Tue 12 Jun 2007
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If we had found appropriate lodging earlier we might not have pressed on into the dark to The Falls Backpackers near Purukanui. We were fortunate to find it and with rooms available. It's on a sheep, deer and cattle farm. It was the first day of being the only innkeeper for John, the son of the couple who usually run the hostel. They had just left the day before for a seven-week holiday.
We could walk by ourselves up past the shearing barn and see chickens, sheep, deer, sheep dogs.
At a meal at the hostel we joined Steve & Lyndal and Frédéric & Nicole. Had several wonderful hours of conversation and sharing, with each of the group experiencing great affinity for the others. We really enjoyed each of them.
John took us and the dogs on a farm tour, watching him feed the deer by driving the four-wheeler with a pellet-scattering device on the back. The deer were very skittish and kept well away from us.
John was generous with his time and explanations, answering all our questions patiently. We asked about the crop we had seen and he said they were swedes (rutabagas), used as sheep and cattle feed.
The animals are given access to a temporarily fenced-off strip of it until they eat it all down, then the strip is moved. Cattle and sheep use the same paddocks but deer need higher fences so they have their own.
This four-day stay was altogether one of our best, what with the location and views, John's friendly tour, and the extraordinary evening with four new friends. While this was exceptional, we've had many other wonderful experiences with travelers we meet in the hostels.
See http://dianeanddave.net/albums/Purakanui/index.html for more photos.
Dave and Diane