On Friday afternoon we four were enjoying 4zees in our van when a car drove into the back paddock where were were camped. Wonder who it was, perhaps the owner coming to collect the camping fees? Nope – it was none other than caravan friends Noel and Lynn, and we didn’t even know they were having their own version of a South Island holiday. It was so nice of them to take the time to track us down and pop in for a visit, and there was a lot of talking going on. With so much chatter – I forgot to take photos!
It was time to move on today, and both Robin and Bill were busy winding up the steadies, hooking up the cars, and we were both ready to continue on our respective journeys. Bill and Val were heading south to Peel Forest, while we were continuing north. It was so nice to meet up for the last three days, and spend a little time in their company.
Bill and Val – heading south
We traveled up SH1, with a lunch stop at Cheviot. As the weather was wet and miserable, we decided a hot pie was in order, and stopped at the Magpies Rest for a lamb pie and coffee. Plus a large jar of honey for Robin, produced locally at nearby Gore Bay. Robin loves his honey, and this large jar should keep him going for quite some time.
Then it was just a short trip further up the road to the Parnassus NZMCA Park. It takes its name from a local sheep run owned by a classical scholar, Edward Lee. He saw a likeness between a local hill and the Greek Mount Parnassus, mythical home of the god Apollo and the Muses.
The site was a former school and there is a large grassed area, or hard standing to park on, with the perimeter planted with many trees. There is a meeting room with the usual shelves full a swap-a-book, and less usual at NZMCA parks, two toilets are available. The park is almost like an island, cocooned between the busy SH1 on one side, and vast areas of farm land on the other. There were about 25 vans staying overnight.
It was to be a one night stop only, then my goodness, did the temperatures drop down low overnight. Then we were on our way to Kaikoura. The trip over the Hundalee Hills was windy and slow and eventually we made it to the coast. The damage done to the road and adjacent cliffs by the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake was certainly evident. The magnitude 7.8 earthquake occurred two minutes after midnight on 14 November 2016. Ruptures occurred on multiple fault lines and the earthquake has been described as the "most complex earthquake ever studied”. Work is still being carried out around the clock.
Scaffolding for safety and containers to keep and rock slides from the road
We drove past abseilers dangling from a rope on a cliff face, and they can work 10 hour shifts hanging from their ropes. The work involves drilling and fixing giant anchor bars metres into the rock, then pinning geomesh over the cliff face to stop rocks falling on the highway below. There were 10 big abseiling sites along the stretch of earthquake-affected highway, with approximately 79 abseilers from six companies carrying out road protection measures across the various sites.
Abselier at work
We arrived at the Kaikoura Trotting Club NZMCA Park, arriving at 1.00pm, in time for lunch. During the day more and more vans rolled in, and we were a packed in like sardines in a tin. The empty space beside us soon filled up with several vans tucked into the corner.
We are lucky we arrived early
Not much more room left now
The weather warmed up nicely during the day, causing us to shed a layer or two of clothing. We will be spending two nights here, which will give us time to do a little exploring tomorrow.