About 200 km in length this highway crosses New Zealand's largest flat area, linking farms rivers communities and port cities.
When the first people arrived to live on the
plains they were barren desert lands. Early travelers easily perished
as there was little water between the rivers and rainfall is
minimal. Winds and temperatures can at times be harsh.
Recent human endeavour has changed the land with the extensive use of irrigation and modern farming management activities making the vast area produce wheat, barley, oats, fruit, beef, sheep and dairy farms. Traffic volume on the highway has been growing steadily since the first modern travelers and settlers arrived in the 1850s.
Farm Service Towns
New Zealand's longest bridge carries the highway over the Rakia River.
Vast aquifers beneath are being used and managed for drinking water and farm irrigation.
Groups can learn how farmers transformed these unusable
deserts into highly productive dairy farmlands despite a rainfall of just
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