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.|
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.