Success is getting what you want; happiness is liking what you get

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Camping in the Republic

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Camp grounds at Whangamomona

Formerly the local school, the campground at Whangamomona now doubles as the local Domain grounds. There is a large children's play area with slides, swings and climbing frames. A unfilled swimming pool was tucked around the side of the main building. This camp is on rain water, so a $2 charge is made for the use of showers. We had to make sure to keep the gate closed, to keep the goat and the camp manager’s horse safely inside. A couple of chickens were happily pecking around in the grass looking for insects and any crusts that came their way. We put our caravans on site and retired under a shady tree to eat our lunch. Robin and Peter set the cameras on the delayed timer and then quickly ran back to their seats so that they were included in the photos.

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As it was early afternoon we decided to go for a drive further down the Highway and check out the narrow Moki Tunnel before we towed our caravans through the following day. The tunnel was proposed by Surveyor Joshua Morgan in the 1890’s but construction did not start until 1936, under the Public Works scheme. It must have been quite a job using the two jack hammers powered by a coal fired, steam driven compressor. The coal was supplied from the local coal mine at Tangarakau Gorge. Later in the construction a diesel powered air compressor was used. Moki tunnel is known locally as Hobbits Hole, and the floor was lowered in 1989 to allow access for triple decked stock trucks. It is easy to see the tool marks on the tunnel sides, and the ceiling has a strong frame of locally milled timber.

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The drivers announced that there would be no trouble towing the caravans through this narrow tunnel the next day – just as well, I thought, or we would be in a spot of bother. If stock trucks can get through, we certainly can. We turned the cars around and drove back to camp, arriving just in time for 4zees.

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