Ka Pai Island – Part 5

“On a Mish” #245 Ka Pai Island (Part 5). Aorere Valley. Golden Bay. 20.1.2021. The weather in Pohara was living up to the classic Crowded House song. Cold winds and rain became the norm for our week in Golden Bay, and it was lucky I had packed my wet weather gear. I was advised to relocate my tent away from the beachfront due to heavy overnight rain. To accompany was a low of 8 degrees and snow in the Nelson Ranges – not the weather the area is renowned for. A 25 year local from the area told us he had never seen snow on the hills during January, and we had seen snow-covered mountains amongst the black rain clouds for the last 3 mornings in a row…

I had moved my tent to a small area between the campground’s hedged border and the Mosley compound. It was a good thing that I did as, overnight, Pohara was not only hit by a storm fully loaded with heavy rain and strong winds, but the bay shuddered from the deep booming of thunder around midnight. We had done our best to keep busy in less than favourable weather, and on our last full day we faced the most challenging weather of the trip. From the dry confines of the dining tents at the Mosley compound we discussed what to do and the idea of a visit to one of New Zealand’s oldest stores evolved into a plan. Early-ish the next day we piled into the car and headed for the Aorere Valley. With rain still falling we made our way west, and each river and stream we crossed was running high with a torrent of bubbling chocolate brown water. Our designated destination was the famous Langford Store. Built in Bainham in 1928, the little shop is full of historic charm. As we arrived at the store in the heart of the Aorere Valley it was great to see the place was busy, with many cars parked out front. Along with exploring the shop’s numerous historic items (crockery, tools & everything inbetween) that are all for sale, having a freshly baked scone and cup of tea is a must.

Showers continued to pummel the tin roof of the store, and as we readied ourselves to leave, the idea of a quick trip to the Salisbury Swingbridge was agreed on. To our surprise when we got to the roadside car park near the Salisbury/Aorere confluence, there was a blank space where the swing-bridge used to be. A storm in 2010 had dealt a fatal blow to the historic bridge, and now a frame on the true right of the Aorere is all that remains. We made our way down to Salisbury Falls, and the constant rain meant the waterfall was discharging water at a rapid rate. We took in the epic spectacle and enjoyed the benefits of a week of heavy rain, during a brief dry spell. We had succeeded again in our quest to enjoy the day no matter what the weather threw at us, and it really reinforced that “bad weather” is only in the mind. Hot and dry or cold and rainy, Golden Bay is still one of New Zealand’s most precious gems.

The Famous Langford Store

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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