After returning to the South Island and spending a few days relaxing in Invercargill, I headed to the small town of Tuatapere. With a population of less than 1000, it is a small town, in a remote part of New Zealand.
Driving into the town, I saw nobody around. It felt like a ghost town. I found the towns folk after a little exploring, enjoying a country fair.
There were cows, sheep, donkeys and horse everywhere. Even jumping horses.
After spending an hour taking in the sights of the show, I returned to town to sample THE delicacy of the town.
Tuatapere is self-proclaimed as home to the ‘World’s Best Sausages’. How did they stack up? Well, they were sausages – meaty, tasty, but non-descript in what you were actually devouring. I ate them quite happily. Best ever? I can’t really place one sausage against the next. They all taste like…sausage.
But neither the fair nor the sausages were the reason I stopped in at Tuatapere. For decades the town had a booming lumber industry, but with changing times the mills began to shut and the town went into a steep decline. In the late 1980s, the townspeople decided that something had to be done to bring money back into the local economy. After raising over three million dollars, over 12 years of fighting legislative battles, red tape, volunteer work and construction, Tuatapere had a new attraction.
Less than 72 hours after stepping off the relaxing and relatively easy Rakiura Track, I would be starting in on a challenging, often times devilishly, 3 day, 55km hike known as the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track.