Date: Thursday 21 February 2013
Route: Hanmer Springs to Hurunui, then to Peaks Farm and back
Distance: 96km – 51 to hotel, 42 to farm and back
Weather: overcast and cool
Accommodation: Hurunui Hotel
We had an easy ride to Hurunui in the morning, as it was flat or downhill and lovely and cool after yesterday. It was scenic going out of Hanmer Springs, but less so once we got onto the plain. Also not the best road for traffic.
We got to the Hurnui Hotel at around 11.30am. It is in the middle of nowhere and is more a pub than a hotel. However there are rooms upstairs – they are very rambly and old fashioned with uneven floors. We were the only guests. We left our back panniers at the hotel and set off for our farm visit.
We have a small shareholding in the Peaks Farm, but I have never seen the farm before – so this was very exciting. Unfortunately the road leading to the farm (for about 5km) had just been graded and was full of loose gravel – not at all pleasant to ride on. When we arrived we had some confusion as to where the entrance was – luckily Jen rode past at that point and met us. Jen and Gavin are the couple that manage the farm. They gave us a very friendly welcome. It was good to meet them and get to know them better. The farm is also very beautiful with an outlook on the Hurunui river and the Peaks mountains behind. The farm manager’s house is stunning with large doors looking out onto the wonderful view. Jen and Gavin took us on a tour around the farm in their 4X4. We saw the milk shed and the irrigation sprinklers. They have done a lot of re-pasturing the past year and you can see the difference. The work they have done to protect the river bank by dumping whole trees onto it was one of the most interesting aspects. I learnt a lot about dairy farming. It was great to see it all for myself, after reading about it in reports.
We took a slightly longer route back to the hotel that had a shorter gravel road section. We enjoyed a fairly stodgy meal back at the hotel, together with more Monteiths beer.