January 1, 2024 Happy New Year! (Day 96)

Happy New Year! It’s gonna be a beautiful day! We got in the car and headed out for our first walk of the year, but were stopped by the sight of the mare and foal in the paddock next to the road. We’ve seen them from a distance, but never this close.

We interrupted the foals breakfast.

When Mom saw us she headed our way with baby trotting behind!

Mom munched some grass over the fence, maybe hoping for a carrot, while baby was a little skeptical!

We were heading back to Baton Run where we were yesterday to try to do the hike we attempted then. The hostess of the rest stop had given us directions to a swing bridge over the river so we wouldn’t get our feet wet. We scoped it out yesterday and found the parking area and headed over the private bridge.

The current land owners restored the swing bridge.

We learned from the sign boards yesterday that basically only the river valleys are suitable for agriculture. There was a minor gold rush in the area starting with a gold discovery in 1855. Miners arrived but it was never lucrative enough for major strikes. In 1859 the Taylor family moved to the area and built a hotel to service the miners. This bridge was an access point to the hotel. The newest owners of the land have rebuilt the hotel which burned down at some point.

It is a private residence now that hosts conservation and art workshops, but they allow the public to use the bridge.

A great brief history of the short gold mining era and a photo of the original hotel can be found HERE. The current owners story and photos of the rebuilt house and the original hotel can be found HERE. We continued on the road into the beech forest along the Baton river which is down the slope from the road. The river looks crystal clear with a cobble bed and boulders creating small rapids and falls. No pictures can do justice!

The road got progressively more rugged and potholed as we continued upriver!

We came across another building along the road, a private hut, a little different architecture than the Taylor hotel!

This private hut has something to do with the mining claim on the river. There are several signs stating that the whole river has one mining claim under the name of D. Atkins.

We reached 2 and a half miles, and a hill climb, so we turned around and retraced our steps through the beech forest. We saw some trees with the sooty black mouldĀ  but they had lots of wasps crawling over the trunks, and very few hairy anal tubes extruding from the trunks. The invasive wasps have altered the ecology in this area! We returned to the car and relaxed, then explored another bridge we saw through the trees.

A much more rickety, basic suspension bridge. This looked to us like a bridge to move sheep across the river to a chute where they could be loaded up onto transport trucks. I can’t imagine sheep entering this bridge and crossing willingly!

We continued back to Baton Run and took a detour on the Great Taste Trail to our 3rd suspension bridge for the day!

Named for the family that runs the rest stop, it’s an impressive swing bridge!

Three suspension bridges in one day! Not bad for the first walk of the new year!

2 Responses to “January 1, 2024 Happy New Year! (Day 96)”

  1. Katrina Says:

    Happy New Year! LOVING reading your posts and seeing the South Island again via your pictures.



  2. rmj Says:


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