; };Fading away in Hari Hari
 

Fading away in Hari Hari

80 Kim's again today, but it only took 6 hours, so it was a fairly easy day. We skipped the last bit of the trail - there is only so much rough trail in a rain forest that one can take. We decided to dice with death on the bitumen road instead. The drivers have been great, giving us a wide berth, which is necessary as there is no verge. When we arrived in Ross (the end of the trail) we discovered that the last bit of the trail bypassed the highway and was a rail trail. Oh, well. 

I had to ask a local to take a picture of us at the end of the trail, and he was very helpful, telling us about a dirt road that also bypassed the highway for some of the journey to here. We just turned off at the wrong bridge, but it was only a kilometer mistake. Ray had a puncture further on, and even though he won't win any time trials for changing tubes, we made it to Hari Hari before the shop shut.

Fortunately, I bought a small bottle of wine so we could sit outside our unit and watch the sunset. (Yes, it was another perfect day weather wise). After establishing that there was a pub available for dinner, we also just bought some fruit for brekkie. Whilst having nibbles and wine outside, the heater fell off the wall and onto the bed, where I had been lounging earlier. Ray's investigation established that the screws holding it in place were only screwed into the plasterboard. 

After telling the owner about the situation, he told us that there was a function at the pub for a local farmer's son who had committed suicide. We promptly set off for the pub, anticipating whitebait fritters (the local speciality) and other yummy food, only to discover that the pub was closed for a private function. The shop was also closed, so we had to return home with our hopes dashed for an evening meal. I guess we can have breakfast tonight, not quite what we were hoping for. Ray is sitting in a corner with his beanie on and sulking because the wifi is so slow and he has just eaten his main meal of an apple. But there is chocolate for dessert. Bon apertite.

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We were happily riding long a perfectly smooth piece of highway when, out of the blue was a sign for the West Coast Wilderness Trail. As the trail finished in Ross, the trail had not finished with us yet. So we took the turn and after a short distance we came across the ruins of what appeared to be a quite substantial sawmill. The trail that you can make out to the right of the big saw blade looks like it is the remnants of a bush tram or rail system which carted the logs from the forest back to the mill. There were quite a few tramways in towns on the west coast, servicing small mining operations that took place in the hill just back from the coast.P_20180920_080316_-_Copy

Here is all that remains of the mill. These substantial concrete blocks indicate that some pretty powerful machinery was working here. Not only were they milling the native NZ specials, it appears that they had even tried planting Australian Eucalypts not far away, but neither the sawmill or the eucalypts did well enough for either of them to thrive. There are still a few acres of the gums, but they look pretty ragged. Planting a temperate species in wet and cold NZ may not have been the brightest move

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Bumpy track aside, it is pretty incredible country. We eventually reached the end of this trail and got back on to another bitumen road. We saw another sign  to the wilderness trail that headed into the bush and decided we had had enough of being wilderpeople and decided to be roadies for the rest of the trail into Ross.

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A friendly bloke from the local tourist centre took this shot for us. I really was tryng to be enthusiastic when he snapped.

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After Ross, we took a backroad on our way to Harihari. It was mostly through farmland except for a couple of patches of wilderness, including this impressive NZ pine.

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This is the first puncture that I have had in quite some time, but that is not what you are thinking when you get one. It was a pretty bad cut in the tube so I decided to put on a new one as I wasn't sure the patch would adequately fix it up. The bikes have been pretty good. We hired them from City Cycle Hire in Christchurch for what, in New Zealand, was the baragin basement price of $20 per bike per day including all the panniers, spares, patch kits and helmets. Most other bike hire places are charging more than double that amount, including one which was asking $55 per day per bike plus hire of the panniers etc. You can hire a car for less! Anyway, if you want a bike to tour NZ speak or email craig here.

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The small towns in the west country are still a little untamed so you don't expect the Hilton. The small motel in Harihari looked like it was built in the 60's and had been recently renovated. it was perfectly adequate, heaters on walls notwithstanding. The owners were very friendly and could not apologise enough for Brenda's near death experience. I ws not so forgiving of them for getting the timing wrong. We enjoyed pur cheese and biscuits and glass of wine whilst overlooking this scene of tranquility.

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And I thought that we only had redbacks here in Australia

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