It was just a short 26km drive today to our next overnight stop at Invercargill. The car and caravan were humming along nicely on SH29 when the radio news came on. The news was grim – traffic was banked up for miles as drivers were trying to leave Auckland for New Year, and the same problem was happening in Wellington along Kapiti Coast. But check out the state of the roads down here as we were getting near to Invercargill – not another car in sight on the road!
No traffic on the road down here
We pulled into Ascot Raceway, in practically the same place by the grand-stand as we were six years ago. Muffy was traveling with us back then, and we remembered that she found a bush of cat-nip in the garden and rolled about all over the place with a happy look on her face! There is one more power point beside us, so perhaps another van may join us later on.
At Ascot Raceway
The race track
There is a thriving Fruit Market up and running in the old wooden tote building, selling lots of lovely local fruit. I purchased some fresh Otago apricots and some more cherries – both nice and tasty. Customers were coming and going all day and there was a bit of excitement in the afternoon. The father of a family group was looking for the toilets and wrenched open a door, setting off the burglar alarm. It rang, and rang so loudly, on and on, and we advised the family to stay to explain what had happened. Eventually the manager arrived to reset it, peace ensued, and the family went on their way.
Ascot Raceway Fruit Market
Robin was looking for a hose connection and what better place to go looking than E Hayes and Sons Hardware world famous in Invercargill. Ernest Hayes originally started his engineering business in Oturehua, and invented the Hayes fence strainer in 1905 – still manufactured today and used on nearly every farm in New Zealand. The hardware shop was opened in Invercargill in 1932 and is still going strong today.
Hayes delivery van
Burt Munroe was a southern bloke with a passion for speed and is well known for his motorbike which was known as “The World’s Fastest Indian”. In August 1967 Burt claimed the World Record for Class S-A 1000cc with an average speed of 184mph, a record which still stands. After a stroke in 1977 Burt Munroe sold his beloved bikes and the contents of his shed to Hayes to ensure it remained in Southland. People visit the shop from far and wide to check out the wonderful vintage bike and other memorabilia – and there were plenty there today.
Burt Munroe’s original bike protected in a glass case
Replica Streamliner aerodynamic shell originally designed by Burt Munroe
On our drive back to the van we passed by the magnificent Town Hall, built in 1906 and fully renovated in 2005 – such a lovely building. The complex has a Category 1 New Zealand Historic Places Trust classification which means the building is of national significance.
Invercargill Town Hall