Friday, 7 July 2017

Salmon & Cows- MacKenzie Country

Catch-up- Once again I'm getting behind with my blog posts. We're on the road at the moment exploring the Canterbury high country while filling in a couple of weeks before we need to be back in Christchurch for an appointment. Very soon we'll be in one place for more than a week or two and I'll be able to prioritise catching up on blogs, so hang in there, I won't miss any. And I have lots of exciting places that we've been to share!

You'll recall we left Ohau C Campground after 60 hours of thick fog and on the morning the sun finally came out. We didn't move very far, just up the canal to our old familiar Ohau B NZMCA campsite. David still had a salmon to catch.

5th-wheelers rule!
We were treated to some spectacular sunrises (and a few very heavy frosts)...

...and some mind blowing sunsets. 

David fished on and on, freezing his butt off along with his toes and fingertips, and not enjoying it as much as he has in the past. He was determined to catch a salmon though and he must have cried a little too hard on a fellow fisherman's shoulder because before too long, he came home with a nice sized pannie. Thanks Murray! 

It's that time of the year when the weather is very fickle, several weather fronts swept through while we were there, this one arrived and departed with such speed it was hard to believe.

The photo below was taken just one hour after the one above. Hard to imagine isn't it?

The front approached from the south just as I headed over to the bridge to see what all the commotion I could hear was about- shouting, banging, barking, tooting and motorbikes revving. A herd of cows were being pushed onto the bridge but were very reluctant to cross. They'd come from the huge dairy farm on the right at the rear of the photo.

Once across the canal bridge, they strung out as they made their way to the spillway bridge. You can see the weather front heading north here...

...and just after this shot I made a dash for home as the heavens opened up and a massive downpour caused a quite a bit of surface flooding. 

Later that day I heard the same commotion...

...not once but twice more...

...and twice the next day too. One herd decided they were not going to cross, the lead cows balking and fussing about at the entrance but they could not be bullied into crossing. In the end, with traffic building up, the farmhands had to take them back down the farm track and regroup them before pushing them forward again, with different cows in the lead no doubt.

In all, five dairy herds of a similar size crossed the bridges on their way to pastures new. I managed to speak to one of the workers and she told me that they were moving them to their winter feeding ground, not far past Twizel and east, somewhere between the Pukaki River and the main road.

If you're a long time reader of my blog you may remember a post from late May, 2015 about Gypsy Day. Gypsy Day being the day sharemilkers shift their herds to their new farms. Well, I'm thinking that it wasn't in fact Gypsy Day then, it was this same farm shifting it's herds to their winter paddocks. 

 And all the while as the cows rumbled their way over the bridge, the fisher people below fished on...

...and finally David caught not one but two salmon, two reasonably sized fish. We offered Murray one of them to replace the one he gave us but he said he was sure to catch some more (I hope so otherwise he might have been sleeping under his van and not in it). So in the end we had three fish and the curse has finally been broken. Now, if only he could catch one of those monsters....

The sun sets on another fantastic time in the MacKenzie.


  1. Cows are fascinating beasties. Photo #9 is my favourite.

    1. I do feel sad for many of the herds I've seen lately, standing in a paddock of mud being strip fed small amounts every few days :( It seems more like a factory than farming.

  2. Massive changes re all those dairy herds......unheard of herds in that area.....but you certainly heard them quite a few times.....roads breaking up are they?
    Beautiful blue water!

    1. Yes, I'm not so sure I like cows in the high country and I'm sure they don't like it much either- cold and bleak in the winter, hot and dry in the summer. But I guess with the bottom falling out of wool, what's a farmer to do to hold onto his 6-7th generation farm. The road was pretty good although the poop soon turned to clouds of poop dust; I got pummeled with dust when a huge truck went barreling over the bridge while I was crossing it.


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