Friday, December 23, 2016

Murchison to Karamea

The night was chilly but I stayed snug and warm in my winter weight sleeping bag- thus justifying my bringing both my summer and winter bags because- CAR! It dawned a beautiful morning beside the Buller River though, with the birdsong waking me. I love summer camping - early to bed when the daylight finally disappears, then early awake with the birds singing.
The first part of the journey today was to Westport, often close to the Buller River. Sometimes we were high above it, and the hills were steep like mountains, but towards the end the river was more meandering and the banks were lower. I stopped off at the DOC camping area where the old mining town of Lyell stood. The views from there were spectacular so maybe my homeward journey will take me back there with my tent. 
At Inangahua I called into the small museum that covered local history and the 1968 earthquake that I remember happening. What I remember was that communication was poor, and nobody knew what had happened for a while in such an isolated spot. Some things don't change: earthquakes easily damage communication methods we have grown used to, as we know from Christchurch and Kaikoura, and especially recently for rural areas inland from Kaikoura and Cheviot.

It came almost as a surprise when some flatter valley land appeared. (Aylesbury loved the views!) I was impressed to find a Kilkenny lookout - hat tip to some ancestors- over towards Hawk's Crag that allowed only one way access.


I enjoyed some time in Westport, finding a new pair of sandals to use instead of my two right-footed ones. I saw a set of modern Stations of the Cross in an 'ArtHotel' - small towns often have surprises. And I realised I was passing St Canice's church that I had seen many photos of- but it was closed so I never got to see inside.

The journey north from Westport was on a far quieter road. It started off flat, with sea views, but soon climbed a couple of rather large hills. We passed the town of Granity which looked wonderful in the sunshine, but after the Kaikoura quake with its numerous landslips, the steep hills right behind many houses made me nervous.

Finally I reached Karamea, on the flat, and I am camping in the Domain. Friendly caretakers. Very peaceful. I am sitting writing this gazing at the hills covered still in sunshine- and it is already 8.30pm.


Tomorrow: Oparara Arches.

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