Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Greymouth to Harihari

Well last night was certainly a memorable way to welcome in the New Year. I knew that very heavy rain was expected in Greymouth and just before 4am it became torrential! I had reason to be glad I had invested, quite some years back, in a quality Macpac tent: I did stay dry! But experiencing such rainfall in a tent is an adrenalin producing event. 
Here is a photo of the 'campground' weka by my tent just before I left.

I began the day with a few more Greymouth visits. First I met a fellow Twitter-mate for morning hot chocolate. He asked if I had been down by the river mouth- I hadn't- so I drove down there. I found it quite scary driving towards the bar, but all was well. The sea was quite 'mucky' with plenty of waves. It was easy to see why so many ships in the goldmining days were wrecked on the river bar.
Then I had a more leisurely look around the 'new' Catholic Church, and I really do love the way they have incorporated the old into the new, and I like the amount of light in the day chapel to the side.

Once I left town I drove quite swiftly south. I waved at my Scettrini ancestors as I passed the Waimea/ Stafford /Goldsborough turn-off. I diverted down the Blue Spur tourist drive that took me alongside the swiftly flowing Arahura River. I then went to the Hokitika cemetery and found the new headstone for my Payn great-grandparents that a cousin had organised. 

I said a quick hello to the Hokitika riverside before driving south again. I decided to stop off at Lake Mahinapua, a short distance from the road. The lake was peaceful and there were remnants of a steamboat that used to help provide transport via creeks etc from Hokitika to the Ross goldfields. 
Gold-mining history abounds! I had some lunch near the lake-side, and lay out my tent in the sunshine so it could dry out some more. It was very pleasant sitting there and I was quite tempted to stay in the camping ground. However, I had vague plans for trying to organise myself on a white heron tour, and there was no mobile coverage by the lake.

I drove as far as Harihari, with heavy clouds threatening more rain. I spied a motel, and lo and behold, they had a small unit available for the night. So I am enjoying writing this on my comfortable bed, knowing I don't have to go outside into the light but persistent rain for the toilet or the kitchen... Watching rain fall gently outside through big windows is quite pleasant. And I have booked for the white heron tour tomorrow.


  1. Am I right in believing that this is the region with the gold mines where Eleanor Catton's book the Luminaries is set? Someday I will finish this book. Good thing I took notes otherwise I would have to start again!

  2. Yes it is Michèle. The book starts in Hokitika ehich I only whizzed through this time. My mother was from Kumara. All my maternal ancestors came to the area for gold mining.