Lost in the rolling green hills of central Taranaki, lies a place not many people know about. My father introduced me to this historic site when I was a child, and told me it was a secret. He had used the military camp when he was training at school as a young boy. It was then, 50-60 years ago, that the camp closed down and let nature consume what was left.
Today I returned to that site, not being there since I was a child myself, unaware of just how much it had changed.
Heads up: I wouldn’t walk through this place at night time.
From the outside, it looks nothing more than just an old farmers shed that’s been forgotten about. But what’s inside is far more appealing…
Crawling over the wooden fences, worming my way around the pillars, I entered the place I haven’t seen in years.
Straight away, my heart dropped. This place looks completely and utterly haunted. The wooden benches attached to the concrete wall stuck out just as I had remembered. The long grass crept down the edge of the concrete, creating a waterfall effect, adding to the eeriness.
Finally some good news, I found a friend! This little guy scuttled away from me so quick I thought I had seen a ghost.
As I ventured through this not-so-wonderland, I felt incredibly isolated. The only signs of life were the spiders hanging down from their webs, which I had to avoid in order to keep my sanity.
Finally, some light. The last standing target from this military camp is riddled with bullet holes. I began to feel incredibly overwhelmed by the history of this place and left to scour the parameter.
From an aeroplane, you wouldn’t know this was here. I think that was the point in the first place. Somewhere you could actually feel like you were at war, consumed by isolation & fear.
After climbing the cliff-face, I discovered a bullet lodged into the mud. I wonder if my father shot this bullet, all those years ago.