Cunninghams On Parade - 2017 New Zealand: Return to the Shire travel blog

The geography of the Otago Central Rail Trail region appears a little...

The first town we came to on the OCRT was Hyde.  The...

there was a self service cafe that had a huge selection of...

We took a side trip from our camper park to the tiny...

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Omakau, New Zealand

TRAVEL QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.” - Mark Twain

Slept pretty well, not too much highway noise in the night and the neighbors were quiet too. Got up with the alarm at 6:30 (since we’d turned in early, Art was raring to go at daybreak). Had some cereal and tea and coffee; it was chilly outside, in the middle 40s - definitely not summer weather! LOL. Dressed and were on the road at 8:45 to the Otago Central Rail Trail. The plan is to ride out and back on a couple sections of it while the weather is so nice. Beautiful sunny day and it warmed up nicely as the day wore on.

Got to Daisybank car park for the trail about 10:15. No other cars there but we see people biking along the trail so we’re in the right spot. Took a bit to get the bikes situated with all our gear since it’s our first ride totally self supported and with our regular bike stuff in our bags. But we persevered and were finally ready to ride off at 11:30. Beautiful day! This was a picturesque part of the trail and it was through a small gorge with a cute little river down below lined with willow trees. Lots of hills around and lots of sheep! Did you know there are 4 sheep to every 1 human on South Island - that’s a lot of sheep!

We rode about 6 miles to the town of Hyde. “Town” is being generous; it was a small collection of buildings that the train used to run past. The old West looking hotel had closed but someone has opened the side room of it as an “honesty cafe” where they had fruit, cold drinks, hot water and packets of tea/coffee, snacks and ice cream. Plus an honesty box to put your money in. It was really quite charming and I LOVE the fact I’m in a country they can still do this in. Can you imagine such a thing in the US?!?

This was our turn around point and we headed back to the car, loving the beautiful sunshine and the bluest Carolina blue sky - just like home in October when it’s just so unbelieveably clear. Total distance was about 21kms. Got to the camper at 2:00 and made some lunch: PBJs and apples and we ate at the carpark’s picnic table. It was quiet and a nice temp in the shade; I’d guess it was mid 60s. Finally pulled out of there at 2:45 headed to Omakau which is also along the trail but a bit larger settlement (not by MUCH) and went to the local campground run by the local government and checked in for 2 nights for $50NZ cash. They also charge $2NZ for a 6 minute shower in the ablutions block which is not my favorite - I hate timed showers but a shower is good because I don’t want to take one in the camper if I don’t have to. You spray water all over the bath cubicle including the toilet seat and it’s just a mess. So showers are way better at a campground! Art also bought a WIFI card of 250mb for $2NZ so we’ll see how that works out; it was so cheap we just thought we’d try it. Arrived in Omakau at 4:00.

Picked a parking space and there were quite a few campers already there, by the looks of them mostly locals. But there were a few campers like us and a couple of tent dwellers as well. Got settled in, got the bikes out and headed out and about at 5:30 to the nearby small town of Ophir. Sense a trend here? All of these are tiny little places where just a few people seem to live nowadays but they may have been more in the railroad’s heyday. I thought we had seen small town New Zealad on previous trips but no…..this time we are getting off the beaten path a whole lot more and seeing more small towns than I’ve seen in YEARS…..Saw a cool suspension bridge in Ophir from 1880 and did a video in front of it. Back to our “town”; it was a nice ride of about 10kms total.

Stopped at the 4 Square market. Got there at 6:05 and they close at 6:30 so we got there with a bit to spare. Got some paper towels, toothpaste for Art and dishwashing soap. Leisurely biked back and stopped by the local bowling club where they do lawn bowling. Art stopped first and we got to talking with a couple of local ladies as the guys finished their game. It was a very nice chat; they asked us about the US and what we were doing here. Gave some advice on bike rides and also gave us a small, good-natured rip on Trump (that happens everywhere - LOL). Got back to the camper at 7:00 and made dinner. We warmed up the leftover Indian from a couple nights ago in the camp kitchen and ate at our table in the camper. It was a very nice supper; got to try 2 of Art’s Beer Library beers: Pernicious Weed by Garage Project Brewing in Wellington and Delicious Pale Ale by Ghost Brewing in Christchurch. Both were pretty good actually.

Dinner done and it was on to showers. It took me about 5 trips to finally get all my stuff into the shower block; it’s my first try this trip and it’s hard to remember everything to take in there. Finally got to take the shower and I’ll tell you that 6 minutes goes by in a hurry! It was a good shower though, lots of hot water and good water pressure and it was clean. Sadly, they have a motion sensor in there and I got put in the dark a couple times; luckily other gals came in and out and I got light again fairly quickly. Got through and was ready to dry my hair and realized I had forgotten to bring the adapter in with me, so back to the camper for that and FINALLY got through getting clean and beautiful - whew, that was a workout! LOL

Back inside, I put everything away and caught up on the blog as Art got his shower and then worked on charging things up. It’s a big job to keep all our electronics charged and ready to go; electrical things are wonderful but they do require some work in order to make our lives easier! We’ve got the video camera, a regular point and shoot camera, two cell phones, an MP3 player, 2 Anker batteries we use as backup batteries for the phones, and the ipad. Whew! We made a reservation at a camper park in Wanaka for Friday and Saturday nights so we can go to Wanaka which was on the list anyway and also to be there for their A&P show, think county fair Kiwi-style!

Finally finished and headed to bed about 11:30; it was chilly even with the heater going (the one that works when plugged in). I absolutely hate going to bed cold - one of the reasons I don’t tent camp any more - well, cold plus I hate sleeping on the ground too! LOL

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