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Previous Day: Day 24 – Curio Bay to Invercargill

Day 25 – Invercargill to Alexandra

Invercargill

Before we leave, let’s give you our impressions of Invercargill; It’s a very nice town, but we wouldn’t like to live here. Invercargill is on a plain, it has all the amenities that you would expect of a medium-sized town (hospital, mainline supermarket, Briscoes) but – to put it bluntly – it’s a bit boring. I also get the impression that there could be a bit of a cartel here – the area was staying in was dedicated to ‘clubs’ so – if you were an ‘approved’ club you got your own little patch of ground. The liquor laws (you can’t buy wine in supermarkets down here) smacked a bit of local patriarchs dictating the rules too. Add in the weather (which can be cold and rainy even in summer, and was cloudy when we left) and I can think of places I’d rather live.

Best thing about Invercargill – the Boysenberry beer – very tasty!

Arts Map reading

We were supposed to be taking the scenic route from Invercargill to Gore – and I was assured by Art that he’d programmed this into the satnav. I should know better….

Let me just say here that Art does not ‘do’ map reading. If I’m driving it’s pointless asking ‘where are we, and what do we do next’ as the answer will be ‘we’re heading in the right general direction’. This used to wind me up, but now – generally – I get him to drive and I work out where we are. Now of course in current situation (where I’m doing all the driving) this doesn’t work.

Edendale

So – we weren’t supposed to go through Edendale – but we did! The highlight of Edendale is the large Fonterra factory. (for those non-NZ’ers, this is the company that processes most of NZ’s dairy products, including Anchor butter and cheese).

Gore

Next on the route is Gore. We had to stop here, simply because one of our friends comes from here (hello, Blair), and says he’d never come back to live. Well, it’s an OK little town. Nothing too exciting, but it did have an old grain store dating back to early 20th century and a very photogenic sheep statue.

The country up to this point is relatively flat – but after Gore you’re into Clutha Country again. This is the ‘wavy’ hills again – rounded hillocks, and I guess formed from glaciers rolling over the landscape.

Central Otago

Then you go over a hill, and in front of you is an amazing view. And immediately you drive past a sign saying ‘Welcome to Central Otago’. You drive towards the distant hills, and meet the Clutha River, which (after a dam) changes to Lake Roxburgh.This river valley is full of fruit orchards.There are apples, nectarines, apricots, greengages, strawberries….. if you want to buy some, the road is studded with fruit stalls. Roxburgh is a typical Kiwi small town – I liked the local takeaways nake – Roxburger!

Just past Gore, into Otago and the weather improves

There are very few cars on the road here – this is off the tourist track. I must say it was nice not to see a number of tourist vans inh front of you….

Alexandra

Then into Alexandra. Note the spelling – this is NOT Alexandria or Alexander but Alexandra. But it’s known throughout NZ as Alex.

Alex

Alexandra’s claim to fame is it is the hottest and the coldest place in NZ, depending on the time of the year. It regularly appears on the NZ weather maps. This is because we’re virtually in the middle of the South Island land mass, and there is a continental weather pattern. At the moment, it’s the hottest place in the country, at 31 centigrade.

And it’s very dry – less than 4 cm of rain a year.

Hills over Alexandra

The countryside around here reflects the weather, and the influence of both Maori and European settlers. The land is very barren. The Maori stripped much of the land growth while doeng some very ecologically unfriendly Moa hunting – they used to corner the poor things then set the forest alight around them.Saved having to cook them over the barbecue later. Europeans then came here for gold – see tomorrows diary for an update on this.

What a difference a week makes, last week I was being dragged up hills and taken for long walks. Today I had gone about 400 metres and was told that she was going to get the car to save me any strain!!

Alexandra Holiday Park

This holiday park is very big, in that it has a lot of space for camping and camper vans. Most of it is not open. The amenities at the camp reflect its size, though – there are a huge amount of showers and toilets in the wash block. We’re in a ‘kitchen cabin’, which gives us a small kitchen area with microwave, electric frying pan and cooking equipment. We’re sitting outside at the moment and Art is snoring gently in the fold-up chair. The camp is on the river, but there’s not much of a view where we are (unless you count the shower block).

Just a few moths on the insect front

Next Day: Day 26 – Alexandra

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terris_travelogue/south_island/day_25.txt · Last modified: 2010/11/10 20:03 by art
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