The new sculpture ‘Fanfare’ can be seen from quite a distance as you approach Christchurch on the Northern Motorway. It stands 25 metres tall and is covered in 360 spinning metal pinwheels that reflect light and move in the wind. It is one of the largest public artworks in New Zealand and was gifted to Christchurch by the city of Sydney after their 2004 New Year celebrations. Back then, it was hoisted onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge from a boat that carted it out into the harbour.
Christchurch is still in a major state of upheaval and repair after the earthquakes 5 years ago. The main road that skirts around the city and past the airport is one major road work with enough orange cones to stretch from one end of the country to the other. Then there were cones and machinery on the road south, just out of town and near Weedons (bottom left). I thought they must be about to start to widen that road. It really needs to be widened, it’s a very dangerous road with too many fast cars. But no, they were only about to trim the hedge!
After a brief stop at Rolleston for fuel (and lunch, that darn Golden Arch was beckoning us) we carried on south along the plains. Already we’ve seen some silly manoeuvres on the road including this guy overtaking us on double yellow lines. Idiot.
The Rakaia River bed was a mass of yellow lupins but these aren’t the lupins I’m looking for; the MacKenzie lupins are way more stunning. I spotted a nesting colony of endangered Black-billed gulls on a gravel island just below the bridge as we passed over it. It would have been good to stop and check them out but with such a braided river I doubt I’d have been able to get close.
Thankfully we weren’t heading north, the traffic was horrendous on the other side of the road. There was a traffic queue a few kilometres long through Ashburton and out the other side. We thought it was caused by slow progress across the Ashburton River bridge but apparently it is being caused by road works way down in Temuka. Stop/Go lights that hold a line of traffic back for far too long.
We gave the Pilot Vehicle a toot of thanks for holding the traffic up for us so we could safely cross the narrow Rangitata River bridge. No...wait, he wasn’t holding them up for us? Ok, well he must have been holding them back for the wide load truck that we passed just before the bridge. You can see it in the distance in the photo above.
We turned inland at Orari which wasn't too far from our next overnight stop on the outskirts of Geraldine. Peski’s is a very popular POP, a NZMCA park over property and our hosts Maureen & David run a well oiled ship on their small lifestyle block.
The grounds are lovely with beautiful trees, gardens and an aviary. There’s water available, power if required, rubbish disposal and a dump station for smaller volume cassette toilets.
The ‘cigar hut’ has a washing machine, comfy chairs, magazines, books, a hot water zip, brochures, maps and lots more (I’ve decided ‘cigar hut’ is the name I’m going to call all small sheds with everything in them for us movanners- after having lunch outside the cigar hut at Bulwer). There’s also a lovely selection of pickles and pastes to buy along with fresh eggs. And I bet a few veges from the garden when there's an over supply later in summer.
A small winding walkway (mown and kept clear by David….no not my David, concentrate) winds it's way through the bush down to a river behind the property.
We’re parked up length way near the house so we don’t have to un-hitch (ready for a quick get-a-way in the morning….well quick by our standards). There’s more parking available in the grassed yard out the back…
…and a small paddock with a flock of free-range chickens. Mr Rooster was none too impressed when he saw that I didn’t have any food for him and his harem.
There's also a very cute little (tiny) dog called Tui, but she had disappeared when I stepped outside to take photos.