The big white bus was full of 60 Up members all happy to be having a “Big Day Out” in Woodville yesterday. Our favourite bus driver Peter soon had us all aboard and settled down as we headed north, taking us through the Manawatu Gorge. Yes, the gorge was now open, Peter assured me. This stretch of road often suffers from slips and was closed after heavy rain for a few days in June. Then in July it was closed again for a day or so when a large tanker was left hanging over the guard rail. The driver of the tanker hung in the cab in a "life-threatening position" for 30 minutes before he was rescued. No wonder many drivers approach this road with fear and trepidation! Luckily our bus trip was safe and uneventful and once through the gorge it was just a short drive to Woodville.
A crane arrives in the gorge to lift the truck from the ledge. Photo: Warwick Smith/Fairfax NZ
Our first stop was to the Gottfried Lindauer Replica Studio, a gifted artist who had quite a connection to Woodville. Born in Bohemia, he studied at the Vienna Academy of Art. To avoid being drafted to the Austrian military service he left for Germany and in 1874 boarded a boat to New Zealand. He soon specialised in portraits of the Maori race, and many prominent Maori chiefs commissioned his work, in which he recorded their facial tattoos, clothing, ornaments and weapons. In 1890 he built a house and studio on four hectares of land on Pinfold Road, living there until his death in 1926, at the age of 87. The replica studio contains reproductions of many of his paintings. I could only take a photo of an overview of the interior, I was told, and not to focus on any one particular painting.
Morning Tea was next, at Cafe 88. Most climbed back on the bus for the short ride, but we decided on a brisk walk up the main street, arriving well before the bus arrived. As we were happily tucking into our coffees and date scones, our fellow passengers were waiting to be served, with the queue stretching out the door and onto the footpath.
We had an hour or so to fill in before lunch, but that wasn’t hard to do. Woodville has quite an assortment of antique and second hand shops, some better set out than others, offering all sorts of articles from by-gone days, so we were happy to potter around. And what’s this - another cafe with such a cute name, especially for someone like me who is very fond of piggies. We’re going there next time, I declared.