I woke to a cooler strangely foggy morning. Today's ride was going to be short so had a leisurely breakfast before putting the bike in the car for the drive down to Beaumont.
Back to Beaumont
It was about eleven, and a fine sunny day, by the time I arrived in Beaumont. Left the car on a side road and set out towards Lawrence, about 20km away.
This part of the trail leaves the Clutha, heading across country following the road and an old railway line.
Odd bike and Big Hill
Not sure what this was about, some extreme biking gone wrong?
At the top of a climb you get to, the imaginitively named, 'Big Hill Tunnel'.
It's 440m in the cool dark before you emerge back into the sun for the downhill towards Evans Flat.
The trail ducks under the road at Tuapeka River, then heads on quieter side roads towards Lawrence.
This historic campsite is where up to 120 Chinese miners lived in the 1860s. Little left other than the oven.
Lawrence was a very wealthy town in the gold era, population once topped 11,500. Pretty quiet today although still a few cycle tourists and vans on the road.
This former bank was for sale, already nicely restored as a five-bedroom residence, for 'Offers over $649,000'. Lots of this era buildings have been hammered by new earthquake strengthening requirements, if so, might be the reason for the modest value.
Rival colonial churches face off opposite sides of the street...
I noticed a lot of Suzuki Ignis around the town, good for the area or just a successful local dealer? They are small, cheap, economical 'SUV' but not 4WD which might be useful in winter...
In my lifetime Gabriel's Gully found fame due to the TV series 'Hunter's Gold'. In 1977 it was the "most expensive local TV drama yet made" set in the 1860s when "Gabriel Read discovered the first payable gold which resulted in the great New Zealand gold rush".
It's a few kilometres from Lawrence, today a nice park with little evidence of the industry which created it.
On 8 June 1861 the Otago Witness reported that Gabriel Read had found payable quantities of gold ‘shining like the stars in Orion on a dark frosty night’. It took a while for the penny to drop, but by December perhaps 14,000 people - several times Dunedin’s population - had pitched their tents on the Tuapeka and Waipori fields and staked out their 8 x 8 m claims, 4000-5000 of them at this gully and nearby Wetherstons alone. The first of New Zealand’s three big gold rushes (Otago, Westland and Thames) – and the third of the transformative Pacific rushes (California, Victoria and New Zealand) was on...
Lunch at '26 on Ross'
Quite a few places were closed but was glad to get a nice, late two o clock, lunch in the courtyard of '26 on Ross' Café'. A melt and juice, with an iced coffee to follow.
Farewelled Lawrence, retracing the same path back to Beaumont.
Classic old house, classic old bike as sculpture outside, classic lawn mowers who took an interest in the photographer.
Back through the 'Big Hill Tunnel'.
Found the Bravo safe 'n sound. I had the rental bike until the morning, it was only mid-afternoon, had an idea for one more ride...