09 Jan – leaving Dunedin but before heading out we parked up and went for a walk around the city streets to have a look at the large building murals. Some of them are really amazing. How the artists work around the building angles and still get the picture looking ‘correct’ sure is skill.
We also ended up buying the new Spark Drone from Noel Leemings that Neville absolutely ‘needs’. Oh well, once he’s learnt to fly it we might get some aerial footage as this one does have a camera fitted and will be easier to fly with all it’s automatic settings to avoid obstacles, let go of the controls and it just hovers until you decided what to do and a ‘return to home’ feature which is also automatic when the battery is getting low. Hey…I might even be able to fly it!!
It was a lovely day so we decided to head for Brighton Beach Domain again. It was really busy when we got there and the beach was also full of people..some sort of sports event or carnival going on. We had to wait till the cars emptied out later in the afternoon before we could move to ‘our’ good spot for the night.
The other side of the hill had views northwards along Ocean View Beach.
On the way back we walked along the roadside past the caravan park and store and across the bridge over the creek backwater. It does join up with the sea at high tide but there is hardly any flow…pretty yuckky that’s for sure!
Left Brighton the next day and drove south along the coast to Taieri Head where the Taieri River meets the sea. From there we headed inland over a steep hill towards Lake Waihola. Passed two elderly looking cyclists going up, laden down with large heavy-looking pannier bags. They were already walking…no wonder! But as the road kept on going up and up, we felt really sorry for them…it was going to take them ages to get to the top. Neville said pity we couldn’t have put a couple of ropes out the back and given them a tow!
We stopped briefly at Lake Waihola then headed for Mosgiel via a back road through Outram. Arrived at Mosgiel around lunchtime and looked for a fish&chip shop…every one we found was closed…bugger! So that ended that idea. Picked up some groceries and headed to the Taieri Rugby Club carpark for the night. Third time we’ve stopped there…has a dump station and a fresh water tap for just a donation. Interesting in that they have removed some horrendous road humps along the access road that caused us some grief last time (read that as bikes almost fell of the back!!). We were also visited by a ‘boom boom’ car full of idiots who did a wheelie right beside us during the night. Grabbed the camera to ‘flash’ them if they came back but they didn’t.
13 Jan – left town on SH87 heading towards Central Otago again. The road roughly followed the Taieri River upstream towards Ranfurly. Passed through Lee Stream, Clarks Junction and Sutton to arrive at Middlemarch by lunchtime.
Parked beside the Railway Station – opens Fridays and Sundays when the tourist train comes up from Dunedin.
It’s also the end of the Otago Central Rail Trail that starts in Clyde. At least the cyclists can get the train back to civilisation from there if they time it right.
We had a look around in the vicinity of the station and took a few photos of the buildings etc. Most of the places were closed, though we’d seen a few more businesses open along the main highway area as we’d driven through.
Across the road is the Strath Taieri Hotel the last remaining Pub in Middlemarch.
The entrance to the Hotel’s outside entertainment and seating area is guarded by two merino sheep statues. The ram was named Peter so presumably the ewe is ‘Mrs’ Peter!
From there we decided to head off the beaten track again, along the Moonlight Road between Middlemarch and Macraes Flat.
The road was gravel and very dusty…but it was an interesting route following Billys Ridge with some nice views along the way.
We turned west again at Macraes Road junction to rejoin SH87 just south of Hyde. Then decided to go to the Waipiata Domain to stay for a couple of nights. It’s not far from Ranfurly but it’s a nice quiet place to stop for just a donation. The Domain is now just a large mown field but it used to be the local sports playing grounds.
Another motorhome drove in on our second day…it was towing a large trailer full of ‘boys toys’…inflatable boat, outboard motor, quad bikes, canoes, e-bikes and associated paraphernalia. Such a lot of stuff to cart around and we wondered how often it all gets used in reality?
We packed up after our second night and moved on to Ranfurly. Since our last stay in the town, the NZMCA has opened up another Club Park there for members. It’s very conveniently sited at the end of the main street and almost opposite the 4SQ Supermarket.
We’d stayed in the carpark behind the Pub last visit to Ranfurly, so one night we went back for a meal, however, this time we were disappointed in the food standard and the prices have shot up! With more motorhomes staying in the area perhaps they’ve seen $ signs! Maybe the chef was having an ‘off’ night, but based on our meals, we won’t be in a hurry to go back again.
A strong hot wind had been blowing the last few of days and we’d been cooking in 30-32°C temps, so we were relieved when some clouds came over on our last day there and we got a bit of drizzle to cool things down. Once the rain stopped, Neville cleaned the solar panels and the outside windows…was nice to look out of clear glass for a change.
to be continued……
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