Friday, January 1, 2010
Waikouaiti Race Day
Checked out of the Cable Court about 10.30 a.m. and then headed north to Waikouaiti for the annual New Year's Day Races. Wasn't too sure about where? Waikouaiti was however Sat Nav was able to take us there with no problems whatsoever. So far on this trip, Sat Nav has proved invaluable. The countryside enroute to Waikouaiti was very hilly and green with alpine vegetation including large pine trees and firs. The weather was perfect - hot and sunny. As it turned out it was only about a 45 minute trip and before we knew it were driving through the tiny hamlet of Waikouaiti. We found the sign post to the races and at the end of the street looked straight ahead and saw the picturesque Race Track. What an amazing setting for a country race meeting. Luckily we were early to arrive to we parked the Corolla on the top of the hill (after paying the $5 entry and receiving 2 free bottles of water - bargain!) and then walked down the hill onto the track. The day proved to be a real family affair with various rides and activities for children as well as racing for the adults. Before the races started we had a bit of a wander around looking at the various stalls and local produce which was available for sale in a country market type atmosphere. I purchased some of the best cherries I have ever tasted from the Otago "Big Fat Cherry Company". I don't think I will ever eat Australian cherries again. Aside from the cherries we also had some wonderful "Lamb burgers" with the most fantastic tomato relish!
We purchased our local Betting Guide and then settled back to see if we could pick a couple of local winners. It ended up being a wonderful day - I managed to back 4 winners and 4 placegetters from the 10 race card and Matthew backed a couple of winners in Auckland. However my memories of the day would have to be the way it was promoted as a real family day out. It was also amazing to see how people brought their dogs along to the meeting! There were dogs of all shapes and sizes - all well behaved and all enjoying the day at the races with their owners. I have also never seen so many sunburnt people in one place at the end of the day! I think there would be some extremely "sore" people come Saturday. I guess hot and sunny days like that would be pretty rare in this part of New Zealand.
After the races we headed north to Geraldine which turned out to be a 3 hour trip. Beautiful drive along the coast with the ocean on our right hand side most of the way. The car was buffeted with strong gales as we headed out of Timaru and at times Matthew found it difficult to keep it on the road - but he did an excellent job. We were very happy to finally arrive at the Scenic Drive Motel in Geraldine after another long day.