There was no hurry to leave Murchison this morning but when we did leave the NZMCA park was empty. A great little spot right in town.
Along the way we stopped off at the Hope Saddle lookout where we could see the light coating of snow dumped on the mountains over the past 2 days. The Saddle is 2085ft above sea level but low cloud shrouded some of the view.
Dropping altitude we came down out of the forest onto open farm land. This area right through to Motueka is known for growing fruit and Brewers Hops.
In Tapawera township is a replica of the old Kiwi Railway Station which was on the Nelson to Glenhope Railway. The building houses a photographic record of the area from the late 1800’s and the women’s protest when the railway was threatened with closure. This line was an isolated line not connected to the mainline and as road transport and roads improved freight tonnages dropped and in 1952 was threatened with closure. After some protests the line was given a reprieve until 1955 when closure was again threatened.
Nine plucky ladies took it upon themselves to protest by having a sit in on the railway track. One of these was the late Sonja Davies MP who blocked the line for 8 days. On the final day men arrived to demolish the goods shed and some of the ladies sat on the workmen's ladder trapping the men on the roof or replacing the corrugated iron as fast as it was taken off.
When the train with the track demolition crew arrived they were again stopped by the ladies on the track. Other protesters shouted support from the side line but eventually the Police had to arrest them all which gave them the press coverage they were hoping for. Unfortunately it didn’t save the line but it did create a rather interesting piece of history.
Our park over site tonight is another small farm where the proprietor is a shearing contractor. As a side line they breed Welsh ponies, run a few sheep, cattle and chickens for free range eggs. We have already put in an order for a dozen in the morning. Another unusual attraction are some goats that they milk and provide them with up to 3 litres of milk a day.