Greymouth to Reefton

The plan was to leave the parking spot in Hokitika with Roy heading off in the van to fill up with petrol and water with Bernice to follow.  Oops, someone left the lights on in the RAV so a quick phone call and Roy returned to jump start the car.  Off this time! 

An uneventful drive through to Greymouth, apart from negotiating the Turamakau Rail/Road Bridge which was under repair….

approachApproaching…how wide are we again??

bridgebreathing in…..we squeezed through with just a whisker to spare on either side.

We headed straight to the Cobden Bridge to the dump station and then parked up.

cobdenParked at Cobden Bridge

grey riverGrey River and bridge

Something unusual along from the parking area and under the road from Greymouth to Westport.  A deep cave going right under the main highway!

cave 1

cave 2

The weather in Greymouth was just that – grey, or gray! And the wind was pretty strong too.  Never mind, we had things to do so this would do for a couple of nights.  The weather did not improve at all, the wind became almost gale force so we hunkered down, attended to what we had to do including Bernice doing a bit of baking.  As it was so windy, we did not want the satellite dish up for too long so after we caught up with the news, we watched a movie.  Pat & Sue had given us a few movies to watch so the first night we watched The Boat that Rocked – hilarious with good music too!  and the following night it was Gran Torino. I am sure that our neighbours must have thought we were mad as we really did laugh out loud throughout both movies.

Enough of Greymouth, work done so we headed off inland toward Reefton.  This was Friday 2 March and we had heard the weather forecast was for a weather bomb to hit.  We figured that inland may be a better deal as it was already pretty windy on the coast.  We headed for a DOC camp at Slab Hut Creek, just 8km out of Reefton.  A wonderful spot, with great level gravel parking spots backing onto the creek.  The whole area is nicely landscaped and it is all rather pleasant.  We waited for the rain and wind to arrive.

slab creekParked up at Slab Hut Creek

creekand the creek only 4 metres from the back of the van.

We woke Saturday morning to clearing skies, although rain had fallen through the night, it was not the deluge we were expecting and there was certainly no wind.  By mid morning, we had glorious sunshine.  This also means the return of the sandflies!

birdand this wee fellow that follows us everywhere, is not shy and will even stand on your feet.  These South Island Robins are very common here and seem to like being around people.

In to Reefton to check out what is there, and to get cell phone reception as there is none at the Creek.  Returned to our van finding Pat & Sue just parking up beside us!!  They had been staying just down the road at Nelson Creek, and told us all about the area so guess where we are off to tomorrow to check it all out. 

Pat was off up the river to check out the gold prospects.  he invited me along and I took the opportunity to try fossicking for gold.

bird 2This wee fellow was very interested in proceedings particularly when a worm or bug turned up.

At the end of the exploration I had found my first gold.  Not enough to buy anything but a start toward the next fortune (yeah right!)

drinksOf course the usual Happy Hour was taken as the sun set.

The weather stayed stunningly clear all day and looks like it will stay that way for some time.   Sunday and off to Nelson Creek to check it all out.  What a stunning wee spot, goodness knows why we stayed in Greymouth, this is much more salubrious place to stay.  Nelson Creek is another gold mining area, and first stop was through this tunnel

 tunnel

which led to a rather long swing bridge.  This is a view from about two thirds the way across.

swingbridge

In the bush there was considerable evidence of mining and miners presence.

 hut  Outlines of the rear of a hut cut into the sandstone.

cuttingA drainage ditch cut into the cliff side.  About forty foot high and two feet wide draining water from a working area  

On the way back to the van we came across this most unusual driveway.

entrance

entrance 2An upturned car on each side with intriguing signs.

On return, Roy went off with Pat & Sue to try his hand at gold fossicking in the creek,

 fossick  miner  and yes, he is wearing Waikato sox!!

sluiceSue working the sluice

So now the gold bug has bitten, a few flakes are enough to keep one encouraged.

Many more games of Sequence played, the girls reign supreme although we did allow the fellows to win occasionally.

Monday and another lovely day, so we stay around here and will move off Tuesday 6 March  toward Westport and Karamea.  Due to intermittent internet and phone reception,  communication is also sporadic.

PS.  It is one year ago this week that we purchased the van!  And it still has no name.

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