There we were, minding our own business, quietly eating our lunch in the caravan on a side street in Hunterville. Before we knew what was happening a whole posse of dark green army utes pulled up one after the other behind us and an empty trailer unit. One, two three, goodness me, there are six army vehicles. Car doors slammed as soldiers in camouflage uniforms jumped out of the cars and started striding purposely towards us. What was happening? Was it a coup? Were they here to put Hunterville into lock-down mode and keep us prisoner, or maybe their role was to protect the town from invaders? The young soldiers kept on walking, on past our caravan, over the bridge, and disappeared into the town. There was one soldier left on the footpath, who looked like he could well be in charge. “What’s happening”, I asked, “are you here to take the town hostage?” “No madam”, he assured me, no doubt wondering what on earth I was going on about. “We’re from Linton Army Camp and the new recruits are getting some practice in navigation”. So there was no coup happening in Hunterville after all.
After being reassured that we were safe, the soldiers returned, jumped into the six army vehicles, and roared off back to camp. With our lunch over, it was time for us to continue on our way too. Driving north out of town and up the Hunterville hills we noticed three army trucks coming towards us. No doubt ready to catch up with those young soldiers somewhere down the line.
Then down the hill we passed under the impressive Makohine Railway Viaduct – always worthy of photo, I feel. It was one of many viaducts designed by engineer Peter Seton Hay in the central part of the North Island Main Trunk railway. Built between 1896 and 1902, the Makohine Viaduct project suffered numerous delays due to soil conditions, flooding, inclement weather, and a steel strike in England. It spans a bush-clad gorge, approximately two kilometres (km) south of Ohingaiti.
We are stopping the night at Taihape River View Holiday Park. We knew this camp in earlier years as Abba Camp, probably so named as it is on Old Abbatoir Road. The camp is situated on the banks of Hautapu River and surrounded by hills.
There was only one other caravan in residence when we arrived in the early afternoon. We were joined by Geoff and Eileen when they caught up with us later in the day. Plenty of choice for sites so we chose two on the hard standing close to the barn type structure which houses the ablution block.
We’re moving on tomorrow, heading to Ohakune for the weekend. Brrr, might well be chilly up there, it’s close to the mountains.