I was glad I had experienced the road last year, when the traffic was barely there. Now, after the Kaikoura earthquake, its new status as the lengthy detour required between Picton and Christchurch has made driving it a harder thing. There are numerous roadworks made necessary by the huge amount of trucks now using the road. Quite often there were signs for a 'hidden queue' which usually meant there was a one way bridge ahead. In a couple of places they were even in the process of installing bailey bridges so two lanes can cross. For quite a while I was following a Talley's truck- a bit ironic seeing as how I haven't bought their products for years, ever since I heard the owner support whaling.
I stopped at the Kowhai Point Scenic Reserve, where I also stopped last year. What a contrast! Last year I could wander over the riverbed, but today the water was rushing past.
At St Arnaud I made my way to Lake Rotoiti, then enjoyed a walk through the beech forest to Kerr Bay. Holidays have started properly once I have stretched my legs.
And in Murchison I opted for the Riverview camping ground and I am so glad. Tonight my tent is up right beside the Buller River.