South day 13

We had a bad night, wind so strong the van was shaking and felt like it was drifting so after trying to sleep through the gale we decided to move it at about 00:30 AM.

That was better but still pretty noisy.

We headed south and over the Takaka Hill road which seems to take forever. We landed in Motueka where we found a fabulous French Patisserie – even the humble Kiwi Potato Top pie included onions caramelised in white wine. As for the raspberry tart, cheesecake and apple pie – out of this world.

We also found Toad Hall and the Townshend Brewery, makers of Blitzgreig a truly great West Coast IPA. Motueka and the Moutere Valley are the centre of hop-growing in NZ with many fine breweries.

The valley road took us through to SH6 and so to Murchison and, eventually the Lewis Pass.

Murchison had a 7.8 earthquake back in 1927 and left a 1 metre high scarp across much of the landscape which instantly brought into being the Maruia Falls. These falls have grown in height as they eroded back a large gully in the soft breccia.

We planned to stay at Maruia Hot Springs but they now close Tuesdays and Wednesdays so we were advised to head over the pass because snow was on the way.

Luckily we did otherwise we would surely be stuck in the middle of nowhere as the road out to the West Coast was also closed. We just about made it through flurries of snow and the temperature falling to 0.5C.

On the way down the other side we got the news about the lockdown so here we are in a motor camp in Hanmer Springs for at least 72 hours. At least it is a very modern motor camp.

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South Day 12

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