Two old wrinklies with two west highland terriers Traveling New Zealand

Piano Flats Doc Camp

Left Oreti River Bridge on Sunday 22nd and travelled to Riverton to complete a SWS (shit water stop) on the way to Piano Flats Doc Park. The winds were gusting in the order of 80-100 km but luckily were traveling with the wind coming up the rear quarters for most of the trip.  (Donna provided the equal but opposite effect proving Einstein theory)

We arrived at the Dump station in Riverton with a feeling of “this is so bad that we were ashamed to dump our waste here”. (Definitely in need of a makeover) Dumped our waste and headed on to the Doc camp. The road was in good repair but was obviously used by Glenaray  Station (largest single station of private and government land in NZ) as their stock race – All good as no doubt they do most of the leveling and repair. Must admit I was astounded with the break feeding of both cattle and sheep and the size of the paddocks that was visible from the road. The weather along with the high level of stocking left the paddocks in a quagmire. The dogs would need to be very long legged or have webbed feet to operate in the conditions.

Arrived at Piano Flats to a vista that meets the best we have seen so far.


The isolation is enhanced by the 360 degree surrounding of native bush with a fast flowing snow fed stream through the camp site. We walked the area but were concerned as to the potential of the ground becoming boggy with the forecasted rain so erred on the side of caution and parked on the graveled area next to the children’s playground and his and her long drops. (Doc needs to be given all credit due to the cleanliness and presentation of the long drops). We settled in by early evening and roasted beef rib on the bone accompanied with roast kumara, carrots and onions. The sun had set behind the hills and the clouds lowered down dropping the temperature in great steps.

We were sent to sleep with the patter of rain on the roof of Dogonit.

Morning bought the continuation of the rain and low cloud – Mac and Rose were not pleased as it was too messy to walk the bush trails for a morning walk so had to settle with the short walks in the camp site. We walked the river during non-rainy spells looking for potential fishing spots. With the rain the water was up and was moving very fast. (Warning by Doc signage that only level 5 Kayaker’s should attempt descending the river).  Rigged up our own off the roof water supply to fill the tank. This worked out well and meant Donna could clean my whiskey glass after each tipple.


Very quiet day with the eye lids being checked out for potential pin holes on at least two occasions. By three o’clock in the afternoon we were sitting down to a wine and cheese for two while playing cards. Donna did try hard but the skill and charisma of the better half came forward yet again and she had to accept second place yet again.


Tea was quiet grilled pork chops with kale salad – just a light affair. Had to run the generator for extended times during the day due to the lack of sun and the use of the lighting and TV during the day.

Quiet night and awoke to a much dryer day so left Donna to tidy Dogonit while Mac, Rose and myself went on a loop walk of 4km through the bush up the side of the valley. The track was sloppy but the dogs enjoyed the walk


I had to be mindful of keeping the dogs close to the track as there are open gold mine shafts in close proximity to the track. Donna had not long got out of her scratch sack by the time we got back from the hour long walk. (Her comment will be worth the read)

The day was overcast and we realised that the generator would be required as the sun was not going to show much if any during the day. So packed up Dogonit and headed back to Riverton to fill up the generator and bought a 5 litre petrol container so as we could enjoy the day without feeling we had to be conservative in how we enjoyed it. (Charging of all  the bedroom toys takes a lot of power)

We arrived back to Piano Flat and low and behold it had been overrun with nothing, just as we left it. (Awsome). The afternoon was fly fishing time. Those elusive flies are very hard to catch by flicking a small hook at them. Yes no luck but the practice was worth the effort.

Chicken Korma and rice for tea, and the end to a very quiet and peaceful day.

Awoke to Ice Age two outside (no global warming here). The van had ice over the outside with the condensation from the central heating had formed a stalactite on the bottom of the body of the motorhome.


There was no way the morning walk was happening until the morning thawed a few degrees.   The three intrepid travellers left at 9:45 on our trek up the road. A half hour into the stroll we came across a track with the destination being announced as THE Swing Bridge. The only swing bridge known to us being back at camp. 15 minutes into the walk we came across another sign much older than the first advising that the destination was still 1 hour away and the description had changed to the UPPER Swing Bridge. Although the scenery was great the track was extremely slippery and steep in places. Imagine if one of the dogs slipped and broke their leg I would have to get them medevac’d. What a drama that would be so decided that it was best to retrace our steps back to the camp.


After a light lunch Donna wanted to be the intrepid explorer and cross the swing bridge so off we went and enjoyed the walk around the camp with the dogs rolling in the frost still thick in the shade.


Just enough time for a quick Poppy nap before having happy hour prior to completing cooking duties. Steak, onions, mushrooms and eggs cooked on the Webber Baby Q for tea. Earlyish night as we were on the move the next day.

Heard a vehicle around midnight but otherwise had a quiet night. We must be sound sleepers as some nice person had managed to hoon up the park in a 4 wheel drive. It wasn’t a freedom camper more about this in a separate blog I will write.


On we went down the road to Gore with empty roads and great farmland arriving at the motorcamp in time for Donna to do the laundry while I went to a wash world to clean the sheep shit off the van.

Here for the night then down the road tomorrow!!!!!

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