Leading The Charge - The Last Legs
Timing got serious on Friday with a number of activities planned. Our first major event was for everyone to meet up at Benmore Power Station and undertake the tour offered by Meridian. The history of the dam and information on the construction of New Zealand's largest earth dam was shared. Benmore is second to Manapouri for electricity generation and is one of 9 hydro electric power stations on the Waitaki scheme. We learned about the DC power transfer station, specific to Benmore, to allow more efficient power transfer to the North Island.
After the tour, the group lined up the vehicles under the Benmore sign on the power station to provide a photo opportunity and headed off for lunch in Omarama where a couple of the vehicles topped up.
Next section of the journey took us from the beautiful "Mackenie Country" over into the stunning desert land of Central Otago. Of course it was essential to have a few of us make up a photo shoot at the top of the Lindis Pass! We attracted quite a lot of interest from the tourists, so it took some time to wait for many of the fossil-fueled vehicles to disappear.
From there, we enjoyed the magical journey through to Tarras, Cromwell, the Kawarau Gorge and into Queenstown to check into the various accommodations we had booked. There were a lot of cars around - hotel car parks overflowing without the majority of their clients being dropped off by bus, but bringing their own vehicles instead.
The final event for the evening was the #LeadingTheCharge Tour Dinner in the Stratosphere Restaurant at the top of the Skyline gondola. It was certainly a "high"-light of the journey!
The following morning saw us gather at Shotover Jet to hear about their ongoing plans to trial an Electric Jetboat. This was one of the projects which came out of the EECA contestable fund for low-emissions vehicles. Unfortunately, about 2 weeks before they were preparing to launch the boat onto water, Covid-19 hit and everything was put on hold while Shotover dealt with the massive cut in tourists. Thankfully, Shotover intend to resurrect the project at a later time.
After that, a number #LeadingTheCharge attendees made their way to Dunedin and a few more of us took a small diversion into the famous Skippers Canyon!