We were politely asked to vacate the parking area at Kingston before 9am as they were expecting a lot of visitors for todays celebratory proceedings. They were planning three return trips to Fairlight using 7 carriages double headed by both Ab778 and Ab795. What a spectacle that would be where the road and rail run parallel for a couple of kilometres.
I had a few hours to kill before Dot arrived back at Queenstown Airport so along with the others we all called into a new shopping complex at Frankton just around the corner from Queenstown Airport. We found a large area at the rear of the car park where we could all park while visiting the supermarket and shops. Once we were all stocked up the others headed away and I just had to sit it out. The time wasn’t wasted as I was able to catch up with some computer work.
I eventually got a text message to say that Dot had landed, so I headed off around to the airport to pick her up before heading of to catch up with the others. Along the way we took a diversion into Arrowtown where Dot found things totally different to what she remembered from a previous visit years ago.
At Kawarau we called into the site of the old 1880’s road bridge where they now have a Bungy Jumping business. The bridge was closed in 1963 being unable to cope with the increased weights of modern transport. The bridge is gazetted by the Historic Places Trust as a historic site and AJ Hackett took out a short lease for his entrepreneurial Bungy Jump. This turned out to be so popular that 24 years later it is still operating. In 1990 the Department of Conservation with some financial backing from AJ Hackett Bungy restored the bridge for future generations.
The new road bridge over the Kawarau River.The 1880 model Kawarau road bridge over the river.The jump over the participants are lowered to the rescue boat below.A pole is extended for the girls to grab hold of to be pulled into the boat.
Our next port of call was to be Locharburn which turned out to be on a farm. Robin rang to say that it was off the road up a dirt track and he would meet us at the gate. Well the dirt track wasn’t a problem what he hadn’t mentioned was a couple of hilly sections to get to the final destination.
As we turned off the road the first part was OK and we could see where other vehicles had gone off the track due to some deep ruts. We followed the diversion and then came across a short steep downhill run which wasn’t too bad until we turned a corner at the bottom. Here we found the next section was uphill and quite a bit steeper and longer. Ah well, first gear in manual mode and we crawled our way to the top with just a couple of small skids. One good thing to come out of this stop over was fresh mushrooms in the morning.