On the move again today and the weather was taking a turn for the worse as we traveled up and down a series of ranges. The clouds were billowing and churning against the mountains, gathering moisture, and looking ready to drop their rain.
Looks like the rain is coming
My old road atlas book showed “Dead Horse Pinch” on one of the many hills, such an interesting name, and eventually we came to a sign on the road directing passers by to a Gold Fields Plaque - wonder if this is the right place? There was just enough room to pull the caravan off the road, and a brisk walk up the hill along an overgrown plaque led us to success. It was a very steep hard pull up for horse drawn wagons up the Pigroot Road to the Central Otago Goldfields. Horses often died and were buried over the bank. The heavily laden wagons were pulled by teams of 8 or 10 horses, and the wagons often became bogged down. The Dead Horse Pinch was the last major obstacle short of a night’s rest at the half way house, two miles further along the road. In 1892 the Central Otago Railway arrived, bringing an end to the era of coach and wagon services on this road.
Horse drawn wagons struggling up the Pigroot Road
Down off the ranges at last, we pulled off again at Dunback to check out yet another place of interest - Bowker’s Bridge. The McCormick’s Creek Bridge is the last of the original arched stone bridges still to be seen on the old coach road to Central Otago. The replacement bridge on Highway 85 was opened in 1962. Such a tiny, elegant structure, we am so pleased we didn’t miss seeing it.
Bowker’s Bridge, Dunback
Turning onto SH1 at Palmerston and heading north, our route took us along the coast for a short time, and we found a place to pull off the road for lunch, just south of Moeraki. The sun was shining, the sea breezes were blowing, and we sat and enjoyed our sandwiches while looking out at the gentle waves on the beach.
Lunch at the beach
Our stop for the night was Teschemakers, recommended by Dot and Derek who stayed here earlier in the year. Such a grand place, full of multiple buildings and surrounded with beautiful mature trees. We drove through a set of striking gates and continued on till we spotted where the NZMCA parking was.
The entrance gates and chapel
Teschemakers, set in seventy acres of beautiful rural North Otago, was originally part of the Taipo Estate purchased by William Teschemaker, an English gentleman of Dutch descent, in 1860. His brother Frederick gave it the name Teschemakers (Old Dutch for table-maker). In 1862 the homestead was built of Oamaru stone and surrounded by lawns and plantations of English trees.
Back view of the buildings
Patrick and Peter McCarthy bought the property in 1905, but in 1911 they gifted the homestead and approximately twenty-five acres of land to the Dominican Congregation of Sisters, and on March 24 1912 the grand opening of St Patrick’s School was celebrated. Over the years the college grew until it could cater for one hundred and forty girls. It is now run as a wedding and conference centre.
Reception and entrance to buildings
Chapel showing flying buttresses
And here we are, all by ourselves and parked almost out of sight behind the buildings. Wonder if we will have any neighbours tonight? But we will be fine on our own in such lovely peaceful surroundings.
Here for the night