenient location if you are riding the trail.
I was going to publish the blog about the rail trail in 3 parts but there is so much to talk about that I believe that the last few days of the trail deserve their own blog… so to follow part 4 as we finish the trail and say goodbye to Brian