Rangiora area

21 01 2018

On the Saturday after the wet event in Christchurch I picked up the “cheap and cheerful” rental car from the off-site airport location. Two weeks, unlimited mileage cost me NZ$ 445 or around 2600 SEK which is a pretty fair deal compared with larger well known rental car company offerings. The car was a Japanese import with all the stickers still in Japanese, and 250000+ km on the odometer. It was an automatic and the blinkers and wiper stalks were reversed compared to a European car. After wiping the windscreen a couple of times I go the hang of where the blinkers were.

I had looked at the possibility of renting a bike so that I could get round the powertrails I had scoped out before starting my vacation, but was horrified

to find that it was more expensive than renting the car! My second alternative was to buy a secondhand bike but one of my friends here, John W, said “no problems, borrow mine as I never use it”. Problem solved.

I booked a room in Rangiora for a couple of nights on airbnb not really knowing what to expect. I then threw the bike and my bag in the boot of the car and shot off to Rangiora. Drving on the left is second nature as I learnt to drive in England and I never experience it as a problem. The room I found on airbnb was in a new detached house and even gave me the run of the rest of the house. Breakfast was provided and I sat in the living room in the evenings and chatted with the host Kevin and his lodger James. As it turned out, we were all radio amateurs so lots to talk about.

When I left Christchurch I was running late but got started chatting to my friends’ neighbours and then when I rushed off I forgot my bike helmet. Use of a helmet is mandatory in New Zealand so I had to do the power trail on foot! Grr!

Rangiora geocaching trail

It was upstream along the Ashley River and the round trip was some 15-16 km. Most of the caches were in good condition but FFT – Do you have a weak stomach? was in need of maintenance. I had to sign the container!

Logging the sheep!

I finished off the trail when I got to Karen’s Rockery, an old traditional cache with a proper regular container and logbook.

Karen’s Rockery, the last cache on the trail.

At one point on my walk back to Rangiora I saw some local farmers harvesting some grain, don’t ask me if it was barley or oats, but it wasn’t wheat at least, and they were forming the sheaves by hand! I stopped and talked with one of the farmers and he said that they were one of the few farms where they still did it this way. I didn’t ask why so that I didn’t upset him.

Taking in the harvest the old fashioned way

Hand formed sheaves

It was a hot day so getting back to Rangiora and a cold beer at the local RSA club was really appreciated.

On the next day, I spent the morning on Ingress in Rangiora then in Kaiapoi which is a small town some 20km north of Christchurch on the Waimakariri River. It was known many years ago for it’s woollen mills. I have found quite a few caches in the town and now in the rebuild period after the 2011 earthquake that
devasted the township there are not so many new ones to hunt. In the afternoon I got back into geocaching and did another power trail of sorts but this time in the car. It was one called Lolly Scramble. I did part of it some years ago but for whatever reasons the pocket query didn’t completely download so I missed half of them. I expected my new PQ to fill in the gaps.

Lolly Scramble – still not complete!

There are some gaps where caches have been archived but even so there are a number of caches at the western end of the trail that my latest PQ didn’t pick up. Grr! I am not going back again. I finished off the drive westwards in the little town of Oxford where I did an Ingress Mission just to make a change from geocaching. I have found about half the caches in the township on previous visits.

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A mixed bag in Canterbury

21 01 2015

After my trip to Nelson I spent a further week and a half in Christchurch where the time just seemed to float on by. That’s a good sign of a relaxing vacation I guess. looking back at my stats in GSAK I see that I managed to find 94 caches and hold an event of my own during that time. What I didn’t do was take as many photographs of a wide range of subjects as I could have.

Halswell Quarry to the south of Chrictchurch is where most of the building material for the city came in those days when buildings were made from stone. these days it’s all steel or reinforced concrete. I have been there a few times before and found a few caches including the clever yet Ifrustrating “Aloha, sonny”. Unfortunately, for purely smartphone users, I very much doubt that they will be able to solve the mystery. There is also an interesting earthcache here and a number of other simple trads. I found two new caches that both contained food which can be a problem of course, both from the point of attracting wild animals but also just because mould can setg in. I removed the food and left a note on the cache page. I assume it was a novice that had done it in all good faith.

Halswell Quarry

Halswell Quarry

I also spent a day in the centre of the city, not hunting for caches as most of them have been disabled or archived due to the destruction of the buildings by the two major earthquakes that hit Christchurch, but just to try to orient myself. It was really hard as no landmarks remain. Basically all there is are empty plots of land, some remains and new building sites. There have been some enterprising artists who have been allowed to adorn the remaining concrete walls with colourful murals of all shapes and sizes. The pictures can speak for themselves.

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The next day I went for a 25 km walk that allowed me to collect all the caches on the Southern motorway plus a dozen or so more and get 100 caches in total for that date. The reason being that I needed the numbers for a challenge at home in Sweden. Most of the caches on the route were standard micros but Squelch! stood out. In the words of Head Hard Hat, “poke it with a stick”, was good advice. Once I got to the end of the motorway I popped into a simple cafe called “Cafeine” and drank the best cup of coffee I have had in Christchurch. Period. So if you are ever at the junction of Lincoln Road and Curletts road drop in and tell them who sent you.

Cafeine on Lincoln Road

Cafeine on Lincoln Road

I held my event 10 years of caching in New Zealand on Sunday 25th January and was pleased at the turn out. Bald Ed was one of the first cachers I met in New Zealand and have bumped into him several times over the years. I also met some other familiar faces and new cachers. Great fun.I spent the morning prior to the event hunting for caches in the Cashmere are of town. Most notable was The power of the moon. (Canterbury) . I expected a crawl up a culvert when I looked at the cache location on Google Maps. Luckily, such was not the case and I can understand why it had 40 favourite points.

My last busy geocaching day in Canterbury consisted of a run out to Oxford. On my map I had dozens of caches in the “Lolly Scramble” running the whole way along the South Eyre Road and the “Fruit (& Vege) Loop” series around Eyreton, but for some reason I had managed to filter out half of them when I did my GPS upload from GSAK. Both were really fun series as they all had interesting containers either in the form of fruit and vegetables or sweet containers, that gave me a few chuckles along the way

Fun cache series between Kaiapoi and Oxford: Lolly Scramble and Fruit (&veges)

Fun cache series between Kaiapoi and Oxford: Lolly Scramble and Fruit (&veges)

The finale for the day, was a little detour through Kaiapoi to see how it is recovering from the earthquakes and to visit Rabbit Revenge. This is a cache with 69 favourite points and again in the words of Head Hard Hat, “poke it with a stick”!








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