Through the hinterland to Fairlie, Tekapo and the Dark sky
Just north of Timaru on the main highway, is the industrial area of Washdyke. Here the State Highway No. 1 intersects with State Highway No. 8, in a special roading intercourse, with the left turn taking you inland to Fairlie, Burkes Pass, Tekapo and the famed Dark Sky Reserve.
The route takes you west and onto the farming planes heading towards Pleasant Point.
Alongside the highway it's still possible to see the raised bund of the old train train track, that used to run as far as Fairlie. It famously carried the steam locomotive AB699, known as the 'Fairlie Flyer', which made it's last official run in the late 1960's. Though as you approach Pleasant Point township, a fully restored and maintained length of track, railway station, sheds, carriages and AB699 itself, comes into view.
The Pleasant Point Museum and Railway is stunningly authentic and this heritage railway is well looked after by a passionate bunch of supporters and enthusiasts. Trips are available and are an incredible experience. An old, late radio mate of mine famed in Timaru in his day, Bill Timmings, loved this place. He had amazing stories and a swathe of historic photos of the 'Fairlie Flyer', so it came as no surprise that he had a small house at the train's junction in Fairlie, that was also stood as a memorial to the railway's history. I remember watching old movies there of all sorts..