Saturday, March 5, 2016

Scenes From the Road

LONG day on the road. After driving for about 9 hours, we are now down on the South end of the North Island to meet with a few stakes down here.   We saw some interesting sights along the way.

Apparently having BIG things is quite popular here in New Zealand.  On this trip we got to see the giant carrot in Ohakune and the big Gum Boot in Taihape.   (We have previously seen the huge L&P bottle in Paeroa and the giant metal trout in Taupo).

What I did not know is there is an actual "Gum Boot Day" which is celebrated on Saturday, March 12.   Oh the things small rural towns will do to make a name for themselves!

Giant carrot in Ohakune

We also saw LOTS of pasture, sheep and wrapped grass hay bales. 

We were amazed by how much open, empty country there is once you leave Hamilton.

We stopped for a picnic lunch at the site of the "Last Spike" of the New Zealand railroad.   According to New Zealand history, "Construction of the central section of the main trunk line, between Te Awamutu and Marton, had taken 23 years of surveys, land negotiations, political wrangling and back-breaking physical effort by thousands of labourers. The first through train from Wellington to Auckland had actually run two months before the final spike ceremony, when a ‘Parliament Special’ carried MPs and others north to meet the US Navy’s visiting‘Great White Fleet’. This train had crawled over a temporary, unballasted section of track hastily laid between the existing railheads.   Regular services between Auckland and Wellington began soon after the last spike ceremony, and an express service introduced in February 1909 made the journey in 18 hours. From 1924 a new ‘Night Limited’ service cut the trip to 14 hours."    Wow - after learning THAT maybe our 9 hours of drive time today wasn't so long afterall.

Yummy blackberries we found near our lunch spot

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