We packed up and said our goodbyes to Peski owner Sue at Geraldine and purchased some free range Peski eggs too from her, courtesy of the resident chickens. Then it was on the road again to travel down to Moeraki. The trip down SH1 took us past Timaru, crossing over the Waitaki River, and we skirted past Oamaru and all those grand old buildings made from Oamaru limestone. 160kms later we arrived at our destination and booked in for two nights at the Moeraki Village Holiday Park. There was plenty of room and unless a big crowd of arrives, it looks like we will have the top section of the camp to ourselves.
There may well be a rabbit problem in this area, as we spotted about a dozen rabbits. So there is sure to be many more hidden away in the bushes. Rabbits look cute and fluffy, but they can cause a lot of damage to farmland and gardens.
There are lots of rabbits in the camp grounds
After lunch we took a walk down to the village, stopping to admire the fishing boats moored in the bay, and came across an interesting memorial.
The monument commemorates the six Europeans and six Maoris who landed on the beach on Christmas Day in 1836 to establish a whaling station at Moeraki. The first season's whaling produced the total of 23 killed, yielding 28 tons of oil, paid at the rate of £8 to £10 per ton. At the end of the fifth season, whaling was not a profitable business, but occasional whales were killed up to 1850.
Commemorating the men arriving to set up a whaling station at Moeraki
The old jetty has an interesting story. Work started in 1872 to build the iron screw pile construction, which was prefabricated in England. However, the screw would not go into the sea bed nd brute force was used to hammer it in. The job was dogged by delays, from weather, difficulties in construction and accidents. Building stone and grain kept the little port busy for a while. But in 1879 the rails for the Moeraki Railway were lifted, and the the days of Moeraki’s commercial harbour had come to an end.
The remains of the old jetty are still in place
At the other end of the bay is a pretty beach covered in golden sand.
Several people we had met on our travels had recommended the Moeraki Tavern for a meal – especially the fish, we were told. That sounded pretty good to us, so off we went for our evening meal.
It was a very busy inside, both the bar and the restaurant. Once we had placed our orders, we were invited to join a lovely couple from the Chanel Islands, Dave and Dawn at their table. They were also staying at the same camp as us, but on the lower level. Our meals arrived and they looked and tasted delicious. Both of us had ordered blue cod, Robin wanted chips while I chose vegetables.
It was a great meal at the Moeraki Tavern
It was such a pleasant evening chatting to our dinner companions over the meal, so much so that they joined us for coffee in our van when we returned to the camp. Such an great night, interesting conversation, wonderful food, and shared with good company.