December 31, 2023 Baton Run (Day 95)

A cool rainy night led into a cool misty day with rain threatening. We stayed inside as long as we could, then headed out to a possible hiking venue if the rain held off. We drove down country lanes to a bridge across the Motueka River and turned down a gravel road following the river upstream.

At one point we were above the river looking down on the fast flowing clear water!

We went past a few farms in the narrow valley and a few signs for lodging. We passed by a few hand painted signs advertising “cold drinks, ice cream, local history”. When we turned a corner we were surprised by a new barn, with a parking area in front, a rustic bar and a rusty tractor inside!

A brand new rest stop on the “Great Taste Cycle Trail”.

The Great Taste Trail is a 200km loop cycling/walking trail around the area that goes from coast to the mountain foothills with stops along the way at cafes, craft breweries and wineries along the way! As we read the history of the area on the signboards and admired the rusty tractor the hostess arrived on her farm ATV. This is a new venture for the family that has farmed the area for 3 generations. They had a horse-trekking business in the past, but saw the trend from horses to bicycles and changed with the times! The Great Taste Trail goes through their property and a swing bridge over the river was named in honor of them, Lublow’s Leap!

A Lanz Bulldog tractor from before WW2.

A photo of the 2nd generation farmer Norm Lublow in the 1950’s using the tractor!

After our time reading about the goldmining and farming history of the area and some delicious ice cream (unfortunately the cold drinks don’t include beer or wine) we continued down the gravel road until it was impassable, in our car anyway!Our adventure stopped at this ford on the Baton river, a tributary to the Mouteka river. On the other side, about 2km up the road is the border of the Kahurangi National Park and tramping trails!

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