We had to leave the Beautiful Blue Cottage Beach Bach this morning and head inland to our next stop, the town of Fairlie. Our host gave us detailed notes for the drive, the Scenic Inland route, with mention of great cafe’s and lunch spots!
About half way through the drive we descended to the Rakaia River Gorge.
We drove up the other side of the river to a viewpoint, looking back at the gorge, one bridge is obscured by the rocky central island. Several reader boards tell the Maori story of a ‘Taniwha” (river monster) who used to live where the gorge is now. One day when he was away a demon personified as a nor’west wind came down the Rakaia river from the mountains and flattened the Taniwha’s property. When he returned he vowed to outwit the nor’west demon and brought huge stones and boulders down from the mountains to halt the progress of the demon. The result is that the course of the river narrowed so that it flows between 2 rock walls, and the rocky island is evidence of the Taniwha’s work.An interesting sidebar is that a town on the edge of the gorge is named ‘Windwhistle’, think it gets a little windy here maybe?
We continued our journey and passed a sign for a waterfall, so of course we took the detour! The Kahekerua/Sharplin Falls Walking Track looked fairly new and well maintained by the Mt. Somers Walkways Society. We entered the beech forest with it’s black sooty mould on some trees, the scale insect anal tube ‘hairs’ on the trunks with the drops of sweet nectar, and the invasive wasps harvesting all that nutritious nectar. New bridges over the river make the trail easy and fun.
The waterfall hike was a great diversion with another hour of driving to our destination. We stopped for groceries and continued to our VRBO in Fairlie at the base of the Southern Alps.