Tadmor Valley

One Saturday morning we met up with other members of our small tramping club at the turnoff on to the Tadmor – Glenhope Road and then followed the metal and dusty road that ran parallel for the most part, of the old Nelson to Kawatiri Railway Line. A forest fire had altered some of the landscape somewhat making it hard to recognise any feature but eventually we found the turnoff to wander down a forestry road to reach the Hope River.

Then down a rough track and we reached a small dam/weir which was built to divert some of its water to the Tadmor River for irrigation during the summer months. How long ago? Don’t know.

The dam on the Hope River.

The Hope’s water flows into the Buller River, then to Westport and into Tasman Sea on the West Coast while the Tadmor’s water flows into the Mouteka River and into Tasman Bay, Richmond.

An overgrown track lead down to the overflow into the Tadmor watershed but only a trickle oozed out. Maybe it will be worked on for water to flow down towards Tapawera to help water all the new hops being planted for the craft beer being made nowadays? The remains of the concrete railway bridge over the Hope River was pretty well obscured by undergrowth which is a shame really. This section of the railway line was opened in 1912 and closed in 1955.

Next was a walk to the old Kaka limeworks quarry and the Huia cave. The track had become very overgrown and swampy in places but we got there in the end. Production started around 1920 and it closed in 1959. Apparently there was even a school nearby for the people building the railway and for the people at the quarry, so there must have been a lot of activity during those early days.

Looking out of Huia Cave.

After a little searching we found the track down to the river and to the Huia Caves. It was really Cave Creek running through the hill but taking the creek only about half a million years to do so, to join the Gorge Creek. The cave opening was large and jammed with logs so we didn’t go into the cave very far. Further in the cave are glowworms. As would be expected, being limestone, there is a system of caves through to the Gorge River.

On the walk in we passed the old Kaka Railway Station which had been shifted from its original spot. When we first visited several years ago (2012), it seemed to be in reasonable condition and some pine tree seedlings had sprung up after their seeds had been washed off the roof.

Now eight years later, these ‘seedlings’ have grown to almost overcome the old station, but maybe they have been helping to hold it up? Along the road a little further to visit the site where this old railway station building had stood. Here we met up with the farmer who very kindly told us the history of the old railway, the clay that was mined nearby and railed to the pottery factory at Temuka.

The Old Kaka Railway Station in May 2012.

The Kaka Raiway Station in 2020.

Some local carriers didn’t like the railway competition and it seems that these people undercut the price for transporting goods. The clay miner was all for supporting the new railway and although the rail line was not continuous to Temuka, he used various means over the missing links to bypass the local opposition cartel.

We walked along the old railway embankment to the remains of a small viaduct come bridge. The concrete columns stood bare and it seems a shame that they can’t be put to some use.

The old railway viduct remains at Kaka.

Rainfall for October was 59mm so well below our average for this month of 135mm.

An old fence post naturally being put to good use.

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