Home a week – then away again, it’s a hard life sometimes being a caravanner. This weekend we have travelled to Ashhurst, 62kms north from home. The wind turbines looked quite eerie as they poked through the low cloud on them thar hills.
Ashhurst Domain Camping Ground is a pretty little camp, and a very reasonably priced one, too. It is in a beautiful setting of tall mature trees, with plenty of native totara trees, we notice. Just through the trees lies an extensive cemetery. We have stayed here several times before, and this time had the pick of the sites, parking up in solitary splendour. Perhaps we will get a neighbour or two as the weekend progresses.
There was another “Leisureline” owner in the car park, on his way further north with grand-kids in tow, and he called over to have a chat about the virtues of our particular brand of caravan. He was a very enthusiastic owner, and had just taken possession of a brand new caravan. They travel with two Burmese cats, he said, which bed down in comfort each night in the back of his station wagon, kept nice and cosy with a 12 volt electric blanket. He popped inside to meet Muffy, and was most impressed when we told him she is now 19 years old.
A walk up the main street of Ashhurst didn’t take too long. Ashhurst is a small country town of about 3500 people, and dates from August 1877 when the first European settlers arrived there. A private English emigration company called the Emigrant and Colonists’ Aid Corporation bought a 106,000 acre block stretching from the Rangitikei River across to the Manawatu Gorge. The Duke of Manchester was Chairman and so the land became known as the “Manchester Block”. The town was later named after Lord Henry Ashhurst, who owned land in the immediate area.
The low cloud had been blown away so we got good views of the wind turbines as they turned round and round, generating power for the national grid.
We needed a coffee fix after our tour of Ashhurst, and were pleased to note that the cafe adjacent to the camp has now been re-opened. Is this discrimination against our Muffy? Dogs are welcome, but what about cats?
Not only are dogs welcome, but they get a couple of treats too! No dogs were visiting while we were sipping our latte and cappuccino.
Not surprisingly, the Wetlands cafe overlooks a lovely area of wetlands. Pretty little native white-eyes and fantail birds were flitting around, but wouldn’t stay in one place long enough for me to get a decent photo.
We arrived back in camp to find we had neighbours, a car full of German girls. They had been travelling around New Zealand for the last 5 months, and will be returning home in a couple of weeks. With one tent between them, they take turns sleeping in the tent or in the car, they told us. That wouldn’t suit our middle aged bones at all, but they are young, and probably having the time of their lives.