Once we’ve sorted the morning caffeine fix at our favourite cafe we go exploring and there’s no better way to get to know a place than on foot. We get to see a lot more when we’re walking and slow travel allows us to do that. For us, house sitting is the ultimate slow travel and it means we can spend time getting right into a place and understand the culture and industry. What makes it tick.
Our earlier forays in Timaru had us seeking out the more obvious and easily accessible places in and around the area and we found out early on that this was going to be an amazing place for us to stay for the 6 weeks house sit.
I’m intrigued by logistics. I know, that may sound a bit weird, but in another life I worked for a transport company for several years and I came to understand the intricacies involved in the movement (or sometimes non-movement!) of freight, and the drama of getting that consignment of irreplaceable antiques into the right hands within the required time frame, undamaged. Living on the edge.
From the shore we see container ships out in the bay awaiting their turn at the port, to have their load whisked away and then seemingly just a few hours later depart fully laden heading to their next destination. There are people managing all of that, from the head office of logistics professionals to the forklift drivers dockside and ultimately the train or truck driver.
On one particularly perfect day we decided to head to the other side of the tracks, to find out what was going on over at the port.
I must admit I didn’t feel terribly enthusiastic at the start of this exploration walk, trudging through the industrial streets, long and boring, seemingly never-ending.
Dave, as our optimistic leader of the day assured me we’d be well rewarded. I “mostly” kept my skepticism to myself.
Of course we all know that back street areas are often interesting and well worth investigation but it wasn’t looking so great, and then before we knew it we turned a corner and the entire coastline opened up to us. Happy!
Just a bit further on and we were right behind all the workings of the holding yards with such activity that I could’ve just stopped there and watched the people working. Forklifts buzzing around, fuel drums being organised and stacked into neat piles, blokes wearing hi-viz carrying clipboards.
There is something like 5 hectares of open land just for the management and storage of logs. Quite something to see, and fascinating to watch the massive machines load and unload the haulage trucks. Logging is big business in New Zealand so this place is kept busy.
A train line runs right through the town and up until the 1960’s people would arrive in the hundreds by train for holidays at Caroline Bay. But now the trains only haul containers to and from the port. In fact just close to our house sit home we can see the train line and love to feel then hear the deep rumble as the diesel engines motor by in one direction or the other, day and night.
The long walk back out of the place through those same desolate streets didn’t seem so onerous, I felt really energised from spending time in a place with so much activity going on and with the beautiful ocean backdrop.
Coastal and inland walks and bikeways have been developed all around Timaru for miles and miles, and we spent many hours over the weeks exploring different places.
Our darling charges Louis and Marcel seem to enjoy our company, wherever we are around the house we can be sure to have at least one of them hanging around with us. They’re really lovely sociable cats and great company.
We both love good food and the subject of eating is rarely far from us. If we’re not thinking about checking out a new cafe or restaurant, we’ll often be talking about what we feel like cooking at home or looking at new recipes to try. So we’re often likely to be found prepping, cooking and eating great food in the kitchen.
What’s not to love about a home-made lamb curry with all the trimmings? We had to do a bit of tracking down around Timaru for the right ingredients, but the outcome was worth the effort.