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Detour to Moana

Caravan Diaries 2020

sunny 22 °C

Given my destination, heading across Arthur's Pass to Lake Brunner is not the most logical path to take, but I have a voucher for a night in the hotel there I need to cash in. Yes, that's right - my third night of a caravan holiday is spent in a hotel.

It is an easy drive across the Canterbury Plains, via a compulsory stop in Sheffield for a pie - steak and cheese, naturally. Arthur's Pass always takes me by surprise, because all the climbing is done well before you actually hit the village. One particular long uphill stretch is not to my Jeep's satisfaction - there is a bit of smoke emission, which is never a good thing. I have a bit of a conundrum in Arthur's Pass - there's the café or across the road a rather welcoming looking place where I could have a quick beer. I compromise and have a ginger beer in the café, as I still have to confront the Otira Gorge.

There have been several signs saying that the Gorge is not recommended for vehicles towing things, because it inclines down very steeply, but I have noticed several cars coming the other way towing caravans as well as a number of tankers. As it happens, I follow a tanker with trailer all the way down so progress is very slow. From the bottom, it is only about half an hour to Moana, which is right on the shores of the lake. I have been here several times already, by train, in my old van Webster, on random trips across to the West Coast and I even had a few nights over Christmas in the motor camp here a few years ago. There is very little to the town - not even a proper shop - but it is my favourite lakeside spot, because Lake Brunner is such a cool lake. I am lucky enough to be at the station when a train comes through.


The hotel is quite a surprise - it has grown since I last saw it: basically it had just been the bit at the front. Now there are three levels of apartments (one is for sale at $425,000). I remember staying in a skodie old room beside the bar and not being very impressed, but my room this time gives me a view of the lake and is very comfortable. The staff are wonderfully warm but dinner is, um, not great - the fish and chips are fine, but the lamb skewers have very little substance to them.


Well, now that I have dined, perhaps it is time I showed you the lake? This is the view from the front of the hotel (and, no, I do not skateboard).


Down on the lake front, it is very peaceful, a couple of families with their kids playing and that's about it. The boats look very tranquil.


I particularly like this picture, with the late sun caught up in the clouds.


There is a cafe - the Station House Cafe - which I plan to have my morning coffee at. I am not an early riser: even so, it would have been a half hour wait for the cafe to open, and it was unlikely to have much of a buzz, so I head to Greymouth.


Posted by NZBarry 11:18 Archived in New Zealand

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