The Longest Driveway – Quail Flat (Part Two)

“On a Mish” #25 The Longest Driveway (Part Two). Quail Flat. Ka Whata Tu O Rakihouia / Clarence River. 26.10.2014. New Zealand’s longest driveway had taken us deep into the Kaikoura Mountains on a sunny day. The drive in had its moments but the trusty CR-v had done the job and we were now at possibly the most remote location the car had ever been to. We had blue skies and an afternoon of exploring to get stuck into, however first we had to set up our accommodation for the evening…

We decided to camp downstream of the hut, as we had tents and there were a few people already at the hut and only a couple of beds left. The hut turned out to be overflowing that night as during the afternoon we were joined by more people who arrived on their kayaks after setting off from near Hanmer Springs. I will always pick my tent over a hut if the weather is on my side, and Jeremy and I found a perfect peaceful spot near the Waiau Toa / Clarence Valley to pitch our tents.

After we had set up camp we wandered down the river to the historic Quail Flat Homestead. Once a bustling sheep station, now the buildings are kept as a reminder of the past and the conditions that the early runholders lived in.

After checking out the little taste of history we headed up onto the north west face of Red Hill(1022m). It was great to get the legs moving upward after sitting in the car all morning, and the cooling afternoon breeze made for perfect hiking conditions. We grunted our way up the grass covered slopes, and when we stopped and looked back at the view we were happy with the reward of a view seen by few!

From our elevated position we had views of Tapuae-o-Uenuku(2885m), the biggest peak outside of the Southern Alps, and the other giant snow-capped mountains of the Inland Kaikoura Range. Down below us were the many bends of Waiau Toa/Clarence River, and by chance we got to see a couple of rafts making their way down the river past the hut while we rested on top of the hill.

After we got back down to Forbes Hut we prepared an epic BBQ dinner of venison sausages, which let out a delicious odour that would have had every possum in the area’s mouth watering.

After dinner Jeremy and I left the busy chatter of the hut, and returned to our quiet campsite by the river and after a great day out we were happy to escape the jovial hum of the hut. We learnt the next morning that after we left the whiskey started to flow, and it turned out to be a late night for the occupants of the hut that night.

An early-ish start was needed, as we knew that rain was forecast for the area and as much as we loved the place we did want to get outta there!

We re-traced our adventure from the day before and as we did we marvelled at the abilities of the mighty CR-V. We were happy to climb up and away from the Seymour River on the many zigzags to Blind Saddle as we were now away from the potential barrier. As we crossed over the saddle the dark clouds to our south west were chasing us out of the area, as if to remind us we had made the right decision leaving early-ish there were flurries of snow at the top of the saddle. Seeing the Pacific Ocean was a good sign we were going the right way, and by the time we got back to the Inland Kaikoura Road it was raining.

Once again the CR-V held its own when travelling in rough 4WD country, alongside trucks with far more grunt and ground clearance then our ‘Soccer Mom’ car . Another epic mission in the bag thanks to the CR-V, and it definitely wouldn’t be the last time we pushed the little green Honda to its limits, but for now I think we need to give the old girl a wash!!

Storm Clouds Brewing Over the Kaikoura Mountains

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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