Sunday, 31 January 2016

Here and there in Central Otago - in which I go for a ride on the Central Otago rail trail and partake of quite a few cups of tea

Here and there
I am back in Central Otago. Big sky country.

I am supposed to be creating photographic masterpieces, but something has gone wrong.

Big sky is full of blue. Not  a cloud to be seen.

So I told myself to go exploring, and not worry about making masterpieces. Worrying never got masterpieces made....

First stop; get some fruit. Food nourishes the artist.



I chose these. The shop was unmanned.

I placed my money in the slot. Very honest are the kiwis around here.

honesty box and honesty card reader

Next stop a cup of coffee in Alexandra.

And the wraps looked good, so I bought one for my cycle ride.

I was off to cycle on the Central Otago rail trail.

I started in Lauder, one of the most dramatic sections of the trail.

The incredibly friendly people at the Station Cafe in Lauder had a bike, and let me hire it for a few hours.


I set off up the hill.

Poolburn shelter

The shelter at Poolburn has a grate and fireplace for a log fire. This is the coldest part of South Island in winter.

Poolburn tunnel

the exit

By the time I had made it up the hill and through two tunnels it was time for lunch.


I cycled on to the viaduct.

Poolburn Gorge viaduct

 A friendly guy, Gene Link, from Minnesota very kindly acted as my cinematographer while I demonstrated that I really can ride a trail bike. I love the fact that everyone talks to each other here in South Island. And I also owe Gene a big 'thank you' for 'mending' my bike after I dropped it. He very helpfully showed me how to turn the front wheel round the right way.

I stopped for another bite to eat - seed cake this time- I am 'well healthy'  most of the time..... as has been confirmed by a young lad at the supermarket checkout back home.

The way back to Lauder was happily all down hill.

I was hot and thirsty, and it was time for tea and another friendly chat. I learned that the population of Lauder is 12.

Tea at the station cafe.

As you can see, the photographer was not being very creative while cycling.

I slept in historic Ophir, and for the next 24 hours I tried to do better.

I set off on my way to Ranfurly, down empty roads in the sunshine.

Ida valley road

I travelled some miles in completely the wrong direction. OH ( my other half) would have realised immediately that the sun was facing the wrong way. I am not so astute.

I found wire.


I found two very friendly gold panners, who showed me their gold.


I found colourful beehives.


And a slightly artistic hill.


I was told by several people along the way to go to the village of Cambrian to say 'hello' to Bob Berry.

Now that seemed a step too far. I have never heard of Bob. Or Cambrian.

But I went, as advised, and found him. He was having tea with some woofers from France, but made me most welcome too.

(WOOFER= World wide opportunities on organic farms).

He is a keen gardener and his village is full of trees.

His chickens are friendly too.

Bob's chickens

and while I didn't get a hug, I did get a cup of tea, and a look at his photo album which shows a swathe of snowdrops in winter.

If you want to know more about Bob's garden look here on Pamela's blog.

tea at Bob's house

I also popped into the old schoolhouse, where I found some desks that took me back a few years.

Cambrian; school house

the school room

old desk

I found the rest area. Who could not wish to take a rest under these trees on a hot day?

the pond

typical home in Cambrian

helpful sign

Still no arty photos.

But so many lovely people and friendly conversations.

And I had better not tell you about driving my small car over the mountain on a 'road' that was really a mud track....

By the end of the day a few long white clouds had appeared, and I arrived in Ranfurly on the Maniototo plain.

long white cloud

No Grahame Sydney inspired photos today.

But I have been here and there, east and west....

here and there

Ida valley

And tomorrow is another day.

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