And here’s me paying $8 for the privilege of putting up my tent. If there was a hut I could stay for free.

Just as well I ambled in early, around 10 am, after a couple of hours needed to cover the 8 km.

I had been considering a rest day and with heavy rain being predicted, a few days ago, for today, and a few spots falling, I thought I might as well take the rest of the day off. Get my full $8 worth.

Despite the Molesworth Road not yet opened with the earthquake damage north from the campsite, a major slip, there were two campground volunteers to chat to. I was the sole campground occupant and managed to hit the camper’s jackpot, a picnic table of my own. In a standard, pre-earthquake summer’s evening there used to be sometimes up to 100 campers staying.

I wasn’t complaining about my solitude.

Once the tent was up I went over to the lookout over the current homestead and associated buildings, about 20 of them and some quite large.

The original cob cottage, built in 1866, was damaged in the earthquake sufficiently for DOC to install a 2.4 m high fence around. It looked as if it could be repaired, and it should because New Zealand doesn’t have too many buildings from the 1860s left, particularly for such an iconic New Zealand property, still New Zealand’s largest. They run around 10,000 beef cattle these days on an area that’s similar in size to Stewart Island/Rakiura.

Just after 1 pm the road clearing crew stopped on their way past. I was surprised at how they did it, the huge sluicing jet on a massive hydraulic boom, apparently directed by instructions from a helicopter. The rockfall was all simply water blasted away. So the backup vehicles were three water tankers for the water supply.

Their verdict: a four-wheel-drive could now get through down the Awatere River to Seddon.

No rain, fine weather forecast for tomorrow. I will be continuing with my travels.

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