With the packing finally finished, it was time to hit the road – the only thing forgotten, as we discovered later, was Robin’s tomato sauce. Being a true blue Kiwi who loves his tomato sauce, this was a disaster, and it will have to be added to the shopping list. Travelling up SH57, we then went up and over the Pahiatua Track, passing through some lovely native bush.
The Pahiatua Track
This brought us out, as would be expected, at Pahiatua. It’s always nice to cross over the lovely bowstring arch bridge on the way into town. The reinforced concrete bridge was constructed between 1931 and 1932, built for the Pahiatua County Council in the midst of the Great Depression.
Bowstring arch bridge at Pahiatua
Not too far up the road is Mangatainoka – almost the Holy Grail as far as Kiwi blokes are concerned. This is where the world famous Tui beer has been “brewed on the banks of the Mangatainoka since 1889”, as the advert says. No time to stop, all we had time for was a quick snap out of the window as we sped past.
Tui Brewery at Mangatainoka
We stopped at Dannevirke for lunch, welcomed into the town by the Viking on the sign. The town was founded by Scandinavian immigrants, who were brought to New Zealand by the government in 1872 to fell the forest that covered much of southern Hawke’s Bay and to farm the cleared land. But did you know that Dannevirke was also known as “Sleepertown”? The cost of carting supplies to the frontier town was so high that the settlers could not repay the money owed for their passage. In the face of revolt, the government offered them work splitting railway sleepers from totara trees growing in the district, at the rate of one shilling per sleeper. Work progressed so well that the road through Dannevirke was lined for two miles with stacked sleepers up to twelve feet high. With the settlement largely obscured, it was nicknamed Sleepertown.
Dannevirke – known as Sleepertown in the early years
Just past Norsewood, another town founded by Scandinavian immigrants, something caught our eye in the rear vision mirror. It was the spare tire cover being ripped off by the wind and fluttering to the road side. Oh my goodness, we didn’t want to lose that, but there was no space to pull over. So up the road we went, did a U turn, drove back, turned again, and parked up on the side of the road with the hazard lights on. Robin then did the long lonely walk up the highway as cars and trucks roared past, and came back clutching the prize. Seems it needs some new elastic cord inserted, so a trip to Canvasland for repairs will be on the cards when we return home.
A successful mission
Continuing on our way, the dark clouds rolled over and the heavens opened up, and down came the rain. Not just ordinary rain, but a downpour so hard the the wipers couldn’t really keep the windscreen clear, and we had trouble seeing clearly. Luckily everyone had reduced their speed, so we kept trundling on, the wipers going flat out, tires kicking up vast amounts of spray, and the navigator hoped to goodness that we would make it to our destination safely. Eventually we drove out of the downpour, so could breath a sigh of relief.
It’s hard to see in this sort of weather
We made it safely to one of our favourite CAPs (charges apply parking) in an apple orchard to be warmly welcomed by Camp Managers Rose and Ross. And as luck would have it, we got the last available power site. Owners Dick and Elly called in to see us once we were settled, and invited us to join in Happy Hour with the campers. We have been here often over the years, and it is so nice to be welcomed back each time we return.
Parked up in the apple orchard
What a beautiful baby
We also met up with Travelling K (Karen) who tells her travel stories in her vlog – a video blog to those who don’t know the term – check out the link here. It was lovely to meet her, after watching her vlogs, and we hope to get together to swap some travel stories again soon.
Hello to Travelling K