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New Zealand Trip: South Island

After the World Congress was over I took the bus down to Dunedin. It was a nice bus trip. We went through Omaru while they were having their founders days, lots of people were dressed in their old fashioned clothes.

When i got to Dunedin, the buldings downtown reminded me a lot of the buildings that were in downtown Seattle when i was young. I took a boat ride down the bay to see the albatross' and other wildlife, went to the very good Pioneer Museum and found the Tip Top market where the best ice cream cones are sold.

However this is a sheep website, so i will tell you about my train trip to Middlemarch, a town in the high plateau sheep country of Central Otago.

The train station in Dunedin. A private train runs from here using the old passenger coaches. The train runs from Dunedin to Middlemarch twice a week.

This statue along the tracks is a tribute to the working dogs of the high country. There are two sheep stations in the steep hills on either side of the tracks.

Cottesbrook: one of the early sheep properties in the Middlemarch area

The original stone shearing shed at Cottesbrook

Stone sheep handling pens at another property in the Middlemarch area

The stone tablet says:

Hello and Welcome

These stone sheep yards were erected by John Keast and son Thomas in the early 1920's

Horse and sledge were used to drag the stones to the site

I was able to visit these (and several more) historic sheep related sights around Middlemarch thanks to a very knowlegable woman named Liz, who offers a quick tour of the area during the train stop. She also happens to own coloured sheep.

Here is a website describing the tour. I signed up for the tour on the train

Potted Tour

When I left Dunedin I went back to Christchurch. From there I took the Hamner Connection bus north to go for a half day horseback ride with Hurunui Horse treks. I had considered an ovenight ride but as I hadn't ridden for over 20 years I wasn't sure if I could make it that far. As it turned out I had a wonderful time, if I had been staying longer in New Zealand I would have gone on an overnight ride for sure.

We rode for about five hours through scrubby foothills and grassy areas.

In the area of scrubby hills there were small Merino ewes with scrawny looking lambs. When we got down a bit lower into the lush areas there were large ewes that looked like Border Leicesters with big growthy lambs.

The cows in the above picture looked like Jerseys or Jersey crosses.

There were five of us on this ride. I am from the US of course, there were also a couple from Switzerland, a woman from Germany and our guide.

I rode a very nice horse named Porgy. He has his stake rope around his neck. As you can see there were some outstanding views.

The lush green hills. The horses were very surefooted on the steep areas

We had tied up the horses and stopped for lunch on the hills. Then we rode through trees and along the river

After we rode back and forth along the river we ended up at the road that took us back to our starting point.

Rob and Mandy, the owners, came out to ask if we had enjoyed ourselves. Rob had picked me up at the hotel where i had gotten off the bus and Mandy drove me down so I could catch the bus back to Christchurch.

If I make it back to New Zealand, I plan to go on at least an overnight ride. In fact I really hope to make it on one of the longer treks.

Here is the link that tells about some of their rides

Hurunui Horse Treks

Crossfire Hill Homepage