New Zealand Journal 2

Pupu Hydro Walkway

It is 14 days since we landed so we can stop worrying about coughs and wheezes as we have been relatively isolated. We continue to watch the news feeds. A few more cases in New Zealand today and although the total is relatively low, that is likely to change perhaps. No information is available about our flights home but they are still weeks away so anything may happen. The airlines are not contactable and are saying that passengers will be informed in date order, so not to phone.

We had a wonderful lunch high above Wainui Bay at Toto’s Pizza, a ‘bohemian self-sufficient pizzeria’ built from cob with a turf roof. It was closed when we arrived due to some kind of electrical fault but we hung around and they miraculously opened again. Excellent camembert pizza was enjoyed!

I am a day behind with this journal so yesterday’s walk was…

Pupu Hydro Walkway

This is a repurposed gold mining water-race which now powers a generating station. Water is fed from a mountain stream along a manmade leet and down a penstock that powers a hydro at the foot of the hill. The old technology is impressive (see HERE for the history).

The trail head is reached along a very dusty track, our shiny blue rental car was covered by the time we got back. The walkway crosses the river over a bridge and then ascends quite steeply up a path where water runs have eroded deep channels through the red and yellow clay. Fantails and a South Island Robin accompanied us.

Pupu Hydro Walkway
Pupu Hydro Walkway

A boardwalk follows the leet with angled railings to stop a slip down the steep hillside. In places the boardwalk narrows to little more than 40cms with the hillside drop on one side and the fast flowing leet on the other. We met a guy with a bill hook keeping the path clear. “I’ve been coming up here for 38 years, glad you’re enjoying it”. I asked about the mechanisms for controlling the water flow and maintenance of the old penstock, a tube that takes the water down the hillside to the turbine”. “It needs painting regularly, we just climb up it with a paint pot in one hand and a brush in the other. You need an extra pair of hands to hold on!”

The path continues to climb up a maintained track and then descends to the generating plant that has a viewing room. Apparently it’s all controlled by a Z80 computer chip!

This is an easy but varied and interesting walk, a credit to those who keep it open.


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