Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Castlepoint - Day 2

We went out for a walk around Castlepoint, to the lighthouse and the surrounding rocks, to see what we could see. Castlepoint was named by Captain Cook in 1770 because of the castle-shaped rock. In 1913 the lighthouse was built, and remained manned until 1988 when it was fully automated. Along the way we saw the ubiquitous red-billed gulls, and also some variable oystercatchers, which stood still long enough for us to photograph them:

Variable oystercatchers - taken by me this time

The weather in the morning was warm and sunny, but after lunch it started to cloud over. We decided to drive into Masterton to see what it had to offer. On the mountain road between Castlepoint and Masterton we spotted a couple of eagles. Well, I say eagles, but a subsequent check found them to be, in all probability, Australasian Harriers. They look like this:

An Australasian Harrier in flight

In Masterton, we walked around the Queen Elizabeth Park, but failed to go on the mini railway as it was closed for its annual engineering inspection. The aviary contained some random birds, for which there were misleading information panels about the contents of the cages. There was also a deer park, but we didn’t locate that until much later, and decided that we’d done enough walking around, and, anyway, we knew what deer looked like.

We returned home over the mountains, then nipped into the pub for a couple of Tuis. It was a full moon that night, so I took some photos of the full moonrise over the Pacific:


Dinner was a Thai green curry, which I had cooked back in Wellington and brought with us. There was a very good reason for this – the accommodation is not particularly modern, and in common with holiday rental properties throughout the world, is not particularly blessed with good cooking equipment. Fortunately it did have a microwave, so all we had to do was cook the rice. Among other features of the bach is the lack of mains water – we brought our own drinking water, and used rainwater caught in the two 3,000l tanks for everything else. It is incumbent upon users of the bach to be frugal with water to prevent it running out. This seems to be the case for many of the properties that we saw around town – I’m not sure if it applies to all of them or whether there is actually no mains water available at all in Castlepoint.


  1. Impressive blogging, Rory, old stick. I now know more about New Zealish birds than I do English ones. Interesting and extraordinary that they've halted the extinction of species just in the nick of time.
    So did your bach have heating ? Was there an outside dunny ? I'm picturing you cracking the ice on the rainwater in the basin for your morning scrub.
    Poor Nicola - she shouldn't have to rough it like that. Next time, 5* with hot and cold fizzy water.
    Good forward planning with the curry. Doesn't sound too rough, actually.
    Meanwhile, I've made my Christmas cake and now it's maturing slowly.
    Am also on a marmalade spree, adding whisky-mac and cointreau varieties which I will sell to the 4x4 driving mummies at NPS Christmas Fayre at inflated but 'reasurringly expensive' prices. Excellent, says Mr Burns.
    Will re-read your blog so you can test me later. Love to both. H x

  2. Variable Oyster Catchers? What are they when they're not being Oyster Catchers?

  3. Why is it called Bach? I remember Bridge had a Bach T-shirt. Any more photos of it so we can see how primitive it was? Did many people enter the draw for it?

  4. The rainwater tanks are fully plumbed in, so we don't have to go outside to crack the ice! There's a pump and a hot water tank - just like a proper house, it's just that the source of the water isn't the mains, so it's not been filtered and cleaned and had fluoride added to it, etc.

    And don't worry about Nicola roughing it - she wants to go camping! I'm not keen on the idea - camping's more the sort of thing you do when you're young.

    I'm also planning a marmalade spree as soon as I've got enough empty jars - for personal consumption though.

    The variable oystercatchers are so-called because the colour varies, apparently - although all the ones I've seen have been completely black.

    Apparently "bach" used to be short for "bachelor pad", but nowadays it means a holiday home by the sea. Whilst it's not entirely modern and up-to-date (the kitchen reminded me of the 1970s, and not in a good way), it's a perfectly serviceable home...could do with a bit of TLC though. Nicola's photos on Facebook show the kitchen, I think.