It’s hard to believe that only five days ago we were in the Art Deco capital city of Napier. Between then and now we’ve travelled south to Takapau, east to Castlepoint, and west to Waikanae. Then much further south to Christchurch on the east coast of the South Island! In between we’ve thoroughly enjoyed catching up with people we know, met new people, and seen some spectacular sights.
Meeting Gyspy Rovers
Many of you know we spent six months in 2009 and 2010 on our previous narrowboat ‘Northern Pride‘. During those times Barry was in his element snapping pictures of the northern canals initially, then the southern. Many of his Greeting Card images originate from these journeys and Barry’s wonderment at the history and magnificence of the UK Inland Waterways.
Barry followed many waterways blogs. Granny Buttons, aka Andrew Denny, was one of these. Another was Gypsy Rover. Dot and Derek from New Zealand lived on their narrowboat for five years, until July 2010, and were popular bloggers about their journeys. We met up with them on 18th August 2009 in Blackburn. One of my ‘worst places on the canals’ experiences due to the disgusting rubbish in the canal there.
“We’d heard from Derek and Dot (fellow kiwi’s on narrowboat Gypsy Rover) a little while ago, that they were on the same canal as us and we’d bump into each other at some stage. Low and behold they were moored up by Asda in Blackburn, so we peeped the horn and tied up alongside. A coffee and a couple of hours later and we’d talked one another senseless! “http://nbnorthernpride.blogspot.com/2009/08/what-load-of-rubbish.html
Here we were then:
Derek and Dot returned to New Zealand, having sold their narrowboat to tour in a motorhome. They continued travelling around their home country, after shipping the motorhome home! Dot’s often kept in touch via this blog, and we planned a catch up while we’re back. This materialised last Saturday evening when we parked up at a campground near Takapau. She’d informed us there were several people keen to meet us, some of whom read our blog. The Heretaunga Caravan Club members were celebrating their 600th rally together.
The first photo above is us with Dot. Number two is with blog follower Geoff and his wife Eileen. Then three is with Jenny and Robin from the blog ‘Romany Rambler‘ which is primarily about their travels around New Zealand.
It was awesome to see Dot again and meet her sister (whose name I’ve forgotten already sorry!), along with all the other lovely caravan/motorhome/campervan travellers. It’s likely our paths will cross again in the South Island next year.
The Longest Place Name
On Sunday morning we decided to visit a place on the east coast that had been highly recommended to us. Choosing ‘roads less travelled’ we consciously passed the place with the longest name in the world. Many of you may think this is in Wales. It’s not. The funny thing is that we couldn’t find a ‘place’, only its name:
The name is so long it barely fits in the photo. Barry managed it in his slide show below. It seems to be more of a hill than an actual place. So we suspect it’s the smallest place and longest place name in the world?!
“This 1,000-foot hill near the township Porangahau holds the Guinness World Record for longest place name with 85 characters. Locals call it Taumata or Taumata Hill.”https://www.businessinsider.com/the-worlds-longest-place-name-has-85-letters-see-if-you-can-pronounce-it-2018-2?r=AU&IR=T
The roads we drove on took us through heaps of quaint old settler towns. Unfortunately, we were mostly neglectful and didn’t stop to take photos. It can be challenging driving in a campervan to suddenly stop when there’s something worth ‘shooting. We drove through places like ‘Waipukurau‘ – pronounced ‘why-pook-a-row’, meaning ‘river of edible fungus! Or ‘Porangahau‘ – pronounced po-wrong-a-how, whose name expresses the idea of a night (pō) of pursuit or of retreat (rangahau).
In order to give you a taste of our vistas, Barry took a colourful shack which you’lll discover in his slide show. He then finally found a safe place to stop for me to get a picture of St Aidan’s Church near Alfredton. He’d turned off the main highway, then turned around and returned to it. Not until we’d travelled many more kilometres did he realise he should’ve stayed on the Alfredton road to get to Castlepoint – our planned destination. Ah well. We got there in the end the longer way round.
“As part of a small farming community, St Aidan’s Anglican Church (Former) at Alfredton has been a central focus of the town for over a century, and is an important part of the history of Alfredton and its development. Its construction is significant because it shows the determination of settlers to remain permanently in an inhospitable area. It also demonstrates the spread of the Anglican faith in the Tararua region.“https://www.heritage.org.nz/the-list/details/3972
A Worthy Overnight Stop At Castlepoint
A few people we know had recommended Castlepoint while we were in the south of the north island. I needed to stay still to work, and we hoped to park up for a couple of nights. Well that was the plan …
Driving along the coast road to Castlepoint Lighthouse and Castle rock, it the township looked like Wellington’s version of Mahia. The road was lined with empty holiday baches.
It’s a wild and windy place. With magnificent views, teeming with wildlife. You can apparently frequently find seals, whales and all manner of birdlife. There’s also a rare daisy that is ONLY found here.
On arrival at the parking for camper vans, the weather was already turning nasty. Due to this we decided to walk up to the lighthouse that evening before things worsened. That was a marvellous plan as by the evening the wind was howling. All night we were buffeted from side-to-side by the forces of nature. The sound of driving rain kept us both awake much of the time. It felt like the side of the van was being sand-blasted. Maybe in sympathy for NBAreandare who’s having her bottom grit-blasted in the UK next week?
I took a few photos, but they’re not a patch on Barry’s below. He managed to capture the lighthouse at night, when it’s spectacularly lit up. First lit in 1913, it’s one of the last two remaining beam lighthouses in NZ though now of course it’s automated.
We managed to remain in the parking place until after lunch when we decided we couldn’t manage another night at the mercy of the atrocious weather. So we said a sad farewell to steeped in history Castlepoint:
“Castlepoint was so named in 1770 by Captain Cook who was struck by the similarities of Castle Rock to the battlements of a castle. The Maori name for the area is Rangiwhakaoma, which translates as ‘where the sky runs’. Smaller cetaceans such as dolphins frequent around Castlepoint while larger whales such as southern right whales and humpback whales may be visible from the shores during their migration seasons.“
More Boating Bloggers
After spending the night in a weird spot near Carterton, we headed to Waikanae through the Tararua ranges to spend a night with Marilyn and David from NB Wakahuia. Wakahuia means ‘treasure box’ in Maori. How endearing is that? We’ve known these kiwis for some years, mostly through blog comments. We finally met them in person in Birmingham last year. Sadly they’ve not been able to get back to their boat this year – you’ll never guess why?!
Anyway, long story short, they offered to let us park NZAreandare on their drive while we headed to Christchurch to spend time with Barry’s daughter Jamie. What wonderfully hospitable people they are. We had a delightful afternoon, evening and morning in their company and are looking forward to seeing them on our return.
We caught the train from Waikanae to Wellington. Then a bus to the airport and a plane to Christchurch where we landed yesterday morning. It’s years since either of us have been this far south so we’ll make the most of seeing Jamie and some more stunning sights.
Once again, click on the first image below to marvel at more magnificent images from Barry: