There were a couple of jobs to do before we hooked up and left Ashburton – a visit to the laundromat and put the 4WD through the car wash. After all those gravel dusty roads we’d been driving on, the car was rather dirty and dusty. Then it was back to our delightful POP to hook up, and be on our way. Donegal Downs is such a lovely place, we would have been happy to stay much longer, but really needed to keep travelling northwards.
Ready to move on
Our time spent in Ashburton had been great, and there are sure to be places to discover that we didn’t find – perhaps next visit.
Goodbye to Ashburton
Heading northward, we crossed the bridge over the Rakaia River once again. The present road bridge was opened in 1939 and spans 1.8 kilometers of one of the world’s best examples of a ‘braided’ river, and the rail bridge is on one side. These two bridges are New Zealand's longest road and rail bridges.
Crossing NZ’s longest road bridge, with the equally log rail bridge beside it
Getting closer to Christchurch City, we passed the small town of Dunsandel, which always brings back memories of that Kiwi song written by Ken Avery, “By the Dog Dosing Strip at Dunsandel I fell in love with you””. Non Kiwis may not be aware of such things, but hydatids testing was done regularly on dogs, and I certainly remember taking my own dog to the strip in the Hutt Valley many years ago. There are no such things these days as dog dosing strips, but the connection to Dunsandel lives on. After an intensive hydatids control programme, New Zealand was declared free of the disease in 1999.
If possible, we like to arrive at our destination about lunch time or early afternoon at the latest. We pulled into Weedons NZMCA Park at 1.00pm, found somewhere to park up, wound the legs down, switched the fridge on, and we were ready for lunch. And copious amounts of water, as it was another extremely hot day.
At Weedons Park
Although not full, there was quite an array of vans parked around the edges of the large park. And as expected, more rolled in all afternoon and early evening. With all our tiki-touring around, Robin had to go and purchase some more Road User Charges – just to keep us legal.
It was very pleasant sitting outside after our evening meal under the shady awning, watching the day slowly come to an end. We are under the flightpath to Christchurch Airport and plane after plane kept flying overhead as they made their descents. The temperature slowly cooled and we watched the colours of the sunset – pretty peachy-pink against a clear blue sky.
Sunset at Weedons