Tuesday, July 14, 2015

NZ, You Astonish Us: Moeraki To Ranfurly

Have I spent enough time oohing and ahhing over the incredibly diverse landscape here? And within such short distances? Today we hitched up the caravan and towed it about 100 yards from our campsite, where it will await our return in two weeks. Telling the woman at the campground what our upcoming plan was, we asked if we might leave the caravan. Sure, she said, just tuck it back there along the trees. We'd be happy to pay, I added, and received no response. In our experience, this is utterly typical of the generous spirit of New Zelanders.

Leaving the South Island Pacific coast

Tuesday our route took us briefly south and then northwest to Ranfurly, population about 900, in the Central Otago region, home to the first NZ gold rush in the 1860s (trouble viewing click here).

Once we turned inland, the landscape rose up to greet us, undulating even as it promised mountains in the distance.

Colder here.

Ranfurly is known as both the hottest and coldest place in NZ, according to the local bookshop tender. Curling is big here. It's also at the heart of the Otago Rail Trail, a 150K bike trek atop what was once tracks. Click that link and you'll see it looks like fun in summer. The same bookshop bloke told me "I spoke to a publican down the trail this morning who told me he had 12 in for lunch." Brrr. Hardy bikers, they. It's maybe 37 degrees here today.

There's the trail, right past the Ranfurly station

We're staying at the Ranfurly Hotel. Built in 1900, it was destroyed by fire in 1933 and rebuilt by 1935, Art Deco on display and veddy English.

From this...

...to this

The vista altered in just 100K.

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