What has happened to the fine Spring weather? The rain came down in sheets, and the strong winds never gave up. The weather this morning at Marton was quite atrocious. We watched as one by one the overnight visitors at the NZMCA park departed. Luckily we had time to sit it out in camp this morning and hope that the weather would improve before we moved on again, with just a short 40km drive to take us to our next stop at Wanganui. After a hot lunch of soup and toast to warm us up, we finally got on our way. Although the rain had eased, the wind buffeted our caravan all the way to our POP on Durie Hill. We’re on power here for the next couple of nights, but can’t get TV reception through the many trees on the property. So it will have to be listening to the radio and our own company instead. There are walks we can take through this large property, we were advised, but we will have to wait till the weather finally improves before we do that.
Once we were settled on site we left Muffy curled up in the caravan and took a Tiki Tour (see here for a meaning of a "Tiki Tour")to get our bearings and do a reccie to check out where we have to go for tomorrow’s activities. On the way back to the caravan the Memorial Tower on Durie Hill beckoned. This was unveiled in 1925 as the official Wanganui County Memorial to those who died in WW1, and is constructed of cemented marine sandstone containing shell-rock from a nearby quarry. The public can climb the 33.5m tower, as we have on previous visits. But not today, with the cold wind still blowing a gale – it would be like being blasted with polar winds at the open top of the tower.
We got a good view looking down the hill at the Wanganui River, and of the Waimarie coal fired paddle steamer. We will have to plan a longer return trip to Wanganui sometime, and take a ride on the paddle steamer, that would be fun.
Waimarie paddle steamer
There are two towers overlooking the Wanganui River, so we set off to find the other one on the top of Bastia Hill. It is a concrete water tower, built in 1927 at a cost of 2000 pounds, and still in use today. It must be dual purpose these days as it bristles with communication equipment. This tower is 44.5m high with a spiral staircase, but is fenced off and the public are not now permitted to climb this elegant looking structure.
The clouds started darkening as we drove back to our POP, the temperatures dropped dramatically and down came the hail just as I was fumbling to unlock the gate on the property. Once safely inside the caravan thunder rumbled overhead and lightning flashed in the sky. It’s going to be quite a night, lucky we have have power available here – I’ll be able to switch my electric blanket on. What bliss!