Plans, they are a changing…

Saturday 3 December

Off into Temuka this morning to replenish a few essential items and also to get some info on the fishing regulations as they seem to differ slightly for each region.  On the way back to the van we went for a slight detour to visit the Milford Fishing Huts and the beach.


Back to Orari River Mouth,  the rest of the day was spent wandering the beach and trying to keep out of the heat of the day.  Summer seems to have well and truly arrived which means the purchase of some sunhats, suntan lotion and comfy outside chairs, the latter is a work in progress as not all chairs are created equal.

Sunday 4 December

sunrise 1

Yet another glorious day, we could quite happily stay here for another week however we need to go and empty the waste tanks. Our plans were to leave the river mouth, then head inland via Fairlie and Tekapo to eventually end up around Alexandra and Clyde where we left our travels a few weeks ago.  We headed off first into Temuka where there is a dump station at the Domain/camp however, there was no potable water available, well, in clear view in any case.  So instead we head for Timaru where we know there is a good waste station.  We also decide to take the opportunity of leaving the van at the waste station, unhook the RAV and head into Timaru to get the laundry done, and also to pick up a few things that we had forgotten the other day.  Things such as a summer weight duvet, as the one that I had thought I had packed seems to have disappeared. And summer has arrived!!!

Plans revised, instead of heading inland, we decide that it would be much more sensible to head down the coast as far as Palmerston and then head inland, plus it would be different route to the one we have already travelled in the van.  Out with maps and planning books, and we decide that Waimate would be a good spot to stay as the NZMCA have a parking spot there and it would also be a good opportunity to catch up with Anne & Paul. .


Off we head and soon arrive at the delightful parking spot and get ourselves organised.  First things first, hang out the washing, get dinner underway then give Paul & Anne a call to arrange a get together to play a few games of cards and generally catch up.

In Victoria Park, close by the parking area, there is a small menagerie of birds and Wallabies

peacockPeacock in full display


As well as the usual Bowling Green, Netball Courts, Tennis Courts and Children’s playground there is a very well maintained Velodrome.



Part of the joy of staying at various places is the opportunity to see interesting things and make finds of everyday items that pertain to the area and also generate an interest in “found” items.

three 2

The above photo shows three items found over the past couple of days when walking along the beach at Orari River mouth.  The beach itself is part of a very long shingle beach running from Timaru to the Rangitata River, interrupted by several smaller rivers including the Orari.  There is little detritus at the tide mark but it is still interesting to find unusual (to me) items.

The item on the left was the first found.  It is a hollow spine about 100mm long with a sharp point and a groove running the length of the concave side.   If we had porcupines in New Zealand I would have thought it a spine from one. 

The right hand item is a spinal bone from (probably) a fish.  This is obviously bone.

The middle item is again part of a skeleton but it is not the usual bone.  It is in fact cartilaginous being slightly soft without an internal structure usual in bone. 

Now things get a little interesting.  Talking to a local fisherman he told me that one of the fish caught off the beach was Elephant Fish and in passing he told of a friend that had caught one and had been stabbed through his gumboot into the bottom of his foot by the spine of the Elephant Fish.  The foot had immediately started to swell and had to have the boot cut off.  Apparently the spine contains or carries poison which is driven into the wound, causing swelling and pain.  So the first “found item” may in fact be one of these spines.

So onto the “interwebby thing” to find out about Elephant Fish, of which I had heard but only by name.  It turns out the Elephant Fish is not a fish but is a shark and like all sharks has a cartilaginous skeleton.  In fact because of this and the corollary that there are no bones makes it ideal for Fish and Chips.  

So it could be that the third cartilaginous “found item” could be part of an Elephant Fish.

On our last morning a longer walk revealed two finds.


These are the skulls of two Elephant Fish.  Again they are cartilaginous rather than bone.  So what started out as a strange spine ended with the identification of Elephant Fish and the realisation that they were in fact sharks.  Probably Callorhinchus milii

Here is a photo from the MAF website



Some of the party like to collect other things such as pretty stones…so much so, she collects them and then sticks together, adds a tiny wee shell – then they turn into something like this;



2 Responses to “Plans, they are a changing…”

  1. Linda Hutsby Says:

    Hi, very, very interesting reading about the Elephant Fish. With regard to the chairs…. We just purchased 2 from Rebel Sport, zero gravity chairs with sun shelter above the head (even a head pillow) brilliant! And a real bargain, we’re $239 now $99. Doesn’t get better 🙂 love to you both xxx

  2. Lindsay Says:

    Hi Bernice & Roy
    Wishing you a very happy Christmas wherever you may be -all good here – we lead a very different life to you but are equally happy with our lot!
    We were in Auckland last week for Naomi who was capped with her masters – she & Lee have bought a home in Hamilton – strange how I went to the other side of the world at the age of 26 solo and the wonderful relief that Naomi is living in the same city as us and just how good that feels!
    Ian Deb & their son KB arrive this afternoon from Sydney for the Christmas period & we have 19 for dinner Christmas Day – will be fun! Carrie and Scott remain settled and happy in Auckland. I am having a wonderful break having resigned from my job and start as an academic lecturer in the new year at Wintec for the bachelor of midwifery degree programme – am really looking forward to using my brain in a different way. Wade is now down to working 3 days a week and loves it! We had a brilliant 4 weeks over in France & Europe in July – walking the mountains of Mallorca and travelling thousands of Km’s exploring new places with Bruce – great fun. First Christmas without mum but a blessing for her to have peace and good memories of her spending the day on her own with us last Xmas Day as the girls were with their partners families so it was a grand finale with her.
    Christmas cake just iced and decorated – mince pies out of the over – time to do a final spruce up and hit the road to Auckland!!
    Go well in 2012 and trust Alexander & Antony are both well and happy – love to your parents and families
    & Wade xx

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