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Previous day: Day 8 – Greymouth

Day 9 Greymouth to Methven

What a peculiar day! And one thing we both agree on – there was too much driving.

As the weather forecast indicated that the West Coast was going to have rain over the next few days, we decided to reverse our itinerary and head to the East Coast, via Arthurs Pass (quite apt, as hubby is called Arthur!)

We decided to go via SH7, then hang a right past Lake Brunner before joining SH73. This is slightly longer than taking SH73 all the way, but is recommended in our ‘New Zealand Motorcycle Atlas’.

Brunner Mine Industrial Site

First stop was the Brunner Mine industrial Site. This is one of the country’s earliest industrial sites, and there are still a lot of old ruined buildings and foundations around – including the impressive Tyneside chimney and (even more impressive) the beehive coke ovens. There are the remains of 25 ovens, used for making coke. The scale is huge – and the way that the ovens have fallen into disrepair allows you to see very clearly how they were built and used.

Brunner Mine

There is also a monument to the 65 men and boys who lost their lives in the worse mining disaster in NZ history. 65 people were down the mine when the explosion happened – not a single one survived. Can you imagine the impact of that on the small community?

At this point I gave Terri some advice on how to improve her driving….as we both agreed that I was the better driver,(or something like that) I drove the rest of the way

Brunner Lake

The community of Brunner is a short detour off the main road. There’s a boat ramp that is used for jetskis and motorboats, and a notice that says ‘ice creams and espresso coffees’ but we couldn’t find it!

Good picture opportunities though.

Lake Brummer

Otira

Art had set his heart on going to Otira. This is written about in the Motorcycle Atlas as follows:

‘The old railway town of Otira was recently sold in its entirety for less than the price of an average Auckland home. Currently the town hosts an interesting art gallery and a typical West Coast pub, while struggling to attract other residents’.

By the time we got there, the art gallery had closed down, the pub looked deserted, and all that was left was a small cafe.

One of the old houses

Arthurs Pass

The road through Arthurs Pass is stunning – really spectacular. To the north-west of the pass the valley sides are covered in rata. This is a tree with red spiked flowers, that I thought was pohutukawa (otherwise known as the ‘New Zealand Christmas Tree’), but apparently is totally different. It flowers earlier the lower down the valley you are, and ripples upwards as the summer season progresses.

Death corner viaduct

Reid waterfall diverted

Bealey

A place we recommend to stop for a drink and a meal is the Bealey Hotel (www.bealeyhotel.co.nz) . There’s a great view across the river plain (if you forget the power lines) and accommodation too. In fact, we stayed here when we did South Island quicker than a Japanese Tourist five years ago.

Mount Hutt/Methven

Then it was pedal to the metal, and on to Mount Hutt. Now – a warning. Mount Hutt Village is actually Methven. But if you program Mount Hutt into your GPS it leaves you at a cross-roads miles from anywhere.

Methven itself is a surprise – it is a typical ski resort, but is on a plain! They obviously bus the skiers up to the skifields every day. There are loads of cafes restaurants bars and lodges. We visited the Blue Pub – very nice and reasonably priced food, and tables to sit outside.

We’re staying at the Abisko Lodge, in their camping grounds. There is only one cabin – ours! We’ve comandeered a picnic table and set up our own little patch in the shade. The kitchen is pretty basic – just a couple of electric hobs and a microwave – but that will do us. The lodge and apartments are much more expensive to stay in.

When I have suggested to Terri about sharing a shower, “I am told to get lost” (ah things were different 15 years ago). Well when she found out that the holiday park were charging a whole dollar for a shower, I was told we are sharing!!

No sandflies, but enough house flies and wasps to be a pain

Next Day: Day 10 – Methven (alias Mount Hutt Village)

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Methven Map

terris_travelogue/south_island/day_09.txt · Last modified: 2010/11/10 09:17 by art
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