Luckily the wind had dropped away overnight which should have made towing a breeze. But what was that strange noise we kept hearing? We had several stops on the side of the road. Robin lifted up the bonnet to peer inside to make sure that everything was as it should be. Then he checked the tyres in case one was a bit deflated, or too hot, or had a suspicious looking bulge – everything seemed fine there too. After emptying out at the dump station the noise seemed to go away, so we continued on our way, goodness knows what had was causing it. As we approached Taihape I had the camera ready to try and capture a painting of an engine on a farm shed we had noticed previously. With nowhere to pull over and stop it was a matter of point out of the window and hope for the best.
Somebody loves trains
We decided to stop at Mangaweka for the night as it is one of those places on the main road that we usually rush by. And blogger Chris wrote a blog about staying there recently which piqued our interest. There are two quite different camps available, and we stayed in the very rustic Mangaweka Campground.
On site at Mangaweka Campground
We had to travel to Awastone, the other motor camp to register and pay our fees, situated over the old metal Mangaweka bridge spanning the Rangitikei River. We know it will safely carry us, as we have previously towed the caravan across this bridge on the way to Rangiwahia camp.
We were warmly welcomed at Awastone Camp. This is a much more up market motor camp with lovely facilities, including a café, and we would like to try it out sometime we are passing this way again. We were invited to look around, and were very impressed with what we saw.
Entrance to Awastone Camp
Before we drove back to Mangaweka we did a little tiki-tour up the hill and found another interesting bridge to cross. The Mangarere Bridge has a span of 320 ft and was built in 1966. Local farmers will be interested to note that they can take a maximum of 120 bullocks or 1200 sheep across the bridge at one time.
Then we drove the short distance back to town. So….. what’s to see in the historic Main Street of Mangaweka? Not a lot, as it turns out. The street is lined with very historic buildings indeed, but practically all of them are boarded up and empty.
Historic Main Street in Mangaweka
Sadly the pub has no beer and was closed up tight, waiting for a new buyer. The only things in town which we noticed were alive and well was the Play Centre, a church or two, the Post Shop and Barber establishment and the Volunteer Fire Brigade. Even the “world famous in Mangaweka” café in a vintage DC3 aircraft at “Mangaweka International Airport” was all boarded up and looking forlorn.
Former café in a DC3 airplane
Nevertheless, the camp grounds are delightfully rustic, and priced accordingly. We are surrounded by massive trees, the birds are singing, and the Rangitikei River rushes by past the majestic white papa rock cliffs. It is a delightful place to be indeed.