The Kingston Flyer put on a bit of a show for us as we were packing up and getting ready to leave. There is a big charity weekend taking place, with funds being raised for the Stroke Foundation. The engines, there are two, were puffing away and billowing steam in the cool morning air, and one was backed up to the carriages ready for the first excursion.
And as bit of fun, there will be plenty of mayhem happening on the train rides today. I caught a glimpse of the “great train robber” as he was getting his Appaloosa horse ready for when he stops the train. All in the name of charity, you understand.
We have been having problems with our caravan batteries lately and spent a good part of the morning in Queenstown trying to find an auto-electrician who works on a Saturday. No such luck, it seems that they make plenty of money working Monday to Friday so don’t need to work on Saturday morning as well. While we were here we took the opportunity to stock up on some essentials. How’s this for a view from the supermarket car-park?
With no luck getting our problem sorted in Queenstown, we went to “Plan B” and headed off for Cromwell, travelling through the Gibbston Valley. There are many vineyards planted in this area, all covered in netting to keep the birds off the fruit.
Travelling through the Kawarau Gorge we stopped at the “Roaring Meg”, a turbulent stream which drives two quite small hydro electric stations. Originally known as Kirtle Burn, legends suggest that it was named after Maggie Brennan, a turbulent and voluble red headed barmaid from the local hotel. Roaring Meg is certainly a good description of the waterway when it is in flood. Another story of the origin of the name involved a party of diggers who were accompanying two ladies from a dancing saloon. The diggers, being gentlemen, carried the ladies across. One of them made so much fuss that they named the stream Roaring Meg after her.
There are no guesses where we are here. It must be Cromwell, an important fruit growing area of Otago.
Another 20km up the road and we reached out stop for the night. We are staying at a POP in Lochar Burn, a rural property with lovely views of the surrounding hills. It certainly should be peaceful here tonight.