Tuesday, 2 June 2015

South Rakaia Huts... The Rakaia River Mouth...

I came here out of curiosity as somewhere in my head I had vague
memories of coming here as a child with my family - shooting
rabbits in the river bed... But I don't think it was here!

This place is very organised. It is owned by the South Rakaia
Bach Owners Association, comprising 71 member families.
It owns the freehold tenure of approximately 10 hectares
on the south side of the Rakaia River mouth. There are 71 individually
owned homes; approximately 30% of which are occupied by
permanent residents, the remainder being holiday homes.
The Association is managed by a Committee elected by
fellow bach owners. They are a completely different entity
to the North Rakaia Hut settlement.

I stayed here three nights and found out all this information
as I chatted to some of the locals, knowledgeable fisher people,
all of them. It answered my amazement that such an out of the way
place is so cared for. Look here to read more interesting information.

At the top of this map you will see the designated camping area...
To find it was my next mission! So on I drove...
On my right were these garages and the row of letter boxes...

Water tanks and toilets? ... 

On my left the stop bank created by the community
to stop flooding...

A park area... There is another picnic area and play ground
further round the road, opposite from where I parked.

I drove round well kept gravel roads...

Neat and tidy houses of all sizes, ages and descriptions...

The couple who live here have lived here for 21 years. What he
didn't know abut the local salmon and trout fishing wasn't worth
even thinking about. He told me he had caught 20+ salmon
this season and that I wouldn't catch any! Too late, the season's
over, the river's in flood... Mmmm...

New housing...

Big houses...

And original houses that could tell a story or two...

And here I am... The little camping area.
Toilets and  cold water taps...

Nobody there but me... I was told that was unusual... But I
didn't mind. I had a cold and wanted to escape from people
and be unsociable for a few days. This was the perfect place.
However, local people came and said hello and checked I was ok
and one took me driving in his 4x4 over the stones to the river
mouth... And we went fishing...

There were lots of huge Macracapa hedges for shelter
from the strong and bitterly cold easterly winds.

Tracks for 4x4's and...

Motor bikes and quads...

All led to the same place...

The long stony beach.

Here's the mouth of the Rakaka River. It's in flood because there
has been a lot of rain on the West Coast.
There was a lot of talk in the community about a new mouth.
The Rakaia rises in the Southern Alps, travelling 150 km's in
a generally easterly or southeasterly direction  before entering the
Pacific Ocean 50 km's south of Christchurch.
Rakaia Gorge in my last post is about 50-70km upstream.

The force of the water had washed away a large portion 
of shingle and created a whole new mouth. This was of concern
to the residents as it was getting closer to the stop bank that
stops the housing area from flooding.

There was a huge volume of water racing past.
I was told another reason for no salmon was with this amount
of dirty water and at the rate it was flowing the salmon if they
hadn't already gone up river to spawn would have gone
out to sea again.

Looking up river, you can see the sharp bank the
water flow has created.

The shingle edge of the bank was constantly falling away.
Dangerous... don't stand too close. Lives have been lost here.

The waves created by the current of the river meeting the sea.

Here's an aerial photo I found giving a good overview, the
South Rakaia Huts being to the right of this photo.

The Rakaia and Rangitātā are the only two major rivers in
New Zealand  that originate from high-altitude glacier-dominated
mountain sources. They flow more than 100 kilometres across the
Canterbury Plains to the sea. 
The mean annual flow in the Rakaia is 221 cumecs (cubic
metres per second), but it is estimated that by 2018 it may be as
low as 76 cumecs, because of water taken for irrigation.
During a flood, it can be as high as 3,700 cumecs.
Read here for some very interesting information about
 this river and how the land all around the Ashburton district
is changing as farming is changing from traditional sheep farming
 to dairy farming... More money of course...
So the farmers are told! But the conservationists, Forest and Bird
and the Botanists call the area a green desert and are very upset at
what the government is allowing to happen.

But off we went,  back along the beach to try a spot of fishing...

The catch of the day... Two at a time. I can't remember but
think they were 'Spiny Dog Fish'. They look like a sand shark
but not the Lemon Fish or Fish 'N Chip type shark.
I was told 'Not edible' by the local fisherman I was with so
we left  them on the  beach... Even the seagulls 
will only eat the eyes!

The have a lethally sharp spike hidden by that little fin... Can you see it?

Dusk again as I went for my last walk of the day...

A beautiful end to an interesting day.

No comments:

Post a Comment