Farmland gives way to sandy
brown tussock and rock along the route. Great Moss Lake lies below, a
former swamp that was dammed to feed the Maniototo irrigation scheme. The
lake offers fishing and boating, but the treeless surrounds give no
shelter for camping.
The road climbs to 1000m before
beginning its steep descent to the old town of Paerau in the valley of the
upper Taieri River. As you follow the road down off the Rock and Pillar
Range and into the Styx Basin, you get a rare opportunity to view the
Upper Taieri Scroll Plain, rated by the New Zealand Landform Inventory as
having scenic, scientific and educational importance.
The Taieri's meandering journey
has created the plain's intriguing scroll pattern of sediment swirls,
serpentine channels, oxbows and ponds that can really only be appreciated
from two vantage points - from the air and from Old Dunstan Road.
Paerau marks the end of this
part of the Old Dunstan Road. The town was called Styx in the 1860s. A
hotel and stables, built in 1861, and a jail remain from the former