Sometimes things happen for a reason. Three days ago we were already to leave Blenheim; chores and shopping done, friends caught up with, diesel tank full, fresh water tank full, rubbish disposed of. Just the black tank to empty on the way out of town. All good, until the lever came off the gate valve in David's hand as he was back-flushing the tank. Oh shite! Literally.
So it was back to the racecourse, explain our situation and get approval to stay a little longer (it's 4 nights maximum there and we'd already stayed our quota). Then a quick call to get a new gate valve sent overnight. And strict instructions from the 'Boss' not use the loo- luckily there are toilets at the racecourse, even if they're a wee (literally) way away. The valve arrived the next morning thankfully, and after some careful contemplation, David did a magnificent job of removing the old and replacing the new and we were good to go once again this morning.
Because David was feeling a little weary after all the clambering over and under the van doing the repair work, we decided not to travel as far as we originally intended to. Which is how we found ourselves on an awesome site beside the Pelorus River at Pelorus Bridge. Which is west of Blenheim on SH6, not far past Havelock and just before the Rai Valley, on the way to Nelson. We've passed through here often and it's always been on the 'must stop and stay' list but until today we haven't. It's time to start crossing some things off that list.
But first we had to weave our way down the track to the DOC camping ground...
...being very careful to not take out any of the trees along the way.
At the end of the track the camp opened up, with sites all around the boundary of Kahikatea Flat.
We turned right just before DOC amenity building- which reminds me of the Anchorage Bay DOC Hut on the Able Tasman track.
Pelorus Bridge is one of the more well serviced DOC campgrounds and the cost reflect this; $18 pp per night.
We had to maneuver around a few more trees once we reached the river side...
...and continued along the track...
...until we reached the end and found another RV in the prime spot! Oh well, never mind, second best would be OK. But, as luck would have it, these lovely people were only here for lunch so we stayed hitched, had our lunch, relaxed a little and then...
...moved into the prime spot after they left. Perfect! This will do just fine for a couple of days, there are a few walks in the area and I'm sure David will do a bit of fishing too.
And what a way to finish off the day, local Green-lipped mussels and Marlborough Salmon for dinner. We stopped in Havelock on the way through and I knew from the last time we stayed in the village that the small 4 Square shop sells live mussels. I can never get over how cheap mussels are, anywhere in NZ. This lot, around 3 dozen, cost $10. Better than the 70 bucks it cost us for lunch at Mussel Boys in Havelock awhile ago. And we had left-overs so I passed them onto the visitors in two rental campervans that arrived later in the afternoon. Their smiles said it all.
Before I sign off, I had to post a few more photos that won't find their way onto another blog-
This awesome looking machine overtook us on our way to Pelorus Bridge and we found it in the carpark out by the cafe.
Everytime we stop at the Blenheim Racecourse we find ourselves a new spot, there are quite a number of different areas to stay. This time we were right on the fenceline and every morning (early) and evening we'd hear the rumble of hooves as a few dozen harness horses passed by and a thunder of drumming hooves when they raced the last circuit. They were being exercised either by sulky, like here, or attached to a frame on the back of a vehicle being driven around the course. This was taken from our door. Life on the road is never boring.
While visiting a friend in Waikawa (Picton) we went for a walk around the marina. We couldn't believe our eyes when we spotted a Quantum Catamaran in one of the berths. This was not just one of many Quantum boats we built and sold, this was once our very own Quantum, our demo boat that took us all around the Bay of Plenty, Coromandel, Hauraki Gulf, Northland and the Bay of Islands exploring. A boat we spent many happy hours on and the boat that sowed the seed for our wanderlust ways.
The last time we saw it, it was based in Opua, way up north, now it has Wellington as it's home town and it's still looking like new. Made us feel a little bit nostalgic.
And one last photo (from my cellphone) of a favourite dog from our travels, we met Blue, along with his parents, a couple of years ago at Kenepuru Head. Sadly John has passed on but we had lunch and spent a lovely afternoon with Jan and Blue reminiscing about old times and discussing the future. And you're still a gorgeous boy, Bluey.
Back to the beach blogs soon!