Location: The final chapter., New Zealand
Well the trip across the strait was almost uneventful, just the occasional swell but nothing to trouble us. We were about 30 mins late getting in and had to wait until most of the other vehicles had moved off before we were given the go-ahead. The drive home was relatively quick and easy. Were home by 7:00pm and having fish and chips for tea by 7:30. Most of the van was unpacked just leaving the cleaning etc. to be done on Monday.
Like our last big journey, this one has been really rewarding and the sights and experiences we had have been truly God Given.
As Lyn would say, TOODLES FOR NOW.
Location: Picton - Home, New Zealand
Well Tuesday started out very wet and it rained almost all day, however it did not prevent us from doing anything. We spent the later part of the morning just browsing around the shops, thankfully there were no Sallies Op Shops here but we did find an old fashioned candy store. They sold aniseed balls, jaffas, humbugs,acid drops and many other old time lollies like milkshakes and milk bottles. After this it was back to the van for lunch and off to the hot pools for the rest of the afternoon. The pools are really something else and just what we wanted and needed to relax. That night it was Lyns celebration birthday dinner. The meal was absolutely superb and a great way to finish our time here.
Next day we had decided to move on to Murchison to cut down on the drive time to Blenheim. There were a lot of roadworks and stop go people along the way, however it was a great drive and quite stunning scenery again. We stopped at the Maruia Falls which were pretty amazing! They were created by the Murchison earthquake and the river bed rose about 8 metres. We stopped at the NZMCA camp again and spent some time around town. They had a cute little museum with some really interesting memorabilia in it. Next morning it was a 3 hour drive to Blenheim and we arrived to be met by Noel And Judy (Lyns cousin and his Wife). Mind you the trip would have been a lot quicker if I had not forgotten to fuel up and we had to do a 20km back track.
Upon our arrival Noel and Judy made yummy rolls for lunch and we then went on a bike ride into town for groceries and on the way we all picked up a shopping bag of Walnuts to take home. The trees were just letting them go on the bike track.
That night we made our tea and had it with N & J so we could watch the news and then play 5 Crowns with them, what a hoot!!!
Next morning my cousin Angela came to see us and Noel took us all, On a tiki tour around the different vineyards and wineries explaining what goes on and why he resigned. After lunch he then took us to a chocolate factory and a general drive around.Their free samples were delicious. Angela then took us to the Marlborough combined clubs to let Lyn and her have a look at the floral art display, we then had tea in our van and we then went back to the combined Clubs to watch the Hurricanes play NSW, a great result.
Saturday saw us off again with Angela as N & J had left to travel home, first destination was the Peter Yealand winery for some tasting, education and a tour around the winery. He is a very controversial, entrepreneurial wine grower, but what he is doing wth music and eco friendly practices seem to be making economical sense. Later after lunch we went to the Aviation history museum that Peter Jackson had placed all his WW1 and WW11 planes in. I found it informative but Lyn did not really get a buzz.
That night it was off to Angela's for a lovely meal and then back to the van for our final night on the road. This morning it was a case of packing up for the last time then off to church with Angela at her Oasis church, before heading to Picton. The church service was really good and good uplifting messages were given. Unfortunately we had to leave a bit early to catch the ferry.
The day has been wind free and sunny so far and long may it last till we get home to our own bed tonight.
Location: Akaroa, New Zealand
Well the camping spot on the boat ramp area was just great, that is until 10:00pm when the boy racers turned up, wheelies to begin with and then the loudest boom box Ive heard played booming music till 2:00am so consequently not much sleep,and I have decided that we will not take the risk on Saturday night and instead move on to Okains beach.
The afternoon was taken up with visiting the Harvest Festival, an annual,event displaying local produce (ie, mussels, lemon products,wine and olive oil) and cooking demonstrations. A very good way to raise money.
This is another very sheltered beach on the northern side of Akaroa. The road in was very very steep and winding, however the views were once again spectacular. The actual camp site was just off the beach and in amongst pine tree. The beach was long and had hardly anyone on it. It reminded me much of Mahia peninsular.
The next morning daylight saving had finished and it was up at 6:00am, Lyn shot outside to get pics of the amazingly brilliant red sunrise. After breakfast it was up and away towards Kaikoura. We stopped at Culverden for an ice cream as it was showing 28deg in the car and then tried to make contact with Lyns old school friend who was travelling to CHCH from Blenheim. Unfortunately we did not manage to connect.
It was then on to Kaikoura via the inland route as the coastal road was closed, again for urgent work to be carried out on some of the major slips. It took us about 2 hours to drive the 90 odd k's due to the large number of spots with new seal and metal. It was not an issue for us as we were not in a hurry. The damage caused by the earthquake is hard to imagine, the coastline that used to be there no longer exists, just rocks that are bleached by the sun and boat Ramps that are up in the air, really heartbreaking and we don't have to live with this day after day.
We ventured out to where the seal colony used to be when we were last here 27 years go, that time Steven & I stripped to our underware and went right out as far as we could go. Now it is just a case of walking on the rocks which are way out of the water.
Monday morning saw us up earlyish and on our way after we had done a wee grocery shop.
The trip to Hanmer was pretty good except all the stop go people, mind you most of them were young foreign tourists.
Hanmer is a reasonable sized town and the place we are parked at has a restaurant and motel. You pay $30 the first night and $20 thereafter. These are vouchers which you then redeem when you eat at the restaurant, in other words you actually stay free. After lunch we biked into town for a look and then it was off to the pools. We had about 3 hours there and it was just the bees knees and thoroughly enjoyable. We will be going again the next 2 days as well.
Tomorrow it is she who must be obeyeds birthday so we will have a relaxing time and dine out for dinner.
Location: Akaroa, New Zealand
Well I must confess to having been very slack with keeping you all up to date and causing a couple of extra gray hairs to those of you that were concerned that we had had a mishap, nothing like that just too busy and tired at the end of the day to update this, but I am onto it now.
Monday dawned cloudy, drizzly and quite cold. You know after the fact when you have been guided to do something and this was the case then. If we had not gone to Tekapo on the Sunday like we did we would not have seen any of the views as the clouds were right down to the lake levels and Mount John was invisible behind the low cloud.
We eventually arrived in Geraldine and set up camp, after lunch it was off to catch up with my Uncle Paul and Joanne. This was a really neat catch up and reminisce as we had not seen each other for about 20 years. He is now nearly 80 and is still working under contract to Shell international in Yokohama Japan. He has worked at this list of locations: Singapore, Laos, Brunei, Holland, Nigeria, Kuala Lumpur, Houston Texas and of course NZ. Not bad for someone that did not achieve School Certificate.
Later we went out for tea at one of the 22 eating establishments and would you believe it while we were eating, in walked Tony and Kathleen White, for those of you that don't know them they are friends of ours from Paraparaumu.
After this it was back to the Golf course and our bed on wheels. There were 3 of us parked there and in the morning one of the other campers wanted to talk about my bike rack and how it was mounted. While talking the subject of where home was came up and would you believe it they came from just around the block in Paraparaumu, very small world eh!
After this it was onto CHCH and the caravan outlet to see about getting our leak in the pipes fixed. The owner was a really nice guy and said if we had it there by 9.00am he could have it fixed the next day, great news. Off then to Judith and Paul Casey's for the next few days. After lunch it was into town to find the wall of remembrance and Christopher Homan's inscription. We contacted James Handcock, an old close friend of Stevens and arranged to visit him and his family that night. Judith and Paul had Judith's twin Sister staying as Wednesday was the first anniversary of her Husbands death.
The visit to James or Jimmy as he now likes to be called went really well and we all had a thoroughly enjoyable time. Back to our home and get ready for bed and a new day tomorrow. Wednesday saw us drop the van off to the repair man and then off to Mass with the Casey's for Judith's sisters husband. The priest was Filipino and it was his birthday and he made the comment to Mary that he and her Husband were both celebrating birthdays, he on earth and him his first in heaven.
Later it was in to town again and checking out what to do, the info centre was very good and we booked a tour to the Antartic Centre for the afternoon. This is out by the Operation Deep Freeze base and was absolutely top notch entertainment, there were all the normal static displays, a ride on a Hogland (an Artic type tractor) which can go over any and all terrains, it was both scary and thrilling at the same time, one of the obstacles caused us to get stuck and we all thought this was part of the experience, but not so the vehicle had thrown a track and we were lucky to get back!!!
Next it was little Blue Penguin viewing and to say their cute would be an understatement. We then experienced a a
ANTARTIC WINTER STORM in a blast freezer type room with the temp getting down to minus 17.5 and the wind only at 45km/hr, I would hate to have to experience the real thing. Then it was the 3D and 4D movie about going to Antartica, we got wet when the ship went through the big waves and snow fell on you as well as the seats bumping when the boat rammed icebergs, and yes Lyn did let out a few screams, this was possibly one of the best entertainments we have experienced.
Back into town and off to the caravan repair place, the van was all fixed and as good as new for only $80.00, a fantastic deal. Back to our little home and tea and off to bed. Next day it was off to Lincoln to catch up with Grant and Sarah Redman, née O'loughlin and some of her family, which was really nice. She has just had a new baby on Christophers birthday and of course Lyn got to have a cuddle of Gabriella Hope. Met to say we also that morning caught up with John and Carol Calman our neighbours from home met their English family and saw through their sons beautiful home and we enjoyed a lovely morning tea.
Back into town for a wander and try and find the seat Nan and Sam had dedicated to their Christopher, with no joy. We then walked through to the other side of the CBD to the cardboard Cathedral where we were told that the old Cathedral was to be restored at a cost of about $60mil, I wonder how else $60mil could have been used???
We continued on with our walk and caught up with Joe Daly for a cuppa and a bite to eat which was a nice thing to be able to do. Back to the truck and one last attempt at finding the seat in the Botanical gardens and would you believe it we were successful. Then it was off to the Westfield Shopping Plaza, this is huge and we only saw part of it. Back to the van and then a catch up with Paul and Judith before bed.
Today Friday it was a case of hitching the van and the bikes up again and on the road to Akaroa. The weather has once again been turned on just for us and some of the bays were just gorgeous on the way here. This is lovely quaint little seaside town,which we walked around. We are camped on the boat ramp site and while I was cooking pork chops for tea we were given some fresh Hapuka or you the unwise, Groper. It was lovely. Tomorrow there is a special free food fair on and so we will have a good look at that and a couple of other sights then head north again maybe in the afternoon.
Location: TWIZEL, New Zealand
Friday was more washing on the line then into town. First stop was the old Railway Station for a look around and a chance to absorb some culture with the varied art works on display. We were lucky enough to get the last park available. Dunedin was packed with heaps of tourists off a cruise liner in town.
I was going to visit the sports hall of fame but was not prepared to pay the asking price. It is fashion week in Dunedin so consequently a lot of the streets and different parts of the station were cordoned off. Next it was off to the info centre to see what to do. We decided on the Cadbury chocolate tour and the monarch cruise around the Albatross and Seal,and Sea Lion areas. The tour of the chocolate factory was informative and great for the waistline with many samples and a great guide.
Then it was a drive right out to Albatross colony area and our cruise. We saw all that they advertised with the exception of Penguins, this included Royal Albatross, Buller Albatross, Gannets and numerous other sea birds, seals and Sea Lions, all in all a very worthwhile tour. It was then time to return to the van for tea and prepare for our next adventure.
Our departure from Mosgiel was under gray skies chilly winds and a threat of rain. First stop of the day was at Moeraki, the town not the boulders, I took the wrong turn however with the aid of some locals we were soon on the right track and went down onto the beach to see the big, round cannon ball looking rocks. They are quite peculiar In that they are about 1 mitre high and seem to almost be glued together, lots of photos to come. The wind was still blowing and very chilly.
Next stop was Oamaru for some lunch and a small stock up then on to Twizel. Most of the drive was wet and very misty, however as we got closer to Twizel the clouds lifted and the sunshine rained on us. We are parked in the grounds of the Combined services Club which is a large expanse of grass with about a doz vans and motor homes parked up. I checked it out and found that they had the rugby on, so after tea I Was given permission to go and watch the Blues actually win a game. Unfortunately on my return we discovered that we had another leak which will have to wait until CHCH to get fixed properly.
Today it was on the road to Mount Cook, after breakfast. The journey was almost breathtaking with magnificent scenery. We parked up at the Hermitage and went exploring. The whole place has changed dramatically in the 27 years since we were last here with the Edmond Hilary alpine centre being a real tourist attraction with movies about the mountain and the conquering of it in 3D.,this was awesome as well,as entertaining. We then watched a 30 min doco on black holes, yeh I know, not your usual cup of tea and Lyn did admit to having a bit of a snooze (So did I) we then had some lunch and a stroll around the the grounds hoping to get a photo of the mountain without cloud all over it with almost a little success.
It was then time for the return journey with frequent stops for pics of Lake Pukaki which were just mind blowing, Lyn is an amazing photographer with a great eye for a good shot. We then decided to go to Tekapo for mass in the Church of the Good Shephard, you probably know all about it but it was a very tranquil place for prayer. Then it was back to the van for tea of baked beans and eggs on toast. Tomorrow it is off to Geraldine and a catch up with my Uncle Paul and Joanne.