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Rail Trail (c)

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On arriving at Omakau, Viv was keen to find some family graves and was later loaned a car by the friendly B&B owner. However, first Shayne took us on a tour of the local area.

Rural scene before Omakau 207KB

Omakau Station 212VT

Cyclists at Omakau 219KB

Shayne's tour included Ophir (over the Manuherikia River), preceded by a trip to the historic St Bathans beyond Lauder. There were some "that's fairly interesting" old buildings with 19th Century goods.....mmm. OK, so I clambered up above the old gold diggings to try a few different angles of the startlingly beautiful lake left by the 19th century rape of the land (with my old non-SLR Nikon Coolpix), while the rest had a beer at the Vulcan Hotel!

Jenny arrives at Omakau 220MT

St Bathans diggings 242KBCP

Vulcan Hotel 248CT

Keith climbing 254AR

St Bathans "lake" 262KBCP

St Bathans "lake" 264KBCP

Vulcan Hotel 268MT

Standard view of "lake" 270VT

Day 3: (Wednesday21st Feb 2007) Back on the trail, the rural environment around Lauder looked almost arable thanks to the near constant irrigation (notice pipes crossing the trail). We then crossed the Manuherikia River (a third time) on the longest bridge (110m) and headed up the Poolburn Gorge dividing the Ruggedy Range from the Blackstone Hills to enter the Ida Valley.

Not a sheep in sight 288KB

Under road & water 292KB

Steadily up 294KB

Neil at crossing 318IB

Manuherikia No1 Bridge 324KB

Above No1 Bridge 332KB

Manuherikia River 342KB

Left Bank 350KB

Ian and Graham 346AR

More rock formations 358KB

Looking back to Dunstan Mts 360VT

No sheep jokes please 370KB

Tailenders 386KB

Chimneys & bones 400KB

Poolburn Tunnel No2 412KB

Just before the 1st tunnel (Poolburn Tunnel No2), a trail leads up to the old tunneller's camp where the chimneys built against the tents remain. Torches in the tunnels spoil the excitement of cycling in the dark - I mean, what are you going to hit in a rail tunnel, a sharp corner?? Just remove the sunglasses!! Even so, some walked.

Track visible 416KB

Looking back 426KB

Approaching Tunnel No1 428JC

Poolburn Gorge 430KB

Alan exiting No1 445AR

Poolburn Viaduct 432IB

Poolburn Viaduct from the Southwest 449KB

The Bardsleys & Taylors were off on the trail, leaving some beautiful scenery for the more dedicated photographer. However, they weren't difficult to catch up and pass in order to take some "silly pics" - and more by luck than sense I didn't need to treat any injuries.

Ida Valley from Viaduct 451KB

"Look mum, no sense" Ian 457KB

Dianne has fun safely 461KB

Graham sans helmet 474KB

Keith and Jim at Ida Valley 476KB

Idaburn Dam 480IB

Sox not bras! 461KB

The fence line of socks marks the side road at Oturehua to the Hayes Engineering Works were we had a pleasant break being shown around the now historic place. Wind then water power turning a shaft to which all the machines were driven by belt was almost as impressive as the set-up at Tawhiti Museum (Hawera) where the system is not just in working condition, but actually runs for visitors. Oturehua Tavern put on an excellent lunch.

Outside mud hut 484IB

"Its an old tractor!" 490KBCP

Hayes Engineering 494AR

Oturehua Tavern 500VT

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