Archive for the ‘river’ Category

Welshpool & Shrewsbury

June 23, 2019

We set our next destination as Welshpool which is near the border with England.

The planned route

We both agreed that we would take a route less travelled rather than sticking to major motorways and A roads, so with this programmed into the sat nav, off we went. Initially it went well, we were quietly enjoying the scenery and countryside when all of a sudden we were on what I could only describe as a track/lane.

Narrow windy road

It was definitely becoming more and more narrow the further along we went with the hedge rows and trees becoming closer and closer the further we travelled. With absolutely no opportunity to turn around, we continued on with thoughts of should we have a hedge trimmer with us? Should we pull the side mirrors in?

Oops!

That was until we met a car coming in the opposite direction. Luckily for us, they reversed along the road until we had the opportunity to inch past each other at snails pace.

We were soon back on slightly wider roads/lanes but when “she” – the Sat Nav – told us to turn off again, we ignored her and continued on until she had worked out a new route on a major road.

All was back on track, until we came to the brow of a hill, we had obviously climbed up a lot higher than we initially thought and spectacular views down over the valleys. However, the navigator decided this wasn’t the best place for him to be and he just wanted it over with as quickly as possible, we were in fact going over the hills of Snowdonia. Due to the photographers lack of desire to take pictures, these few are from later on and will have to suffice.

Rolling hills

Waterfall

Sheep

Our arrival into the outskirts of Welshpool was a welcoming sight, now we started to look for somewhere to stay. Our first choice of hotel was unfortunately it was fully booked but the very helpful receptionist rang a couple of other places for us and we were soon booked into a lovely B& B a few hundred metres up the road.

Buildings across the street from the B&B dating from around the 16th Century.

The Royal Oak

Canal through the town

Stones in a circle

These circles are called Gorstedd Stones and used for the celebration of Eisteddfod, a welsh tradition of celebrating literature, music and performance. Some stone circles are very old, dating back centuries, but we suspect this may be a later one, dating from when there was a revival of the celebrations in the 1800’s.

The Mermaid Inn was just a few doors away from our B&B

The Stone House B&B where we were staying had parts of its building dating back to the 1200’s, amazing stuff.

We had a little time to explore the town and get some washing done before we went back to our original choice of lodgings, the Royal Oak Hotel, where we had a wonderful evening meal.

Yummm, liver and bacon!

Again we had great service from the friendly staff, before we returned to our B&B for a good nights sleep.

The following morning we decided to have a day off driving, instead taking the train into Shrewsbury. We had read about a scenic boat trip on the River Severn which we thought would be a fun way to see the sights.

View from the train

The train trip was quick and pleasant, and we were there in no time at all. It was a short walk to the river where we were told the boats would be leaving. However, in usual fashion our luck was not on our side and we were greeted with this sign.

The sign says it all

Oh never mind, instead, we found a very nice looking pub across the road that looked very busy with lots of happy punters, so we headed off to drown our sorrows. The food looked fabulous too so instead of a boat trip we stayed on for a late lunch, which again was amazingly good fare.

The following are a few sights from around Shrewsbury.

River Severn

Street view

This sculpture, named Quantum Leap, was erected on the banks of the Severn to celebrate the the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Darwin, who was born in the town in 1809. It also celebrates Shropshire’s diverse geological history which covers 10 of the 12 geological eras. Soon it was time to retrace our steps and return to Welshpool.

Allotments along the train tracks, on the return journey

Our time in Welshpool was coming to and end, but the next adventure is all rather exciting!!

Dam Dam Dam

April 4, 2019

And no, that is not a spelling mistake in the title…as if!! Read on, readers, read on!

We tossed a coin and decided we would head straight to Taupo, and again to try somewhere new to park we thought we would try the Equestrian Centre.

With just one other bus here, we pretty much have the place to ourselves.

The Equestrian Centre is located across the Waikato River over the Aratiatia Dam, our third dam stay in succession. This dam is the first dam on the Waikato river just 13km downstream from Lake Taupo. Before construction of the dam and hydro station, the Aratiatia Rapids were a prominent feature on the Waikato River; a scenic reserve from 1906.  The dam construction meant that no water flowed over the rapids. However, several times a day, the Aratiatia dam gates of the Waikato River are opened, which restores the rapids to their normal output. There are several public lookout points on the high rock bluffs that dominate this turbulent stretch of Aratiatia Rapids.

We do the touristy thing and go and watch the opening of the gates and the turbulent flow of the rapids is restored for a short period of time. We watch from the safety of the bridge over the river. Sirens sound to give plenty of warning of the impending opening of the gates, at 8 minutes, 4 minutes, 2 minutes and then a continuous fluctuating siren once the gates start to be raised.

From one side of the bridge are the gates

the glassy, still waters are gradually disturbed by one gate being opened, soon followed by the second. It does not take long for the waters to become a raging torrent.

On the opposite side of the bridge,the start of the rapids.

again, the glassy waters are still and slowly become churned by the rushing torrent of water. You can see how high the water levels are to rise from the staining on the surrounding rocks.

it’s not long before the basin is flooded and water is rushing down the rapids.

This is the view from the other end of the rapids (thanks a Gary for the pictures)

Enough of being tourists, time to catch up with family and friends.

Over the next three days we caught up with my sister Hilary, my nephew Jason (Sue’s eldest) and his twins Caleb & Greer, and friends Barry & Sandra. And on each of these days I did not take one picture – old habits die hard!! But we did manage to spend time with each of them and catch up on news so that was good.

The weather turned a little damp to say the least so we extended our stay here for another couple of days in the hope that it will clear away, besides we have a few errands to attend to.

The rain only lasted a day and we are back to sunshine,however, it seems as though the temperature has taken a definite drop and a very autumnal feel, the slippers may have to get dusted off and brought out shortly.

Gary & Marg joined us for a couple of nights on their way back northwards to their home in Waipu,

We really enjoyed their company and particularly enjoyed playing Kiwi Quiz with them. It such a shame Gary lost so badly!!! And we did not rub it in at all 😂.

and us? Well, we are on our way toward the Bay of Plenty.

Horahora

March 28, 2019

We spent a glorious week at Horahora at AJ’s Park for Self Contained vehicles.

Horahora is just south of Cambridge on Lake Karapiro, one of the many hydro lakes formed along the Waikato River.

The privately owned Park is right next door to the Domain which is also a parking area, the only difference is that the Domain is free and AJ’s has a nominal fee of $5 and has a few facilities. There is a ski club on the boundary of the Park between the two parking areas with a boat ramp at the Domain which makes for busy weekends and provides much entertainment for us to watch.

With Lake front parking and views, you can see why we went from our original plans of staying a couple of nights, to staying over a week.

the view through the front windscreen.

Particularly over the weekends there is plenty of activity, with water skiing through slaloms, there is ski jumping, barefoot skiing and as well lots of families out enjoying themselves with kids being towed behind boats on various items. As well, there were rowing teams being put through their paces going up and down the lake.

We did a little bit of exploring, however this region was my childhood stomping ground so I know the area reasonably well, and Roy is no stranger to these parts either having spent 20 years in Tokoroa. We did check out a few other potential parking areas but with dodgy phone reception we decided to give them a miss.

Lake Karapiro is formed between two hydro electric dams, Karapiro and Arapuni. The formation of the Lake in 1947 at the completion of the building of the Karapiro dam submerged the Horahora Dam – the country’s first large-scale hydro plant built in 1913. Horahora was a privately owned power station with Arapuni the first government built station being finally commissioned to generate power in 1929.

Dams on the river

Karapiro Dam (photo borrowed from the internet)

Probably the most memorable thing about Arapuni Dam is the swing bridge that crosses the river. I have vivid memories of my mean older brothers jumping up and down on it, making it swing and lurch, not a nice thing to do to their much younger sister!

the swing bridge

We spent just over a week at Horahora, a quick trip into Cambridge one day for groceries, and into Putaruru other days to spend time with Sue & Jeff. We will definitely be returning here.