Saturday 31 December 2016
Paekakariki Station Museum, located in the old buildings of the actual train station, tells stories of Maori, settlers and villagers, US marines and railways. The museum is manned by a very talkative old lady who yabbers at me for 20 minutes non-stop (she didn’t have her hearing aid in so I could not contribute much to the conversation) about local history, her family, current affairs, Australian politics and local gossip – all jumbled in together.
As there are no trains running due to the maintenance on the track she says we can wander down the line to the Workshops. Which we do. It’s funny even though there are no trains running we nervously eye up and down the track – in Australia you would get fined for doing this!
The Workshops actively repair and maintain old steam and diesel engines and carriages. There are about a dozen or so engines is various state of disrepair including a huge old behemoth brought over from Rhodesia of all places. For the train enthusiasts out there, there are a few trains of note including a grand black steam 1271 (4-6-0) built in 1956 in New Zealand, the red diesel 1431 built by Clyde Engineering in Sydney, and a twin 1471 built in Canada currently being worked. This is not fancy museum, it’s a real workshop – messy, dusty, greasy. We are given free reign to walk around the workshop and even climb into the engines/carriages – just watch your step.
We then wander around Paekarariki to see what else it has to offer – ummm not much. So we head off to have lunch at the Fishermans Basket – which we now know wasn’t such a great idea. The location was good enough (right on the beach with ocean views) and the décor quite nice (nautical American theme) but the service was scarse and the food very hoo hum – not bad just boring.
We have a quick detour to Queen Elizabeth Park on the way home and there is a little tram that runs for a km or two through the park.
We drop the car off and head down the road back to the Raumati Social Club to use their WIFI and have a couple of early NYE drinks.
We have not booked anything for this evening and planning a quiet night in with some takeaway from the Banana Leaf Malaysian restaurant. We drive down place our order then go the Boundary Hotel for a drink while we wait. Things are pretty tame at the Pub but its only 8:30 perhaps things will pick up.
Back at the glasshouse (as we have started referring the studio) we feast on our takeaway and then jump in bed to watch TV, drink champagne and wait for midnight. Not the most exciting of nights but at least I made it to midnight for a change!