Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Next Stop... Murchison

 My next stop was Murchison. I have always just stopped
for coffee and driven on  but now the NZMCA have
a park over property and because I had challenged
myself  on this trip north not to stay anywhere I had
stayed before... I decided this was my next stopping place...
I actually stayed four days and had a lovely time
exploring this historic town... In 2006 population 496!

 Looking further north... Turn left past the Mobil station
to find the NZMCA Park...

 It's a big area, this is half of it...

 I'm tucked into the corner enjoying the sun and not
smoking anybody away with smoke from my fire.

 I walked back to the main road, wandered south...
Looking for the cafe I had been to before.

 Murchison is recognised as the "Whitewater Capital"  of 
New Zealand, nearby rivers include the Gowan River, 
Mangles River Matiri River, Glenroy River, Matakitaki
River, Maruia River, and the Buller, with many excellent 
whitewater runs along their lengths. 
These rivers vary from Class 2 to 4 whitewater. 
Not what I wanted to do today but interesting to read about it all
 Past the Info centre and booking for 'Flames"... About an hours  
organised walk through private farmland in the Mangles 
Valley to see natural gas burning as it comes from the ground..
I didn't want to do that either... And I didn't want to
go on a helicopter ride or guided fishing trip...
Although all could be booked here.
 I was looking for some coffee... And came here
because I've been here before... A good reason or not?

 The next day I found Rivers Cafe.
This was more 'me'... More laid back, good coffee
and food, comfy couches, the newspaper and
books to read or exchange. The fire was going...I came 
here several times... Just as well I eventually moved  on!
 I visited the butcher as had read a rave review of it...
It was a real old fashioned, home kill and cure place...
And smelt really meaty...

 I tried the ham, the bacon and some pork belly
strips which I cut into pieces and made pork and
pineapple with some fresh pineapple I had... Yum!

 The butcher also had honey, a range of home made
soaps and body creams and chocolates.

 Round the town were these old plaques and
photos of the history of this town... The
old Hampden Hotel...

 The Commercial Hotel...

 And looking east...The 1914 fire destroyed this old
Downie's Hotel, Hodgsons Store and Moxey's Hall...
The district is steeped in history from the days of the gold 
miners and early settlers in the mid 1800's.
The gold rush in nearby Lyell was 1862...
There is a DoC camp there now, the cemetery
and an old stamping battery left to tell the old stories.
And the 1929 Murchison earthquake which occurred at 
10:17 a.m. on 17 June, with an estimated magnitude 
of 7.8, which was felt throughout New Zealand.
There were 17 casualties, mostly as a result of landslides  
triggered by the earthquake. The rumbling sound of the 
earthquake was loud enough to be 
heard at  New Plymouth, more than 250 km away.
There is an old museum that I spent  half a day in...
Absolutely full of all the fascinating old history.

 Today's hotels... Still old and interesting...

 And the road travelling north... Past the Tourist Information
Centre... A man who works as a volunteer in here was
also computer savvy and for a $20 donation fixed my
laptop for me... And on the other side of the road
the local dairy...

That sold the biggest 'single scoop' ice creams...

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