Local Heart, Global Soul

July 28, 2018

One Way Or The Highway (In This Case One And The Same)…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One of the wonderful things about New Zealand roads, and South Island roads in particular, is the State Highway system.

I adore that the main highway running the entire length of the island is for the vast majority of the way, one lane in either direction.

South Island roads have yet another gem too: one lane bridges, (Remember, this is the biggest and busiest road on an island that’s three quarters the size of the UK).

These are, as the name implies, bridges with only one lane; traffic takes turns but one side has priority via marked signs.

The black arrow is larger, and has priority, the red one smaller and doesn’t.

If you are on the side that doesn’t have priority and there are no vehicles on the bridge, or are so far away that you could reasonably get across in good time before the opposite vehicle could reach the bridge, then you may cross.

If an opposite vehicle is close enough to the bridge that they could enter or be on the bridge anywhere at the same time as you, then you wait and give way.

If you are a tourist and have priority, get onto the bridge and decide you need a selfie with the beautiful river, and there are other cars waiting then this is not the time to get your to ‘do the insta”.

Waiting traffic are to be polite and patient, cars on the waiting side queue with good manners.

If you have been waited for, it is customary to raise one hand in small wave of acknowledgement to each of the cars who waited for you as a “Thank You”. If you want to act like a friendly local then you raise one hand quickly back as a “You are most welcome” (or in Kiwi speak: “No worries mate”). Some One Way Bridges have passing bays, maybe on one side, maybe both sides as with this bridge. These are NOT meant so that traffic that should have given way, dive in and forgo taking turns, they are meant so that an emergency vehicle with flashing light and sirens blaring can get past quickly. In the unlikely event of this happening, you then dive into the passing bay (no matter which direction you are travelling) and let the emergency vehicle pass as quickly as possible. The passing bay is also meant so that vehicles that experience mechanical trouble on the bridge can be pushed out of the way and not block traffic flow. It’s not meant as a tourist stop.

Years and years back I heard a story which may well be just urban folklore… or not. Apparently a farmer lived near a One Way Bridge on a public road and needed to use the bridge more in one direction than the other (or maybe move stock, feed etc). Unfortunately that direction involved him needing to give way to oncoming traffic and his waiting times mounted. He grew increasingly impatient until he decided in the mid of night to go out with his tractor, dig up the priority signs and switch them around so that his side was now the side with priority. His “problem” was now solved. I do know that priority is not just given with a flip of a coin, the terrain is taken into account, view to the bridge so that drivers can judge if they can cross or not, I am sure the list goes on. However, true or not, Kiwi’s have a bit of a reputation for begrudging authority and rules so this would bring a smile to many a Kiwi, including me.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This photo of the river was made as we drove over, no passing bay used.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 4, 2018

Picton: Passing Through Or Staying Longer?

Filed under: Marlborough Sounds,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,PICTON — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Picton in New Zealand is a town that appears to have two types of visitors.

The first are those who have arrived just in time from (usually) Christchurch to catch their ferry to the North Island, they may or may not even enter the town proper, just following the signs to the ferry terminal.

Possibly they arrive early and depending on the time of day, stop at a snack bar or café for a bite to eat before heading to the ferry.

On the other side, there are the interisland travellers who travelled from the North Island to the South.

If they arrived on the last crossing of the day, they may well have booked a bed for the night in Picton, preferring to continue their journey to Kaikoura or Christchurch the next day with an early morning start.

Then there are those who stay longer, the have holiday homes in the town, or “batches” (kiwi slang for holiday homes) dotted in bays all around the Marlborough Sounds.

Most of those are only reachable by boat so they arrive with large trailers carrying all manner of water craft, both sail and motor and all the equipment to go with them.

The area around the main boat ramps are busy with boats coming and going, as are the moorings because even the grocery shopping needs to be delivered via the sea-ward routes. Many of these families stay the entire summer in the Sounds, sailing, jet-skiing, kayaking, water skiing and fishing, just a few of their activities. Himself and I have been until this trip just “tourists passing through” but after visiting a friend here on our northward journey to Wellington, we now see a different side to this small town. The views are amazing, there is a definite attraction to the idea of staying longer here. We would have stayed the night here too, but even ringing around more than a dozen hotels we find that everything is booked solid.

In fact we have been having trouble finding accommodation, it’s the height of the summer season and booking 4-5 days beforehand is apparently far too late. We were a little naïve in thinking that there would be accommodation aplenty and even further south in Blenheim, beds are hard to find. Just when we start to have horrible thoughts about having to sleep in the car with two highly unamused teenagers, we find a hotel that has had a last minute cancellation and pounce on their rooms. Alas it means that we are again to be using Picton as just a passing-through point but we’ve made up our mind that sometime in the future this little town deserves a closer look and a longer stay.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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