Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘hyde’

Rail Trail: Day 4 to Middlemarch

It was chilly and overcast when we set off for our final day on the trail, a 27km tootle through to Middlemarch. First order of business was a side trip down to the cemetery. Just for a look, as you do.

Hyde Cemetery, Otago

Pointing back south, it was a couple of kilometres before we reached Hyde station.

Apple trees can be found in a few places along the trail, grown from apple cores thrown out of train windows

Apple trees can be found in a few places along the trail, grown from apple cores thrown out of train windows

The station was always this distance away from the town as there was no closer flat land. It’s in private ownership now but the owners have permitted Rail Trail access and they have kept a fairly authentic looking site. Buildings, wagons, sections of track, all in a happily run down state.

Hyde station has lots to see compared with other stops on the trail

Hyde station has lots to see compared with other stops on the trail

Collecting another stamp for the passport

Collecting another stamp for the passport

A few kms beyond Hyde station is the site of New Zealand’s second worst rail accident. In 1943 a locomotive carrying passengers to Dunedin derailed going round a curve. Excessive speed was blamed and 21 deaths resulted from the crash.

Straw Cutting, where the train derailed

Straw Cutting, where the train derailed

A couple of weeks before I prepared this post, around the 70th anniversary of the tragedy, an excellent documentary screened on TV. The second best/worst/biggest etc ‘things’ are often forgotten by the general population and the programme gave an appropriate and sensitive remembrance to this horrible event.

Memorial to the 1943 Hyde rail tragedy

Memorial to the 1943 Hyde rail tragedy

me

We pedalled on, next stopping at Ngapuna station.

The penultimate station stop

The penultimate station stop

Waiting for a train at Ngapuna station (re-enactment)

Waiting for a train at Ngapuna station (re-enactment)

A final straight-line dash took us to our finishing line in Middlemarch.

me

Almost there!

Almost there!

Our arrival in Middlemarch was, well, an anticlimax. It’s a small town and very quiet. We rode around a block or two, thinking “surely there’s more!”.

There wasn’t.

We did end up enjoying our time there but how that came to be I’ll carry over to another post or two.

So that was the end of the Rail Trail. It was a brilliant experience and one I often rave about. I would love to ride it again some time, probably in the reverse direction for something different – and because I think you could celebrate its completion better at the other end.

I might choose another season too. The publican back at the Lauder Hotel on day one said he thought May was the best time to ride the trail. A bit cooler, autumnal colours, maybe even a dusting of snow on the ranges… yes I could see the appeal.

Final day done. Station stamps collected from: Hyde, Rock & Pillar, Ngapuna, Middlemarch.

Advertisements

Rail Trail: Day 3 to Hyde

In more overcast weather we set off on the 44km jaunt to Hyde. I really liked simple photogenic little Wedderburn and vowed to come back and stay another time.

Somewhere between Wedderburn and Ranfurly

Somewhere between Wedderburn and Ranfurly

First station stop of the day was Ranfurly where we had a quick poke around the station buildings. The town was originally known as Eweburn, which given the Wedderburn thing made you wonder if the Chief Surveyor back in the day set out on a theme he would feel compelled to maintain. Surely we wouldn’t come across a Hoggetburn or Lamburn?

Ranfurly station

Ranfurly station

Ranfurly is the largest town in the Maniototo district. Maniototo is Maori for ‘plains of blood’ – hopefully not the blood of Rail Trail cyclists.

On we trundled

On we trundled

We approached the Rock and Pillar Range which we’d then hug the base of for the rest of the day.

Central Otago Rail Trail, irrigation channel

The vast land around here was subdivided after WW1 as part of the rehabilitation scheme for returning servicemen. Further back in time this was a forested area inhabited by the now long-extinct moa.

Central Otago Rail Trail, between Ranfurly and Kokonga

Kokonga station used to be here. A small settlement is still located nearby

Kokonga station used to be here. A small settlement is still located nearby

We didn't see other riders all that often

We didn’t see other riders all that often (and liked it that way)

Daisybank is one of the Trail entry/exit points

Daisybank is one of the Trail entry/exit points

Not sure who the red dwarf was

Not sure who the red dwarf was

Lunch stop by the Taieri River on the way to Hyde

Lunch stop by the Taieri River

Tiroiti station was here, servicing one of the railway construction camps

Tiroiti station was here, servicing one of the railway construction camps

Is it just me or does Mike look a bit gigantic?

Is it just me or does Mike look a bit gigantic?

After the challenge of strong cross winds in the last sector, and after what was probably the last tunnel of the Trail, we arrived in Hyde. The old mining town lives on though today is sustained moreso (in part anyway) by Rail Trail tourism than small shiny particles.

Otago Central Hotel, Hyde

This would be our stop for the night. We had booked with the Otago Central Hotel but as the hotel part was full of Rotarians, we were put in a separate house a short distance away.

As was our pattern, there was time left in the day to both explore and kick back.

Always happy if I find an old and abandoned building or two

Always happy if I find an old and abandoned building or two

Old sheds, Hyde, Otago

Inside the hotel

Inside the hotel

Day three done. Station stamps collected from: Ranfurly, Waipiata, Kokonga, Tiroiti. In the morning we would collect the Hyde stamp and also find the site of Hyde’s unfortunate main claim to fame: NZ’s second-worst rail disaster.

%d bloggers like this: