Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – New Zealand chapter on The West Coast has to say about the towns of Hari Hari and Ross:
“Hari Hari made headlines in 1931 when swashbuckling Australian aviator Guy Menzies completed the first solo trans-Tasman flight from Sydney. Menzies crash-landed his plane into La Fontaine swamp. Menzies’ flight took 113⁄4 hours, 21⁄2 hours faster than fellow Australian Charles Kingsford Smith’s flight in 1928. At the southern end of town is a replica of Menzies’ trusty biplane.
Ross is where the unearthing of NZ’s largest gold nugget, the 2.772kg ‘Honourable Roddy’, caused a kerfuffle in 1907. The Ross Goldfield’s Information Centre displays a replica Roddy, along with a scale model of the town in its shiny years.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
These two little towns were just brief stops on a long, long day. We had started by hiking to the Fox Glacier and then we began driving north along the West Coast towards Greymouth. Our plan was to stay the night and then drop the car off near the train station in order to be ready to board the TransAlpine train for a journey up and over the New Zealand Alps to Christchurch.
We were happy to have little diversions along the way, otherwise it might have been like driving across the Canadian prairies with nothing to see or do for hundreds of kilometers. If we’d had a little more time, I wouldn’t have minded stopping in at Ross to see the replica ‘Roddy’, I can’t imagine a gold nugget that weighed almost three kilograms.
We had a few chuckles at Guy Menzies solo crossing of the Tasman Sea, especially when he crash-landed in a flat field, nose in the mud and tail up in the air, and then off he went for Afternoon Tea with the field workers who rescued him! ‘Only In Britain’ you say, not!