Yes we have been off travelling again ! This time "Doing the Molesworth" . For you non-kiwis, travelling to Molesworth for Kiwis, is like Muslims visiting Mecca ! Almost like a reglious experience !
Molesworth is the largest farm in New Zealand and takes up a fair percentage of inland Marlborough - 10,000 hectares - some of the most rugged and scenic country in New Zealand . It used to be privately owned, however due to bad management, and infested by rabbits, possoms and other vermin, it steadily went downhill until the owners gave up and walked off the land. It was taken over by the government ( ultimately the people of NZ ). It was placed in the hands of the Department of Conservation ( DoC ) to look after but the actual farming to be operated by another government department, Landcorp. It now seems to be a thriving operation with about 10,000 head of cattle. Being a New Zealand Heritage Site, Molesworth is open to the public during the summer months. ( It is closed over winter due to swollen rivers and road closures by snow ). There is no charge to traverse Molesworth from the Awatere River valley in the north, to Hanmer Springs alpine village in the south.( When it was in private hands you could still travel it, but a small fee was charged by the owners. )
The road, which is unsealed, is suitable for most vehicles except motor homes and caravans - we even passed small cars such as Toyota Corollas which seemed to manage alright ( driving through rocky fords with water up to the axles, may have been a bit of a challenge for them though ! ). This road mainly follows the various rivers as they wind their way through the valleys . Also following these river valleys are electricity pylons carrying the High Voltage DC power line from the power generating lakes of the south of the South Island up to the more populated North Island. We can be thankful for this line as the road we travel on was formed to service this line and it's pylons.
This trip we had been talking about for years, It was quoted as a 6hour trip to Hanmer Springs, no petrol pumps, no cell phone coverage ( and no coffee shops ) We had to be self sufficient !!
We set off from Blenheim and headed south on State Highway 1 to Seddon ( where the last lot of earthquakes was centred ). We turned off State Highway 1 and made our way up the Awatere River valley for a couple of hours.
The entrance to Molesworth Station - 100 kms from Blenheim - 2 hours drive.
A bit further on into Molesworth - virtually no trees just grass and a few native matagouri bushes ( with big sharp spikes on their branches ! ) and introduced sweet briar ( roses ). Note the ever present power pylons.
The Awatere River looking back towards Blenheim. Not too many trees now, more grassland with a few willows growing along the river.
The three intrepid explorers - coffee break before tackling The Molesworth.
The Cob Cottage. The original homesteat of the original owners. Currently being renovated by DoC.
The curent homestead, farm buildings and farm workers accomodation.