Day Forty Four: Karangahake Gorge revisited!

Before I officially start my post for today, let me say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to four people who are important to me: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert “Bob” Starkey, Lucie Hecht and Peter Eldredge!! Best wishes for a marvelous day for you!! It may already be January 21st here in New Zealand, but back home in the United States it’s January 20th and that means it’s their birthday!!

It was only a teaser stop when I passed through Karangahake Gorge on Day Twenty. This time I had a plan! I’d spent a long night listening to the wind howling and knocking things around at The Nunnery in Te Aroha, and the general idea was this: If it was raining in the morning I’d wait around in Te Aroha and get a box mailed home at the NZ Post Shop and see if maybe there’d be a break in the weather. If it was NOT raining, I’d get up and out early / fast and bolt for Karangahake Gorge. I bet you can guess which plan I ended up going with. So yes, another box mailed home. I got to go into some of the shops I’d seen the evening before (when they had been closed for the day) and even found another used CD to listen to in the rental. This one is VH1 Storytellers: Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson. I listened to it on the way from Karangahake Gorge to my hotel in Auckland and it’s GOOD!!  I also met and spent time talking to a woman who has a small shop that she’s in the process of shutting down. She sells books and yarn, so we had a long talk about the book industry in general and some other things in particular. While I was in there the fellow who I had purchased the CD from came in and added to the conversation, which by this point had turned to water rationing (back home in California and in New Zealand and England, where the shopkeeper was from). It had rained on and off the whole time I was out, and I gave up and just drove…

KG 1 Explore Karangahake

KG 2

KG 3

KG 4

KG 5

KG 6

KG 8

KG 9

KG 10

KG 12

KG 13

Gotta love a suspension bridge!

Gotta love a suspension bridge!

And this part of the gorge has TWO suspension bridges!

And this part of the gorge has TWO suspension bridges!

KG 15 above bridge

KG 16 water veiw

Storm-downed silver fern frond. Maori used these much like Hansel and Gretel's bread crumbs, but without the danger of birds eating the trail markers!

Storm-downed silver fern frond. Maori used these much like Hansel and Gretel’s bread crumbs, but without the danger of birds eating the trail markers!

KG 18 a Crown Mines and Battery

KG 18 b Cyanide process

KG 18 c

KG 19 a

KG 19 b back to battery

Up and over the water and the road...

Up and over the water and the road…

...toward the rail tunnel...

…toward the rail tunnel…

view from the bridge

view from the bridge

Repeat after me... I am NOT afraid to walk through this almost 1km tunnel by myself.

Repeat after me… I am NOT afraid to walk through this almost 1km tunnel by myself.

KG 23 railway tunnel old photo

KG 26 fast facts

KG 28 tunnel sign why

KG 29 length of tunnel sign

At this point I was texting my friend to tell her where I was in case I didn't make it out... GEEZ am I a worrywart!

At this point I was texting my friend to tell her where I was in case I didn’t make it out… GEEZ am I a worrywart!

Phew! The proverbial Light At The End Of The Tunnel! And yes, I walked back through it again going the other way. Much easier the second time through.

Phew! The proverbial Light At The End Of The Tunnel!
And yes, I walked back through it again going the other way. Much easier the second time through.

Gorge road on the other end of the tunnel.

Gorge road on the other end of the tunnel.

Well done... 20 minutes to the Talisman Cafe!  Sounds like a plan!!

Well done… 20 minutes to the Talisman Cafe!
Sounds like a plan!!

Talisman 1

Talisman 2 carpark sign

Talisman 3 garden

Talisman 4

Talisman 5

Talisman 6

Talisman 7

Talisman 8

Yes, I sat right under this beautiful tui bird mosaic!

Yes, I sat right under this beautiful tui bird mosaic!

Talisman 9

Talisman 10 garden mural

My post-hike lunch spot below the bird mural.

My post-hike lunch spot below the bird mural.

Talisman garden thru door

Is that a beautiful coffee or what? Perfect after a wet hike!

Is that a beautiful coffee or what? Perfect after a wet hike!

Talisman 1978 view, and that's just what it still looked like in 1987 when I spent a few days there.

Talisman 1978 view, and that’s just what it still looked like in 1987 when I spent a few days there.

Talisman 19

Talisman 18

Talisman 14

Talisman 13

Talisman 12

garden mural detail

garden mural detail

I talked to the gal that brought my lunch and she said that the current owners had purchased it 13 years ago. They have put A LOT of time and love into Talisman, creating the wood carvings and mosaic work and doing wonders with all the garden space– which was LAWN when I was there in 1987. It’s truly
a marvel of transformation into a lush art space/garden. It’s well worth a stop, and the hiking in the gorge is well marked and beautiful. It DOES rain a lot, so be prepared. And if you take that walk through the train tunnel, you might want to supplement the lights with your own torch…if you’re a Big Chicken like I am!!

I’ll leave you with this, which demonstrates to me just how terribly lucky I am sometimes:

Spoiler Alert! I had NO idea when I parked that I was that close to destroying the front end of the rental. Thank GOODNESS that I cleared the kerb (curb)!!

Spoiler Alert!
I had NO idea when I parked that I was that close to destroying the front end of the rental. Thank GOODNESS that I cleared the kerb (curb)!!

I’m in Auckland now, at a hotel close to the airport. I have a morning flight back down to the south island and wanted to be close by so I didn’t have to deal with too much morning traffic trying to get to Auckland International Airport and my rental car return. I’m going to miss my blue Toyota. I’m sure it’s going to be back to “rental car vanilla” once I’m in Christchurch tomorrow!!

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5 Responses to Day Forty Four: Karangahake Gorge revisited!

  1. EO says:

    Texting before entering the bowels of the earth is not overkill. Safety first!
    Glad you got to revisit the gorge & the Talisman! Those are the connections to your first trip that make this journey so cool.

  2. Gretchen says:

    I take it you didn’t feel the earthquake since you haven’t mentioned it. Glad you missed it!

    • brabett says:

      It was not where I was at the time. It was very close to Pukaha Mt. Bruce, and I emailed Helen the director to make sure they were all okay. She said they lost some glass panels and the retail fell off the shelves, but they are all fine and open for business.

      The crazy wind I got in Te Aroha was part of the CYCLONE that went through parts of Auckland. I really have gotten the full range this trip.

      • EO says:

        Cyclone?! Well, I see you went with the more exotic choice over a run-of-the-mill earthquake. You still have time for one of those anyway 🙂
        Because honestly, it’s logical if you A) stay long enough, and 2) you go up and down and all around as you have, you will hit some various bits of weather!
        Stay safe!

  3. Brother Peter says:

    Thanks for the birthday wish. I am lucky to share the day with the other three.

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