20 October 2018

Time For A Break

After losing our much-loved dog, ‘Paddy’ we decided to get away for a few days. 

We packed up the bus and headed over to the Coast, with a few stops along the way. The first stop was at Kawatiri Junction. And Bernie being Bernie, as soon as we parked, he put the jug on, while I took the dogs for a wander.

Kawatiri Junction is between Nelson and Murchison. It’s where SH6 and SH63 meet. There used to be a tiny settlement there, named ‘Kawatiri’, which had a railway station. The Kawatiri Railway Station, was one of 25 stations on the railway line that ran between Glenhope and Nelson. 

Close by is a short walk to a wooden foot bridge that crosses over the Hope River and just over the bridge is an old railway tunnel. The tunnel isn't long so a torch isn’t essential. 

The Kawatiri Rail Tunnel built in 1929.
Once through the tunnel the walk loops back along the river.

Kawatiri Juction is owned by DOC. Camping is allowed and dogs are okay as long as they’re under control.

After our cuppa, we drove through Murchison. Our next stop was at Lyell. In its heyday Lyell was a prospering goldmining town with a population of near 2,000. It’s now a campsite, maintained by DOC. There’s loads of space to stay and dogs are allowed. If you are intending to stay with dogs, check first that no 1080 has been dropped.

None of the original buildings remain in Lyell, and looking around it's hard to believe it was once a thriving settlement. Nearby is a bush walk and after about ten minutes of easy walking, in amongst the native bush are a handful of headstones, some surrounded by wrought iron fences with large trees growing out of them. This old cemetery was used in 1870 - 1900 and as the ground was steep and rocky another cemetery was later created on the flat, a kilometre or so down the road.

As we walked back to the bus, the dogs suddenly became excited. Their sense of smell must be amazing, because when we rounded the next corner, there on the track were three wild goats. I say wild, but they didn’t act that feral. They seemed friendly enough but I didn’t go in for a pat - their horns put me off!

Lyell has several other short walks and is also the start of the ‘Old Ghost Road’ (a popular 85 kilometre, mountain-biking/tramping track that ends in Seddonville).

After an hour or so relaxing, we hit the road again … on our way to Kumara to check out what had been done to our block of land.

29 September 2018

'Ohhh' for Okiwi Bay

About an hour from Nelson is a peaceful little bay, 'Okiwi Bay'. 

This was to be our first night in the bus (we'd only been on day trips). It was time to test things out. 
Leaving home, we weren't sure which way to head and then the weather decided for us. The West Coast was forecast for rain but it looked dry towards Blenheim. So eastwards it was ...
On the other side of the Whangamoas there's a picnic area that we stopped at. It's still a novelty being able to pull over, climb into the back of the bus and put the jug on. Bernie is a 'tea-aholic', and can't go far without a cuppa!

I could hear running water nearby, so I took the dogs for a walk in that direction.

Although the picnic area was a nice spot - we were disappointed by the rubbish scattered about. As I got closer to the river, I smelt a foul, decaying smell. And sure enough, not far away was the culprit - a decomposing goat carcass. Now, I know that smell would be heavenly to our dogs, for me ... not so much. So it was back to the bus and after we'd quenched our thirst, we were off.

The place where we were to spend the night is just a stone's throw away from the beach.  How lucky to be able to stay here, right on the foreshore.

Once again, Bernie put the jug on, and I walked along the beach with the dogs.

At the eastern end of the bay there's a little wooden bridge crossing a stream flowing out to sea.

We ( Boo, Oakly and I), crossed the bridge and followed a track through the bush.

It's not a long walk (maybe 10 minutes each way), but it was nice to be amongst the bush and to hear native birds close by.

After our 'bush fix', we wandered back to the bus. While the dogs happily chewed on bones,  Bernie and I enjoyed looking out over the bay.

Later in the afternoon, the tide began receding.

 It was time to explore the rock pools.

I love looking around the rocks, searching the tidal pools to see what might be living and hiding in there. Luckily, Oakly, enjoys it as much as I do.

There wasn't much bird life around, just a couple of Oyster Catchers.

When the tide turned, we headed back to the bus.

I was hoping to get some reflection photos, but it wasn't to be.

Some crafty marine creatures had left some impressive artwork on the sand.

Oakly had to have that one last look for that ever elusive stone ...

And then we were homeward bound.

This seat looked too inviting to walk past. I sat and soaked up the serenity and salty air.

A couple of fishermen left it too late and had to walk a few hundred metres until it was deep enough to start their motor.

The owner of the boat below was also late getting back and couldn't get to the boat ramp. Luckily he lives nearby and waited until the tide turned to go and collect his boat.

Later we were treated to a brief sunset, as Bernie began making dinner.

I really do need to learn night photography, I would of loved to have captured the moon light sparkling over the water. It was stunning!

We had breakfast outside just after 7 and already it warm (and entertaining). Tractors and 4WDs appeared with boats in tow.

No backing the boat for this guy (below), he was pushing his boat in front of his tractor. Nice and easy to launch.

Boats seemed to appear from nowhere. Once launched, and all aboard they headed out for a day on the water.

We could easily have spent hours watching the comings and goings (and so too could have the dogs), but it was time for us to pack up and move on.

We'll definitely be back again.

26 September 2018

Beauty at The Beach

It was a gorgeous spring day and better still, it was the weekend. A great combination for some 'RnR'.  And where better to spend an afternoon not far from home, than, Kina. 
Paddy wasn’t feeling very well, so we thought he’d be happier left at home. But he wasn’t having a bar of that. As soon as he saw us open the bus door, he was in like a shot and refused to get off the couch!

When we arrived at the Kina Recreation Reserve, instead of heading to where you stay overnight, we veered to the left. It’s a large grassy area with trees dotted about for shade and the beach is just a hop, skip and a jump away. Although you can't camp overnight in this area, it's an ideal spot to spend a few hours.

Even before I’d turned the engine off, Bernie had turned the jug on. I wasn’t as eager as Bernie for a cuppa, so while he quenched his thirst, I took the dogs for a walk.

What a gorgeous beach. To the left there are huge towering cliffs, and to the right you can walk to Ruby Bay. The beach is covered in flat stones, driftwood and patches of sand. And better still, I had it to myself. Just me and my dogs.

Although the council reserve for camping is relatively small, it’s a camper’s dream. If you’re among the first half a dozen campers to arrive, there’s plenty of space to park along the foreshore, with spectacular views across Tasman Bay. 

The cost to stay is $5 per person, per night and under 16 years of age is free. There's a maximum stay of 4 nights per calendar month. The reserve has fresh water available, a long drop, (which, apparently is kept clean, but I never looked) and a few fire pits. Finding wood for a fire won't be difficult - there’s loads of driftwood scattered about and a few pine-cones. You'll be spoilt for choice for places to sit. Your options are; several logs, which have been swept onto the beach, picnic tables and seats ... all offering million dollar views.

When I got back to the bus Bernie was in 'relaxation mode' ... stretched out in the sun. It was just lovely. I rang Becs (my daughter) to tell her where we were and an hour later she pulled up in her wee ‘Bongo’ van. Her two wee dogs Inkah and Jett couldn’t get out of the van fast enough - they loved racing about exploring.

Becs made us a healthy salad for lunch and afterwards we spent the afternoon chatting, relaxing, walking and soaking up the ambience of this little slice of paradise.

How lucky are we to have this oasis on our doorstep!