12&13/12/15. After the drenching of the previous day and feeling that we had arrived in Dargaville a day “early” we decided that we had earned a bit of a rest. The band of rain had passed over and the sun came out so we took the weekend off (and Sunday was “pill day” anyway).
The converted railway carriage was a novelty but with a spare single bed there wasn’t room to swing a mouse around let alone a cat. It had been just what we needed after a long ride in the rain but we didn’t feel the extra cost was justified for another two nights compared to a campsite. Therefore we moved just up the road first thing the next morning.
With a day at leisure we took the opportunity to catch up on the laundry. (A note for campsite owners in Europe to learn from:- just about every site in NZ has a laundry room and the cost is very reasonable. NZ$3 or 4 is significantly cheaper than €4 or 5. While we are on lessons for Europeans, the French should note that all the toilets here have loo seats and paper and the Germans could learn a tning or two about the provision of Wifi!)
It was then time to hit Dargaville to see what it had to offer. For a town with a population of 4,500 (according to the Lonely Planet Guide) there is a surprising number of shops and offices but a number of them were empty and, on looking in the main estate agent’s window, we saw that quite a few of the ones still going were up for sale. It suggested that businesses were hanging on by their finger nails. On the other hand, the houses that we had passes on the walk into town seemed reasonably prosperous and we found a large, well-maintained public garden that celebrated a time when the town was a bustling river port through which significant timber exports passed. Now that the forests in tge area have just about gone the timber that remains is taken away by road to Auckland.
We had a lengthy coffee/hot chocolate stop using the opportunity to catch up with online activities before indulging in a bit of a splurge in the largest supermarket we have seen since Auckland. We treated ourselves to steak and salad to be washed down with a cheeky little NZ pinot noir.
After taking her pill and sitting still for the required hour on Sunday morning, Christine went to the local Methodist church which was only a couple of hundred metres from the campsite while Stephen wandered into town in search of coffee! We then had (in the words of the song) a lazy Sunday afternoon reading and playing a very competitive series of games of Ticket to Ride.