Day 38: Hampden to Oamaru

Wed 1 March 2017

  • Km today: 39
  • Total Km: 749

Alex, the holiday park owner kindly dropped me at the head of the road that follows the coastline all the way to Oamaru. I am walking along a sealed road but there is no traffic so the going is easy. Like everywhere in these parts irrigators of all shapes and sizes are keeping the head been and growing. It seems quite ludicrous that there are signs to conserve water in the holiday park bathrooms (as ordered by the council) when vast amounts of water are being applied to land over much of the south island. Water used for brushing teeth and flushing toilet versus a pivot half a kilometre long endlessly spraying water over soil!? Seems unreasonable to me. A road side stall is advertising eggs. I don’t want any but look inside anyway. Its empty so maybe the eggs are coveted even at $5 which is higher than others I’ve seen about. The area I’m walking through its all dairy country. Lots of cows, heifers and irrigation. The stock all come to the road fence to meet me and run across the paddock as I continue walking. There looks to be a massive stock shed across the valley – the type where animals are housed all year round.

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After a hour or so, who knows, the road reaches the sea and follows the coastline. The waves have been bashing continuously at the shore so often there is little in the way of beach and cliff beside the road. The beach is not really suitable for walking along as it is raked and there are many spots where the sea comes up to the cliffs. It is about 10km to Kakanui following the road until I can get onto a walkable stretch of beach to Kakanui Beach. There are more cool rock formations and I particularly like the one which looks like Darth Vader’s helmet. I climb over the bluff and down to the Kakanui river where the bridge crosses the river. It’s time for a drink and ice cream stop. There is not much in Kakanui but I do like the mini library.

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From here I have another 12km along the coastline until Oamaru. The way is made slightly longer by the beach road being eroded away by the tide. For this section I do not walk on the beach as it is soft and pebbles which are a nightmare to walk on. The road then leaves the coast and I follow it up to the bluff overlooking Oamaru. I try a backpacker place on the steep road down towards town but it is full. Here we go again I think, there will be no where to stay. I’d better get to the i-Site promptly. Before that though coffee time. The guy making the coffee is Harrison Kerr, no relative that we know of. I meet with Steff at the i-Site as she has done the trail and we will plan my route together. I find a room at 1800s Historic Villa – like many fine buildings it is constructed in Oamaru stone. The villa was built by John Bullied, a successful business man who also built Pen-y-bryn, a mansion just up the road which is one of Australasia’s largest single storey homes (you can stay there). This evening I take a stroll around the Victorian area of Oamaru which retains its character remarkably well and once back at the B&B I get a full impassioned tour of the house by the owners. I manage to get another days blog done before lights out for me.

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