Due to the incessant rain, our planned picnic lunch at Alfredton Domain did not happen on Saturday. But the weather cleared after our (non picnic) lunch in camp, so we decided to go for a drive anyway. Most of our camping buddies had not been to Alfredton before, and were not aware that camping was permitted in the domain.
There are pretty areas under the trees for picnics or overnight camping. Toilets and water are available. and we noticed a young family camping out under the trees.
Sheep from the adjacent farm browse in the domain, so visitors must make sure to keep the gate shut. A handsome peacock kept a wary eye on us when our posse of cars arrived, but I crept up behind him to snap his photo. He probably belongs to the farmer who owns the sheep.
In the early days Joseph Masters, responsible for establishing the small farm settlements in Masterton and Greytown, had big plans for Alfredton. But although street plans were drawn up, most were never built. With the combination of poor soil and a much harsher climate than the lower reaches of the Wairarapa, and it was hard to eke out a living. Then Premier Julius Vogel's decision in the 1880s to take the railway line north from Mauriceville to Eketahuna, rather than through Alfredton, stopped any further development. This is a very quiet rural area, and Alfredton has a small school and a golf course.
We climbed back into the cars and drove through the countryside to Mangatainoka – home of the famous Tui Brewery. But no, that wasn’t our stop, we were having coffee at the pretty little cafe and lavender shop, “Purple Haze”. It was pretty as a picture looking out over the lavender beds from the cafe as we enjoyed our coffee and cake. “Purple Haze” is such a descriptive name for this business, and the lavender is almost ready for harvesting, we were told.
We all gathered under the veranda again in the evening, warmly dressed to keep the evening chill away. In keeping with the New Zealand theme for our Waitangi weekend rally, I presented a short quiz as a brain teaser. Questions such as “what year did women get the vote in NZ” (1893), “when did decimal currency start” (10th July 1967), and “which was the first town to have electric lights” (Reefton), had them all scratching their heads for a while. It was congratulations to Bill as he got the most correct answers.