The lost weeks … pt 3 Mooching up the Waitaki

As per usual, we slept in at Awamoko, and all our neighbours had left by the time we emerged. I was preoccupied with how to start the car with the flat battery. And with keeping the house batteries charged up. And keen to try out the generator now that we had no neighbours. So I fired up the generator, and was busy charging the batteries. While making breakfast, I zapped my cereal in the microwave, but this proved too much for something. The load went on the generator, then it stopped. My heart sank and I started to look to see what I’d blown. This meant digging out the instruction book. This seemed to say that the generator had an overload cutout, and I was much relieved to be able to restart it without having done anything serious.

It was while reading through the manual that I spotted a section on charging 12v batteries directly from the generator, with the optional 12v charging cable. Isn’t that always the way. Except I had a memory of a cable that came with it, and went off in search. Sure enough, the good guys that sold it packaged the optional cable with it ๐Ÿ™‚ So it was a simple job to connect it up, and set the generator to charge the battery. And it worked ๐Ÿ™‚ย  It wasn’t that long before the car could be started. Happiness is having a car that starts ๐Ÿ™‚

On to Kurow
We drove on to Kurow early in the afternoon – not a big distance. We checked into the camping ground. It was a windy afternoon.

Walk up Kurow Hill and Vanished World
Wyn and I set off about 11am on hot morning and walked up Kurow Hill. Lots of stops. Away for a couple of hours. Our first walk for a while. After lunch we went for a drive with Andrew and Laura. First over to the Hakarataramea Valley, looking for somewhere to get beside the river. Gave up on that, and went back through Kurow to Duntroon, and on to Elephant Rocks. Interesting landscape. Then on to Anatini fossil location – a 25 million-year old whale fossil. Sort of underwhelming, until you think about how old it is and how it got there. The Vanished World is interesting, but needs a bit more information along the way.
On to Omarama
We eventually got away from the camping ground, on another hot and windy day. Mostly it was a head wind, so not so bad for driving. We stopped off at Benmore to have a look through their information centre, which had good displays about hydro power generation. Then we went around to the other side of Loch Laird for a closer look at the water coming down the spillway. Finally we drove on to Omarama, again a short drive. We headed for the camping ground again, and spent a while sorting out somewhere suitable to park up. We opted for the far end – the big bus end. It had more of a breeze, important on this hot sort of a day. After another late lunch, we took the car for a look at the gliders airstrip, and then went on in search of the Clay Cliffs. It was $5 for entrance – they are on private land. We might have had second thoughts at that stage, but luckily didn’t. We walked the last couple of hundred metres, to a very narrow gulch that we walked through to an amazing little/big canyon. We hadn’t known what to expect, and were wowed. It was hard to remember we were still in NZ.
On to Wanaka – Friday
Again we were not out of the camping ground early. Eventually we hooked up the car and headed off over the Lindis Pass. We could see the Clay Cliffs again heading away from Omarama. If you saw them from there, you might be tempted to not make the effort to see them close up. Our advice would be to make the extra trip. We ran into rain coming into the Clutha Basin. We headed for the Wanaka lake-front, for lunch. It was still raining, and the supermarket was packed. We then headed to Mt Barker Road, to stay with Wyn’s son and his partner and her grand-daughter. Their house has an amazing view out over the Wanaka basin, from the Cardrona Valley round towards Lake Hawea.
Hanging out at Mt Barker – Saturday
After weeks of wind, the weather came right just as we arrived. Saturday was a lovely day, warm, sunny, and CALM. Wyn and Kim and I had an outing to the Wanaka Recycle Centre Shop – it puts Dunedin to shame. We managed to buy nothing. Later Wyn and I made a trip to the supermarket. There were even parks in the streets, everyone must have been out on the calm lake. There was a BBQ tea for Kim’s birthday with lots of her friends.
Still at Mt Barker – Sunday
This was Kim’s actual birthday, so there were presents, and leftover cake. It was an even warmer day. We went for a walk later, calling into the DOC office to ask about the walk best-sheltered from the sun. She suggested the outlet track, so we did the first part of that. We had a bit of a paddle on the way back, and skimmed a few stones. It was a lovely evening.
An early start – Monday 12 January
Monday dawned even better, so we made an effort to get away before it got too hot. We were on the road by 9.30am, which seemed like about 5.30am compared with our usual starts. We had filled up with diesel at Omarama, so just drove on past everywhere. We made a detour to Earnscleugh to call in the the orchard we’ll probably work at later in the month. Taking the shortcut road out to Conroy’s Dam was a mistake, the camper darn near shook itself to bits in a few short kms. We only really stopped in Lawrence, for icecreams as usual. Then straight on to Dunedin, and the carpark at the top of the Gardens. We dropped Andrew and Laura home – it was the end of two and a half weeks with them, and we’re going to miss them being around. We got out of Dunedin as quick as we could, and headed out to the parkover at Wingatui. There were about 10 motorhomes there – it is a nice location. We met Colin and Molly, fellow Traillite owners and also members of the nzmotorhome.co.nz on-line forum. About the same time we worked out we had a leak in the water hoses to our kitchen sink, and Colin had some advice for this that mostly fixed it.
Waking up in Wingatui – Tuesday 13th.
Wyn managed to get a hair appointment in Mosgiel, and I spent the time fueling up the car and Suzi, and dumping waste and topping up water tanks. The fuel gauge was almost on empty, and she took 95 litres to fill. So we must have had only 5 litres left! We had a successful shopping spree in the Mosgiel Mitre 10, including some folding steps to help us reach some of the higher bits of Suzi. It was well into the afternoon before we headed south – a new experience as we weren’t even sure how you go south from Mosgiel! It was windy until south of Balclutha. We were vaguely heading for the Waikaia Valley, but on the way down Wyn read about a camping area near Gore, Dolomore Park, so we decided to check it out. We missed the first turnoff, back thankfully we made the effort to turn around and go back. The road in was tarsealed all the way. We found the place, and got a park where we could plug in. What a best-kept-secret little paradise. The biggest noise comes from tuis and wood pigeons ๐Ÿ™‚ The walk to the toilets is under beech trees on a carpet of beech leaves. What a wonderful place to relax. And we did.

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