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South Island Diary

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Diary 

 

Day 103 - Tuesday 5th February 2008,Wellington to Nelson

Having stayed in motel on campsite overnight and rang Mum got up @ 6am to catch ferry Drizzly in the morning Got to Interislander about 7.35-ish Boat didn’t leave until 8.45am (late) Bit like being on a large cruise ship, weather improved as we went but wind in Cook strait so strong they wouldn’t open the leewardside deck doors. Annie read, Keef slept (and apparently snored) until we reached Queen Charlotte Sound on South Island Spectacular views. Disembarked in Picton, nice little place. Had coffee filled up with fuel and set off along Queen Charlotte Drive, ace views of the sound from the road. Windy twisty steep but it hugged the coastline. Then on to Nelson via SH6 and the WOW museum.Loved World of Wearable Art (WOW) & classic car museum.Met noone in particular.Have now left North Island Stayed in Golden Oak Motel, Nelson and had a spa (very relaxing)

Day 104 - Wednesday 6th February 2008,Nelson to Kaiteriteri, Waitangi day (Maori treaty Public Hol)

Just got out of the motel in time, 10.15am late went to investigate campsites in Nelson (No good) spent some time in Trafalgar sq, looking at trees, cathedral , town, parksNelson is very nice Then went onto harbour side to see settlers monument just open yesterday. Interesting. Sunny about 24c. Then drove thru fruit vineyard area Rabbit island and onto start of Abel Tasman Nat Park and campsite at Kaiteriteri (2 nights).Saw lots Rabbit island and Nelson church the highlights.Met Kiwi, swiss girlfriend and her sister and friends. They were very loud until 12midnight. We had to get up for boat at 7.30 so a bit pissed off V cold at night.Yummy, Boysenberry real fruit ice-cream and basket of fruit, cherries and plums

Day 105 - Thursday 7th February 2008,Abel Tasman National Park (by Wilsons’ boat)

An absolutely fabulous day..Too much to describe here, see photos to do it justice,met Kiwi next campsite, borrowed his can opener!Gr8 day, gr8 weather 25c, gr8 scenery, went for a swim when we got back, would like to stay another day but site slot full so will move on

Day 106 - Friday 8th February 2008,Kaiteriteri to Golden Bay

Left campsite at about 11 (eventually) Traveled via Hawk Lookout point with nice boardwalk. Then via Upper Takawa to Bencardi and the Amatoki Salmon Fishing then on thru Tawaka and Collingwood (weird little place) past Mussel inn to Pawaka camp site. Booked eco tour to Farewell spit for 2moro, saw lots, met old Kiwi couple who insisted on telling us which route to take around South island, partially useful for Doubtful sound bus/boat advice but delayed us about an hour whilst we tried to get away. Americans from Florida who were moving to Alaska (boy they will notice the difference) Geoff at Anatoki salmon fishing, who showed us how to kill my fish (not nice) and I had to do Annies one (ugh, thru the brain), caught my first ever salmon (1.14 kg or approx 2.5 lbs) and Anne’s first ever fish 11.58 kg or approx 3.5lbs We then had them apple wood smoked and coated in Cajun (one fish) and lemon pepper (other fish) best salmon and freshest ever Ate with garlic bread at lunch hot then cold with new potatoes and salad eve , loved Lookout, Salmon fishing and Pakawau beach where we are camping for 3 nights Note lady in wellington in next tent had recommended Golden Bay

Day 107 - Saturday 9th February 2008,Farewell Spit Eco Tour

Dossed around in the morning , quite hot went on beach read / pc-ed. Prepared sandwiches and went off to Collingwood to catch our Eco tour bus to Farewell Spit Bird sanctuary and 27 miles by about 5 wide in the shape of a kiwi’s beak if you see it on a map. Gr8 day out, v interesting especially if u r a twitcher which we are not! Pictures probably best way to see it,lots of sand and interesting coastline, ex river bed In 1800’s it was all trees not sand dunes, maybe that tells us something.

Excellent guide who drove the bus, funny and knowledgeable. Computer guy who worked for the Bank of Austria b4 he retired. Unmarried, opinionated and never shut up, sort of guy you would avoid at work (or anywhere) except a sandspit! remember Eco tour Gr8, listening to final part of Time to Kill by Thomas Harris on Ipod (audible book) in the car with seats laid down , most relaxing. Started to rain which is oh so needed by the farmers and folk for water containers

Day 108 - Sunday 10th February 2008,Pakawua Campsite

Poured all night, 2.5 inches of rain, tent and some contents soaked, outside ground (note there was only us and 2 others on site and they were inside) drowned. Spent day drying out, luckily sun back out by about 12-ish used pc to catch up and sorted out our wedding anniversary. Cricket 23/2 Finally managed to get 2 tickets to see England Vs Blackcaps in 5th ODI, they play nearly all their matches on North Island except the 1st & 5th ODIs in Christchurch - hooray,Plus we are going on the Transalpine train (Christchurch to Greymouth & back) supposedly one of the best train journeys in the world for our 30th wedding anniversary on 25th and staying for 3 nights in some luxury in Christchurch across those 3 days, Annie  taking me out for some posh nosh,Charged up cameras etc etc Nothing day really Had early T of spam, fried kumara and spaghetti, saw zip/diddly squat, met owner of campsite, droll Kiwi with a chauvinistic bent ‘ don’t carry plates for your woman’- stereotype. Said if they hadn’t had rain would have had to shut site as $NZD900 to buy in water (serious stuff), loved Rain stopping! Getting Cricket tickets

Day 109 - Monday 11th February 2008,Pakawua Campsite to Westport, A1 Motel

Drove from Pakawua back down road via Moutere (where we bought some stamp material for a shirt for me for about £35) Lovely fruit valley, bought apples (Red Goldenstein) and plums (red doris) Then superb scenery to Murchison where we had coffee (flat white) and blueberry muffins.Extract from note sent to Pete 2day

“greets from a very wet (a first!) Westport on the top west coast of south island...the thunder and lighting (remember that) was so bad whilst we camped last night that we had to sleep sometime in the car.... but we can’t complain after months of sunshine,we are really enjoying ourselves but its going a bit too quickly... ,loved your lines about sophie.....she'll be beating you at chess b4 u know it,good result for spurs, i didn’t know that one. Interestingly premier soccer is big here in nz, they don’t really do soccer...Finally managed to get 2 tickets to see England Vs Blackcaps in 5th ODI (23/2), they play nearly all their matches on North Island except the 1st & 5th ODIs in Christchurch – hooray, as we are now on south island and we ain’t going back 4 the cricket ,Annie & I are going on the Tranz Alpine train (Christchurch to Greymouth & back) supposedly one of the best train journeys in the world for our 30th wedding anniversary on 25/2 and staying for 3 nights in some luxury in Christchurch across those 3 days, plus Annie is taking me out for some posh nosh,Trust you are both well, enjoy the camping in the Cotswolds if you do go, Love Keef & Anne”  Met PAHOG & FUN41, old aussies on Harley D’s who we last met at Lake Ferry café near Pallister bay. remember Thunder & Lightening dumped 3 ins on Wellington overnigh t24c even tho it rained lots,Fish and chips in Motel definitely not Westport (awful place), run down ex coal town, loved buller river

Day 110 - Tuesday 12th February 2008,Westport to Karamea

Nice sunny day Good drive along SH67 up to Karamea along surf coast. We stopped for lunch and got eaten by Sandflies. Nice views though. Climbed through hills, high and tropical. Lots of land for sale but who would want it?  Karamea was a quaint little place and start of Heaphy trail. Stayed in best studio motel yet, $110NZD and did cooking inside (naughty) without setting off fire alarm, Strange letter boxes (fish, elephants, tractors you name it),Nutty couple with very old car and 1900 car hats, saw them again out at Gentle Annie Beach. Woman at motel (hubby Conservation guy) who had traveled to UK in her youth. Salisbury. Remember little kittens getting in our car at motel

Day 111 - Wednesday 13th February 2008,Karamea to Greymouth

Brilliant day (23c) Drive back thru Westport (you have tono other choice) then down SH6 to Greymouth. Superb views all the way. Like Highway 1 in California and Big Sur (maybe better) Stopped at various places but Pancake rocks and the blowholes was the best, superb 30min walk around the edge Lunch at concrete table and chairs overlooking Tasman and not sure who ate most the sand flies or us! Camping 2 nights Top10, saw lots including faces in the rocks! Good campsite. Station at Greymouth (will revisit 2moro) , met guy from Loughboro living in Holland with Dutch girlfriend at Fox River, remember being camped at Top 10 at Greymouth next to airport runway! Bought duvet cover cheap for tenting (the warehouse), loved Pancake rocks and the Blowholes (see on video)  

Day 112 - Thursday 14th February 2008,Greymouth

VALENTINES DAY!!! Wet day in Greymouth. Parked up the car and walked around the town for most of the day.Pier at Barry town, just o/side town, Quay wall in town, proverbial clock tower, art gallery (in old bank of NZ) very cleverly called ‘A New Land’ (see photo and painted ‘in’ lettering from ‘bAnk of NEW zeaLAND’), lunch at 124 MacKay yummy Annie had a special chicken with spinach and cheese,  I had Moroccan lamb with couscous plus lots of garlic bread (one kiwi portion is 4 big bits) –cost approx $NZD76 with iced coffee and flat white. Then we popped down to see Tranz Scenic arrive and depart Greymouth (its what we are on for our 30th from Christchurch), Jade Boulder gallery/museum (v interesting), carrot cake (again) then back to campsite, sunny now 21c, and read our books Had wine , cheese/bics/grapes 4 T . started raining about 8.30-ish ,mey guy from St Austell in the loos.Lots of nutty girls walking round town with a red heart on a stick, we mistook it (old fuddie duddies’ for something to do with Heart Foundation but it was obvious when you know its valentines day. Almost ‘international incident’ when kiwis left bench to guard their motor home slot and Japanese moved it and parked there. A&I were hoping for fireworks but it was a bit of a damp squib. Not many photos, it was all too ‘Grey’ Named after a brit general , river town etc etc

Day 113 - Friday 15th February 2008,Greymouth to Reefton

And it finished raining at about 9.30am, bad night huge electrical storm had to make a quick exit to car (again) at about 2.30am. This time only there for about 30mins . rain horrendous (3” guess) came in tent a bit.So after wash and breakfast packed insides and read until the tent dried. Got it down just in time as started raining again soon after. Went to MacDs for b’fast (yuk!!!) Petrol then onto Reefton via SH6. Lots of rain, stayed in First Electric light motel.Its what Reefton is famous for. Went in museum, saw old street lamps/ quartz mines, old shops. Ok place but not much happening. Went out for meal at Alfresco (eve) cold sitting outside nice filling meal though. We are only staying in Reefton for rodeo so 1 night is fine,Snow on Mountain range in distance from Top10 campsite when it was sunny Probably Mt Cook (guess) They said on news it had snowed!!!, met danish family with 4 kids under 10 traveling in campervan . Anne finished Wilbur Smith – the seventh scroll (book) one paragraph b4 Keef finished Ben Elton – Inconceivable at about 10.30am. We had to wait for tent to dry b4 taking it down, not quite the last folk to leave the Greymouth site, that honour went to poor German couple on motorbikes with leaky 2 man tent   Americans at restaurant who only have 4 days on south island, why the hell were they spending 1 of them in Reefton we ask ourselves!!! loved cars as gate posts.

Day 114 - Saturday 16th February 2008,Reefton Rodeo, then onto Hamner Springs via Lewis Pass

Rained all night, packed up car then had gr8 cooked breakfast for $10NZD, Rodeo was at Reefton racecourse, gr8 gr8 gr8 fun loved every minute of it, After it finished we had flat white and cakes in bakery before driving thru Lewis pass to Hamner springs. 9c outside (coldest yet) No vacancies anywhere in HS, real holiday spot and Kiwi weekend, not sure why but alpine spot, we will investigate 2moro. Lewis pass gr8.Animal lib folk outside rodeo. Frankly the only one hurt was rider on the bucking bronco who got kicked near the eye but St Johns patched him up,Guy in Electric light motel (Reefton is famous for having the first lights.bottled lightin southern hemisphere) when I told him his breakfast was the best in NZ plus guy at bar who I talked cricket to (especially as now 2-1 to blackcaps in ODIs), remember Rodeo and K being stung by wasp, plus Lewis pass, loved the rodeo especially the action shot with the mucous from the bulls mouth and Lewis pass

Day 115 - Sunday 17th February 2008,Hamner Springs to Kaikoura

Up early, indeed we had left by 9.30am unheard of, v sunny day. Good look around the ski resort of HS, then lovely drive across SH7, then 70 (Mt Lyeford) through to Kaikoura. The Kaikoura range in the distance had snow on it, oh what a view Arrived about 2pm and set up tent, field v wet from 4 days of rain but nice and sunny now.Mountain range.Guy from Norfolk who owned Hamner Springs campsite, been in NZ 3 years.21c, Views of snow on the range  

Day 116 - Monday 18th February 2008,Whale watching,  Kaikoura

Xclent day. Whale watching at 12.15 from old railway station behind campsite, watched movie (gr8 shots) then bused out to South bay where we caught the boat, v good seats. Saw sperm whale twice and hector dolphins (v rare and small) then seal colony After wards had fish & chips and drove round harbour (another waves motel, looked v similar), 1930’s cinema, whale bone archeds, Robert Fyffes cottage, Scots 1st whaler in Kaikoura, drowned then his bro took over, v interesting coast line that ended up at the seal colony ,Oh so much, whales a delight, Mostly cloudy all day, remeber Annie spotting whale blowing on horizon b4 anyone else (lookouts and all) well done! Hines best fish and chips in NZ in our humble opinion, had after trip, then bought loads of sweeties for Cinema – saw Atonement, v good

Bought poster of Kaikoura overhead view to send back to Craig, ace, Interrupting film to ask guy to turn off the lights on his motorbike, loved sperm whale and hector dolphin

Day 117 - Tuesday 19th February 2008,Kaikoura

Quiet day at the Top 10 site, if you discount train and helicopter at midnight and 6 am, plus steady stream of campervan leavers. V cold overnight, bad night for both of us so we slept in to 10.20.  Sun out, 20c, did washing, read a lot , popped into town to get paninis for lunch and the worst muffin ever (choc & raspberry but solid) Did PC stuff in eve, cold again , met australian lady whilst cooking in kitchen, sounded English had live in oz for 40 years. Lived at Morningtown on the peninsular so compared notes. She knew Elwood well they only have 4 weeks in NZ, with 3 on North Island (wow),Sent this to Linda and Doug 2day ‘We went to see Atonement last night here in Kaikoura in a 1930’s cinema, just like a scout hut. The film stopped halfway thru, no explanation and we thought it had broken, only it was the ‘intermission’ Not seen one of those since the 70’s To cap it all the ice-cream lady came in with a torch halfway thru the 2nd half to tell the ‘biker’ loudly that he had left his lights on.hoot!’

Day 118 - Wednesday 20th February 2008,Kaikoura to St Arnaud via Blenheim

Cold night again, lots of condensation on the tent, had to leave it dry out until about 11am Then set off up SH1 to Blenheim. Stopped to see seals , baby cub especially Liked Blenheim Had a real scots feel to it Visited art museum, some crap from a lady from Rotarua pencil / colour unfinished but some good photos Nice square and oldish buildings School kids wearing tartan Then drove thru Marlborough wine region down SH63 ace views to St Arnaud and Lake Roto-iti (see the piccies) MIND BLOWING place,Black swans and an eel on Lake Roto-Iti,met brits who only had 7 days on south island and had spent 3 at the top 10 campsite in  Kaikoura , barmy! Argentineans trying to con Countdown (supermarket) staff that they were over 25 for buying booze Nutter who dangerously overtook me on straight road with road train coming (I had to swerve in to save his life) only to find he had U-turn just up the road NZ drivers ain’t gr8.Montana Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Lake Roto-Iti, log cabin Keef went in lake but only up to his knees, very clear and cold water Couldn’t find the Cloudy bay winery nor for that matter the wine! loved lake Roto-Iti

Day 119 - Thursday 21st February 2008,St Arnaud to Amberley

Set off about 10am. Hot went up to 28c. Saw the oh so wonderful Lake Rotarua in the Nelson Lakes scenic park. (see the piccies) Annie ran back to car after seeing how big the sandflies were. Yep I got bitten bad but worth it for the view. Better than lake Roto-Iti and best yet in NZ. Then traveled along to Springs Junction over quite a lot of highway we hadn’t yet seen. Good scenery Then redid Lewis pass (in sun this time) A driving, K passenger thru Hamner springs again and onto Culverton, thru Waipara (up and coming wine area) and flat Canterbury plains. Very wide plain with mountains all around Ended up in motel on campsite at Amberley after seeing the beach. Mrs Henderson presents with Dame Judi Dench and Bob Hoskyns (fun) on Sky movies.Both at Lake Rotarua. 2 old guys from Wellington who were on a fishing fortnight I had to take a piccie for them at the end of the pier plus PAHOG and FUN41 The 2 bikers on Harleys I keep bumping into Geoff & Belinda had a chat saw them at Woodstock and Lake Ferry (Palliser Bay, NI) They have a campervan that they base in areas and then go off on the bikes, Leathers v useful against sandflies.Bacon sandwiches and Preece CabSau Annie passed 1000 km driving in NZ Big distance driven 2day, will do far less 2moro. Loved Lake Rotarua

Day 120 - Friday 22nd February 2008,Amberley to Kaiapoi, via Scenic Highway 72

Left motel at 10-ish ($85NZD) Traveled on the loop road  thru Asley Gorge to Oxford and then back to SH1 and down towards Christchurch and stopped at Kaiapoi in the Pinehaven campsite motels Functional if you like living in a mobile home ($75NZD).A few eastern bay beaches on route Ashley gorge really good Walked along it up to bend A stayed in car cos of sandflies I saw a flying stork (got piccie after he landed) plus bird of prey on fence (missed it) and helicopter spraying gorse bushes. No-one really apart from young couple with baby traveling in a Hiace space wagon rather them than us but created lots of humorous material whilst we had lunch. Oxford quite interesting. Not sure why the SH72 was scenic, v flat in our opinion Tea : fried kumara/ onions/ chicken

Day 121 - Saturday 23rd February 2008,Christchurch

5th ODI Blackcaps Vs England. Ace day really enjoyed it. Up early from Kaiapoi and traveled in to find our motel for 3 nights in Papanui rd. Nice area. Went to find the ground and get our tickets 15 mins from motel but Christchurch is very one way traffic. Ground only half built (east stand missing) Then bought sandwiches from take away and ate those plus choccie cake before match started. Barmy army and Kiwis in south stand fun, rowdy and often evicted,Whole game until rain and Duckworth Lewis gave it to the Kiwis, loved watching the Barmy army, Free crisps plus see Scorecards in south island photos

Day 122 - Sunday 24th February 2008,Christchurch

GR8 day around Christchurch 32c and hot Got up late had showers and then parked up at Science alive and caught the free shuttle bus into the center of town. Then got the Tram/Gondola combo (2nd part to do later) did 2.5 trips round key sights by tram,saw so much, love Christchurch, met lots of nutty cricket supporters.N.E.W flower wearable art ex, superb spin off from WOW in Nelson, Classic cars , Oxford/Cambridge style colleges/ architecture and punting (bizarre)

Day 123 - Monday 25th February 2008,Christchurch

30th Wedding Anniversary – Tranz Alpine to Greymouth and back Gr8 fun, rained on way up v cloudy but oh so hot and sunny on the way back and gr8 scenery Hard to take pictures thru windows.Superb scenery, will go back via road at some stage but train takes you in places where no roads go so it will be our special memories.

Brummie couple (amazingly well traveled) who now live in Weston Super Mare Chatted to them all the way to Greymouth because of the rain. Loving Annie so much. Meal at Italian (sadly keef ill next day), liked Arthurs pass.

Day 124 - Tuesday 26th February 2008,Christchurch to Akaroa

Left Milano Motor lodge at 10, got my copy of the PRESS newspaper. Went to Bank, Petrol and PakNSave in Papanui to fill up on groceries for our proposed stay on the Bank’s Peninsular, about 85k from Christchurch ,Superb views on the way (Little river was a nice township) and from Hill top the view of the harbour area, met the folk we had met on the train, what a coincidence same campsite, alas as Keef so ill unable to have some wine and chat with them,26c, Alas Keef having v bad food poisoning, was it the Butter Chicken Fettuccine in the Italian or off milk, who knows but I had ate lots of diarrhea tablets and threw up big style 3 times. Slept from 3 thru 8 and then 10 to 10, hopefully it has now gone. Sweet corn for 9cents a cob (i.e 3p) and watermelon for 59cents (i.e 25p) whole one

Day 125 - Wednesday 27th February 2008,Akaroa

Alas day spent with Keef recovering No food only water & Tea very sunny day and quite relaxing with us both doing a lot of reading so no bad thing I guess. Read papers, finished Ben Elton’s 1st world war ‘who done it’ plus started War & peace , saw only view from campsite, heard loads of Brits, remember weakness & noisy drunk brits and gr8 sunshine, hot all day 24c mostly until 7 and later at night

Day 126 - Thursday 28th February 2008,Akaroa, Banks Peninsular

Laid in a bit to avoid queues at kitchen and showers. Went into Akaroa and looked around the town. Took loads of piccies of the quaint houses and French streets, it does have a distinctly French feel. Then traveled the Banks peninsular. Good day v hot, 27c and sunny, saw Ohanu Marae, Le Bons Bay, Little Akaroa bay, Pigeon Bay, Summit Road, Barrys Bay, Robinsons Bay, French’s farm & Wainui, we both loved the superb Banks Peninsular

Day 127 - Friday 29th February 2008,Akaroa

Again laid in a bit, a bit more overcast 2day. Relaxing day reading in the morning, Anne did some washing, then we went to the charming Akaroa café-Cinema TWICE, saw Sweet Land (Alan Cummings , Ned Beatty and others) about a arranged Norwegian marriage in early Minnesota and Once with the lead singer from the Frames. Both excellent movies and superb little cinema where you could take your tea pot in with you.met great Kiwi guy who had been traveling with his wife for 6+ years doing odd jobs etc he gave us some gr8 advice on Doubtful sound trip Plus he knew Notts and had dated a polish girl from Sherwood rise in his youth! Cloudy but still 25c sun tries to shine thru the clouds and the covering seems to keep the heat in, it was most humid, remember Films and Cinema experience oh and it was a leap year! Happy birthday Brad!

Day 128 - Saturday 1st March 2008, Akaroa to Hokitika via Arthurs Pass

Pissed down, and I mean gales all day Not too bad when we broke camp but had to pack tent in black sacks as wet,Telegraph Road, 37kms of the straightest road ever and then thru Darfield, Springfield, Sheffield thru the superb views (although hindered by low cloud) of Arthurs pass. Managed to take pictures thru the window. Awful weather. Avalanche creek shelter at Arthurs pass was interesting. You could see why it was needed with the steep gorge sides. Otira gorge amazing (especially when having visited museum in Hokitika you can see how it was all constructed in early 1870s etc) Very steep Then on thru rest of highway to Kumara Junction and west coast sh 6 down thru Chesterfield to Holitika (gold mining town) Stayed at Host Accommodation motel 252 Beachside. To escape the rain. Then having watched sky movie Marie Antoinette went to see Glowworms up Dell. Gales, driving rain and winds, soaked but happy Then back for wine and movie Casanova Heath Ledger (as he died they are showing ALL his movies) This one was real good, met Motel guy Hokitika from Nelson who had been in the British Navy and lived in Corby (god help us!), remember Jacksons Pub, T of fresh sweetcorn and chicken rice plus shiraz , cheese & biccies and Arthurs pass and glowworms @ Hokitika

Day 129 - Sunday 2nd March 2008,Hokitika

Another really wet day in Hoki, no lets say beyond wet. Did walking round Hoki, went to Museum (gr8), wharf, round old buildings, book store, new world for shopping, bank and cinema Lazy day really to try and avoid the rain, saw After the wedding, Danish art house movie in Rialto. 1930s building with comfy leather sofas and a glass of wine should you wish. Worked out the guy on 4 films 50 at each could make mega bucks ($NZD2400 / day) and as he was only showing a DVD not sure it was legal on a copyright front, met Girl in iSite with helium voice, mother in secondhand book store (in old damp government building (up for sale haha) ) who left everyone whilst she went off for daughter PLUS Hippie in Rialto cinema, now he was a classic. Route to Happiness movie with Will Smith on Sky (good surprise) and Thai chicken and rice

Day 130 - Monday 3rd March 2008,Hokitika to Haast via Franz Joseph and Fox Glaciers

Gr8 day both weather and scenery wise. Left Hokitika at about 10 it was 12c but by end of the day was over 20c Traveled in beautiful sunshine to Franz Joseph, Lake Matheson, Fox Glacier, Bruce Bay,  Knights Point to Haast. Stayed in 3rd chosen motel, 1st far too expensive but they have a monopoly. One we stayed in was $115NZD and we dried tent over back fence, saw loads including gr8 views of Mt Tasman & Cook in the distance , met too many Germans, all on organized tourist coach trips. Remember Both glaciers and Lake Matheson but especially Franz Joseph glacier.

Day 131 - Tuesday 4th March 2008,Haast to Queenstown

Another v sunny day Left Haast about 9.30am having loaded up the car over the back fence. Went to Haast beach and had to traverse cows loose in the road. Then A drove thru Haast pass (v interesting valley/gorge and glacial river and waterfalls) down passed Lake Wanaka and Hawua into Cromwell and then onto Queenstown. We are staying 6 km outside in the Top10 site at Shotover Gorge. It will be ‘well cold’ 2night,Vineyards galore, Otago wine we must try (Pinot Noir apparently the best, weak red in our humble opinion) Cromwell old town, old gold mining town from 1870s Otago gold rush,Finally got tent fully dried out from Akaroa rains. Lunch F&C at Lake Hawua, Tea Had buffet and free pint of Speights Salvation ale (v nice) at Point Albert pub, loved the lakes

Day 132 - Wednesday 5th March 2008,Queenstown

Now been on South Island a whole month. Very cold o/night Camping in Top10 Shotover gorge o/side Queenstown Got up late had breakfast about 11.30 luxury! Was overcast and drizzly. Then went to Arrowtown , came back read for a bit and then went on a drive about 5.30 to Glenorchy, just so good.Arrowtown a bit touristy and false as rebuilt. Chinese area interesting. Gr8 views all the way to Glenorchy down Lake Waipatu.Various folk in kitchen at campsite, many brits, plus brit girl with french boyfriend and Scandinavians with 3 kids who are looking to buy a house.Sun coming out just as we did our drive. England blackcaps 1st test in Hamilton

Day 133 - Thursday 6th March 2008,Queenstown

V sunny day & clear 2day, up about 9. Usual shower/ breakfast then into town to iSite and book LOTRs tour. Expect cold again at night as so clear skies.Superb views from Gondola restaurant and top. Luge/ tandem parascending/ bungee/ heli bikes and gr8 views over Queenstown.Various folks, guy from Broxbourne who took our picture on the gondola ride.$35NZD for pictures, can download eventually,Picture of my car from top with guy looking in, caught in the act!!! Stars and moon

meant to say loved y’days trip to Glenorchy

Day 134 - Friday 7th March 2008, Queenstown

Lord of the rings tour by 4WD 2day 1-30pm to 5.30pm Excellent tour off road with Fran our guide and driver. First up the Remarkables Ski field then Winery above AJ Hacketts with Keruwara Gorge used for LOTRs shots Then Arrow river along real road although mostly under water and cobbles to Macetown an old gold mine town, Then Gold panning Then Skippers Canyon The views over Queens town and back. Morning beforehand most relaxing reading books and wedges for lunch in the oven,3 LOTRs scenes and a whole lot more,Fran our nutty guide with replacement knee joint, boy could she drive the 4WD on 2 I did ask to have a go but she wouldn’t let me Plus 2 Hungarians who had been in Oz 3.5 years but still couldn’t get a visa She knew loads about LOTRs Must have just rewatched them b4 the trip Plus 2 swedes,remember (hoot) Fran grabbing hold of my trousers as she fell in the Arrow river whilst we were gold panning, Plus finding a few specimines, Mexican meal at Sombreros Plus the BUCKET LIST movie (superb) in teeny cinema which surprised us as Queenstown is second largest town on South island (supposedly)

Day 135 - Saturday 8th March 2008,Queenstown to Te Anau

Got up fairly early, it had been raining o/night packed remaining stuff (had done ½ day before) We are getting quite proficient at this now And cos of rain quite warm o/night 20c during the day and sunny which isn’t bad for Autumn V windy split tent tie (again) Waited until sun partially dried tent then packed and went shopping in Fresh Choice in QT for 3 days as realized wouldn’t t get much in Fjordland Nat park, especially as all shuts 12 sat and not open Sunday Arrived Te Anau 2.30pm. Much more gentle scenery with dried slopes, farmland and much dried grass humps.Canadian Doctor from Prince Edward isles, sailed to NZ with wife took 1 year and had now been traveling NZ since 1/11/07 Very interesting guy Was gonna leave his boat here go back to Canada for his daughter to give birth and then come back again and sail to Oz Plus v friendly lady in Top 10 Ta Anau who gave us a gr8 pitch with roses and Germans in campervan next to us Lots of Germans on this site.Nice picnic lunch with the Deer at Five Rivers in car

Day 136 - Sunday 9th March 2008,Te Anau

Doubtful Sound trip $340NZD (£136) each but worth every penny of it. Immense scenery Got up early Picked up by coach outside the Top 10 in Te Anau (where we are staying for 4 nights) @ 8.45am Early if you are Pensioners like us! Then round the motels and sites to pick up others and 20km drive along Lake Anua to Manapouri. Driven by wife of DoubtfulSound.Coms owner who hires Geoff (partially deaf but drives 2 boats and one 4WD coach) whilst he goes off cray fishing on the Sound, nice office life if you can get it! Paid at office and we were off on the Fiordland Explorer across lake manapouri. Only way to DS. Tin boat (or was it bath?) holding 20. Really choppy because of wind. Took about 1hr 20 to other side of the lake. Then onto coach at West arm and gravel road across the national park but popped into 2km deep manapouri powerstation visitors center before hand (quite interesting, especially the digging and their comments at good safety record, predicted 50 dead but only 16, hmmmm, crazy logic). Then onto great little boat for gr8 3.5hr cruise along the sound. Up to Tasman sea entrance and back close to the edge back to campsite at about 6pm.Oh so much, exquisite day, met American couple from Texas, well traveled, indeed she had not been in the US for more than a 3 month stretch since retiring How nice would that be? Canadian family from Ontario who had taken their kids out of school for 3 months and are working their way around some of the farms. Camping talk as they like us were in tents. Danish guy and family (3 girls) who was in the campervan on the next plot to us. They had done Milford sound and were leaving Te Anua after 2 days to finish off NZ b4 going to Thailand. Ozzie lady who still sounded like she was from the UK. Remember Rainbows..Packed lunch and oh-so-beautiful scenery Sandflies on coach on the way back as door left open, more than we have seen b4. V cold o/night 5c Crazy signs i.e Hotel in sound and sign saying "Beware, SPICE girls" on Road Weather amazingly changeable rain to sun, loved the waterfalls

Day 137 - Monday 10th March 2008,Te Anau

Chill day, up late after v cold night, Annie found it hard to sleep. Went and looked around Te Anau and the new housing area reckon it could be as big if not bigger than Queenstown in a few years time as new airport opens bringing international travelers to the Fiordland Nat Park. Odd that all the roadway infrastructure and lights are built but all there are are Plot numbers Good sunny day though 20c Did some retail therapy, bought shirt and A bought new PJs & NZ rucsac Then back to site, dinner panini and pumpkin/Kumara spread and read/pcthen late T still full from lunch (sweetcorn on cob/ pasta/ cheese & bikkies) Fiord land cinema, Te Awetua film so good I bought the DVD, met no one really apart from Kiwi in Cinema who was fun,Not much, caught up on PC and got Travelodge (Sydney) and flight to Tassie booked plus doing Mums DVDs of South Island,Ta Anua building area

Day 138 - Tuesday 11th March 2008,Milford Sound

Best day yet!!! Wind (gusting 140km ) and heavy rain overnight, tent almost took off but in a way this was a blessing in disguise Our trip to Milford Sound meant the most magnificent waterfalls and then the sun came out just as we were going on our boat trip. Superb only the pictures can describe it .Lakes trees plains valley waterfalls,oh the best scenery in the World!!!! Lady on boat who kindly took our pictures and Chef from MS lodge who came from Invercargill and worked up there.Remember the whole day..MILFORD SOUND is superb!!!! The road to and from Milford was fab and we were so lucky to have both rain & sunshine.

Day 139 - Wednesday 12th March 2008,Te Anau to Invercargill

Nice and sunny (hooray) so first collapse of tent in the dry for quite a while. Packed, breakfasted and gone by 10.30am Drove along scenic highway all the way to Invercargill; saw and stopped at many of the beaches including McCrackens Rest for lunch and Monkey island. Gr8 tasman surf again although there did appear to be some pollution and boy was it blowing a gale. The Roaring 40s Went to bed quite late and slept v well.Some gr8 mountain views in the distance, Southern Alps. Watched 2 movie on Sky in Motel.Keeping Mum (Maggie Smith,Rowan Atkinson & Kristin-Scott-Thomas) & Stranger than Fiction (Will Farrell, Emma Thompson).All the staff at Te Anau top10 were really friendly and concerned about our ‘survival’ in the storms/gales.Booked sat night on Stewart island in Kaka Cottages, v hard to get in as only a few places and quite expensive but hey we only live once.Loved views of Fiordland nat park & Southern Alps with snow on them.

Day 140 - Thursday 13th March 2008,Invercargill

Relaxed day in Invercargill. Got up late had brekkie, went and booked an additional 2 days here at the Evergreen Motel on Dee st (hahabuilding work next door and fashioned like a 70s version of crossroads) Went to the Southland’s Museum, spent about 2 hours there v interesting especially Tuatara (lizards) and sub Antarctic islands stuff (roaring 40s, furious 50s) Then shopped at Countdown and went to Invercargill Brewery and tasted some of their gr8 beers and bought a selection pack. Saw lots of Tuatara Henry took a long time to come out of his burrow but what a magnificent specimen plus 2nd test against the blackcaps Gr8 innings by Tim Ambrose and Paul Collingwood to rescue things Some very old and large and palatial Victorian Buildings. Invercargill was obviously once of significance.Helpful lady at motel.All roads on a grid system are named after Scottish rivers. The Tuatara HENRY was ace!!! A Maori at the waterfall at Dusky sound by William Hodges (illustrator on James Cooks 2nd voyage (HMS Resolution) to NZ.Remember Henry and the beers.

Day 141 - Friday 14th March 2008,Invercargill/ Bluff/Atoki Beach

Got up reasonably late again, made sandwiches and headed off to Bluff . Checked out our Stewart island trip for 2moro. Tickets and car hire. Got to get up early 2moro then went up to the lookout up the hill into Bluff reserve Weather not gr8 so views over islands not that good  Did bits of the Bluff Heritage trail, older buildings owned by J G Evans (PM twice) then went along Marine parade to Stirling Cove NZ’s answer to Land’s End (although not quite the most southerly part of South island) that is on private land but for tourists it counts as the end Took loads of piccies there.Test Cricket from Wellington basin reserve again, England on Top Although we had to get up early and it finished late we watched Blood Diamonds on Sky. Met no one really except the ladies at SIE (Stewart Island Experience) who were not keen to print off our tickets. We still owe $60NZD for car which I offered but they said they were cashing up and I should pay 2moro There you go.Shops selling Oyster and Chips Local luxury in Bluff.

 

See Stewart Island for Days 142-3.

 

Day 144 - Monday 17th March 2008,Invercargill to Balcutha, thru the Catlins

St Patrick’s Day to be sure!!! Up early-ish Rather drizzly day until late eve when it went up to 18c (was 11c) Visited Invercargill Bakery and bought stuff for lunch then traveled down the scenic coastal highway all the way thru the Catlins. Very interesting park , trees to coast  ending up having done at least 70km on Gravel roads in Balcutha Stayed at Motel just over the bridge.Sea lions (lots) ,birds but NO PENGUINS. Annie was disappointed.Met French couple who didn’t heed the warnings when photographing the sea lions Cannibal Bay.Loved the scenery and the wildlife.

Day 145 - Tuesday 18th March 2008,Balcutha to Dunedin, via Alexandra (Central Otago loop)

Travelled upto Alexandra / Clyde and then back down to Dunedin,saw Lake Dunstan, Central Otago, Rock lands, Blue Mountains, Roxbourgh Fruitlands, Middlemarch, Dunedin Motorway, St Bathans Goldfield ghost town,32c, Nice Chinese meal out in South Dunedin (Nanking) Stayed in converted hospital/ old folks home/ psycho ward in South Dunedin

Day 146 - Wednesday 19th March 2008,Dunedin

Gr8 day – went along Cliffside drive to Taiaroa head and the albatross sanctuary then back around the 31km harbour via the Portabello rd,Saw baby Albatross and adult. Did the tour most informative. NZ furry seals close up and some gr8 scenery both back into Dunedin and down to Taiaroa head.Staying in Commodore Motel, Great Cumberland Street North, Dunedin. Remember The albatross sanctuary and the perfect sunshine and annie standing next to full sized albatross, 3m wingspan

Day 147 - Thursday 20th March 2008,Dunedin

Leisurely breakfast watching what’s-is-name TV’s Paul ? (who is most funny) and Pippa on TV one Had hot cross buns Then went to explore Dunedin City Baldwin St first (bought the T Shirt, steepest street in the world) Parked up in the Otago Settlers Museum carpark (all charge in town) then up on cnr of Raffety & Broadway for Speights Ale House and Brewery (It is the oldest it NZ 1870s)  Then off down coast to St Clair’s beach and Brighton beach b4 returning to motel (Commodore) nr botanic gardens. Early t and off to see the blue penguins.Baldwin street (steepest street in the world) Good stuff in museum (old art deco bus depot forms the middle) Lots of stuff on steerage shipping of Settlers to Otago The picture gallery has ALL Otago settlers (mostly Scots) The first guy William Cargill wanted Dunedin to be the new Edinburgh hence half the road names (PS they ripped off the local Maori seriously in this area after they had been so helpful) The railway station and old buildings some made from Aberdeen stone shipped over Can see why it once was the leading city in NZ (and hopes to be again with Carisbrook stadium replacement $188mNZD).Gr8 sunny day Beautiful Uni city Octagon, loved all of the city and beaches and Baldwin st.

Day 148 - Friday 21st March 2008,Dunedin to Oamuru

Stopped along the coast at various points. SH1 v busy as all the Kiwis off for Easter weekend. Drove about 150km with lunch on one of the coastal areas near Shag point. Moeraki boulders (v touristy) then along the coast via kaunui to oamuru, arrived at site about 2.20 pm and set up Nice pitch

Day 149 - Saturday 22nd March 2008,Oamuru

Visited town, penguin colony to book tickets and hide for yellow eyed penguins,One penguin obscured after 2 hrs,Gr8 bloke at next pitch who lives in Christchurch, used to live in Perth and Long Eaton and was born in Hartlepool, amzingly small world.Remember Play in the evening – the storm of 1868 hot day/ v cold night and the yellow eyed penguin taken from the hyde.

Day 150 - Sunday 23rd March 2008,Oamaru

Went to see the Blue penguins in their burrows on a guided tour Then onto the lookout and yellow-eyed penguins and the hide again. Good day , saw one on the beach They are very rare See piccies then spent most of the afternoon eve talking to the Brits on both sides of our pitch and cooking our superb fillet steak BBQ (yummy best yet!).Blue and yellow-eyed penguins.Fiona – Blue Penguin colony guide. Alan Weathley, teacher, born in Hartlepool, lived in Long Eaton, Perth and Christchurch, his Irish wife (who loved Enya) and their 2 children Dale and Alana.hoot the little boy had a metal detector and wanted to start digging up the inside of our tent. On the other side the young couple from Harpenden who had traveled thru the Anderman isles, Vietnam & Thailand before coming to South Isles (NZ) who were emigrating to Perth.good time to do it! Remember the evening chatting, but not the v cold nights and my lilo with slow puncture oh and boysenberry ice creams heaven

Day 151 - Monday 24th March 2008,Oamaru

Up about 9-ish v cold night again and bloody air mattress ‘going down’ all the time, neither of us slept that well,Croatian ringing home at 12pm didn’t help outside the tent, still got up said goodbye to alan rang mum & craig to hear about appalling Easter weather in UK, snow etc  So felt way better, Nice emails from Doug, Linda and Phoenix off to cinema later Booked 2days at Lake Benmore site supposedly with en-suite Went to see Love in the Time of Cholera at the Omaru 3 Movies cinema, laid back cinema with coffee/ wine etc but popcorn all over the floor, yuck! Film most disappointing had Xavier Bardem in it .Anne did a bit of washing, sun came out and in, probably gonna rain which will wash tree pollen off car and tent Keef did PC stuff

Day 152 - Tuesday 25th March 2008,Oamaru to Lake Benmore

Travelled about 108kms today. Packed up tent in cloud and by the time we had reached Takiroa (Maori Rock art place) the sun was out and it was 22c. Travelled round back of Lake Aviemore (lots of DOC campsites) and had lunch there with the sandflies, no kept windows closed and air con on. Arrived at campsite at Lake Benmore at about 2.30pm .Great lakes.Nice lady and her hubby who work the campsite. They live in Nelson, do a summer season up here at Lake Benmore (although this will be the last) and spend the winter in their campervan in Oz. Doing WA this year. Remember en-suite pitch for tent with own shower, loo and washbasin. We have decided to stay 3 days ,$200NZD bid (so far) on our camping gear in Trade Me (Kiwi equivalent of ebay)

Day 153 - Wednesday 26th March 2008,Lake Benmore Holiday park & Mt Cook Nat Park

BEEN AWAY 5 MONTHS 2DAY!!!!! At this campsite for 3 nights.Drove thru Twizel to Aoraki – Mt Cook along SH8 & 80 past Lake Pukataki (superbly blue) Left at 1.30 returned at 7.30 as very cloudy in morning which then cleared to bright sunshine Drove down Tasman valley gravel road for 8km and then walked up to Blue Lakes Hard walk, missed out on tasman glacier walk as too knackered. Remember Mt Cook Nat Park,boo hiss, no one else bidding on our Trade me auction Meal in Twizel (weird place) and copper with rifle, loved Mackenzie plains and Mt Cook Nat Park .

Day 154 - Thursday 27th March 2008,Lake Benmore

Spent most relaxing day at site, quite warm. Read loads of Gossip magsboy what we don’t  know about Angelina Jolie and designer 3rd world babies doesn’t bear questioning!  Got up early to watch Trade Me bid on our camp stuff conclude, winner who didn’t hit the reserve was from Auckland (dummy – despite my explicit details about delivery in Christchurch) Sold to Andy from Rangiora who we will deliver to later $260NZD , lost about $1110NZD over 3 ½ months, not bad! Good weather, surrounding mountains and a very calm Lake Benmore,Lakeflies and midges attracted to the light in Kitchen as we tried to read at night Good pork Tikka masala for lunch with med grain rice, yummy! Nice ladies from campsite again who told us in the 80s when the roads weren’t tar sealed it took a day from Blenheim to Nelson, wow! Plus in Winter lake Benmore freezes no snow (often) but –20c temps because of surrounding Southern Alps Plus Canadian from New Brunswick who comes over without his wife every Jan for 3 months to escape the Canadian winter, can’t say I blame him, the weather I mean, not his wife hee hee!

Day 155 - Friday 28th March 2008,Lake Benmore to Timaru

Up reasonably early, packing takes little time now. We know the ropes and pack some stuff the Night B4. This will be our last night under canvas as have done 52 nights now and it is getting somewhat cold and autumnal and we have to deliver the camp gear to Andy, so motels from now on and campervan in Oz for the SA to QLD leg. It had rained o/night which helped with some of the sticky stuff from birch tree at Oamaru. Annie cleaned tent and ground sheet up well so put stuff to bed. Drove up to Twizel area and along Bullock heritage trail tourist route via canal off SH8 to see LOTRs sites then along  SH8  thru Mt Cook Nat Park, thru Lake Tekapo, up Mt John to Observatory, then thru Breakers pass back into the slightly flatter lands via Fairlie and P Point to Timaru. Staying in Aspen on Kings Timaru is v big maybe 2nd to Christchurch.Superb views of Mt Cook and surrounding mountain range as v sunny over that area, some good shots down Mt Cook salmon farm gravel road. Lake Tekapo most disappointing (v touristy) Mt John Observatory superb views again.English guy who runs motel, left east London 35 years ago but still has some sort of UK accent .Gr8 meal in Aspen on Kings restaurant A had salmon, I had beef medallions plus lemon meringue / coffee cheesecake for pud watched 2 DVDs – Emma (rubbish) and Beyond Borders (good clive owen superb), went to bed late

Day 156 - Saturday 29th March 2008,Aspen on Kings, Timaru

Alas up early because of kids playing outside at 7.30 am, kill their parents if we see them,. Did bacon & mushroom butties for b/fast and watched tv in bed, decadent or what! Cloudy day, only 16c Caught up on PC, paid bills, noted down our Sydney accommodation and flight to Tassie otherwise a chill type day off to town pm .

2 DVDs – Mrs Palfrey at the Claridge (Mrs Olivier – Joan Crawford) Ace, plus some other unmemorable Stealing home with Jodie Foster (bit part) and not her best, met the guy from Motel (again), Not much, chill day, Timaru is not that interesting

Day 157 - Sunday 30th March 2008,Timaru

Went out to Temuka and Milford Huts (just o/side Timaru) having been to Caroline Bay, not the nicest parts of South island if we are honest. Weather good and sunny 25c Got pumpkin and mushroom quiche from New World (Temuka) 4 tea and then went back to motel to sort out camping gear for our sale to Andy in Rangiora and watched 4 DVDs whilst quaffing Sav Blanc , creamy blue cheese and grapes. Ladies in lavender, Kid (Bruce willis, crap, stopped), Vows of deception (Cheryl Ladd) and Let them eat cake (series) Dawn French/ Jennifer Saunders (Gr8).

Day 158 - Monday 31st March 2008,Timaru to Ashburton, via Mt Hutt

Gr8 day, v interesting. Out of motel by 10am, started at 16c ended at 23c, drove up after petrol refill and screen wipe to Temuka, then Geraldine (v touristy) but walked around quaint township and saw museum (mostly farming community), then up Inland scenic highway to Mt Hutt / Methven , diverting down to Peel Forest and Rakianga Gorge (raft tour start).Sheep droving, nice hills/ mountains, deer, walk to the Big tree in Peel forest,gr8 fun , 30 mins, lots of bird life in this natural forest

Some Germans at the big tree, lady who runs Commodore motel, Ashburton,Weather, humid, 23c and big tree and little birdie that flew to us in the forest. Loved Mt Hutt bungy, big tree and sheep droving

Day 159 - Tuesday 1st April 2008,Ashburton to Christchurch, then Rangiora

Visited Ashburton Town center, gardens , museum and art gallery, then drove out to Wakanui beach nearby across Canterbury plains and then up parallel to SH1 thru lots of little places, Mitcham included, and back thru Lincoln into Christchurch. Staying at AAA Motel on North road nr airport (-ish) for 4 days b4 flying out to Oz.

Very nice town square and clock with flowers, flat countryside and NZs longest bridge over No water (or very little) – not that impressive if we are honest but maybe we have been spoilt.Andy and family, 8 Kensington Ave, Rangiora, sold gear for $260NZD , cost $1400+NZD but not bad considering we couldn’t take with us and we had used for 52 nights.Ok weather, student art better than Colin McMahon (NZs best living artist)

Day 160 - Wednesday 2nd April 2008,Christchurch beaches

Visited New Brighton , Sumner (polluted) and Gondola up above CC and Bank’s peninsular, very sunny but getting a little colder.New Brighton pier, cave rocks Sumner, Lyttelton harbour from above.Free coffee and gondola ride, good chicken meal in the eve (teryaki)

Day 161 - Thursday 3rd April 2008,Christchurch

After wasting 3+hours packing, unpacking and repacking stuff to be posted off to Craig, numerous U-turns on SH and 3 visits to the post office we finally got off to visit the city center. Parked up behind the Science alive on Moorhouse St and caught the free shuttle into Cathederal Sq. walked passed market, river Avon to Art Museum (lovely building) Colin McMahon stuff no good but Goldie and Gottlieb on old Maori’s ace,Art museum, cathedral and graffiti freeze for City of flowers (now complete).Slightly effiminant gent desk at museum.How long it takes to get a parcel off including guy I rang for shipping freight who said when I asked about personal effects ‘that as long as they were horses that was fine!!!’ hoho a horse merchant.Remember a couple of Kiwi speedway giants

Day 162 - Friday 4th April 2008,Christchurch

Day spent at the Botanic gardens and packing. See NSW (Oz) for Day 163 a flight day.. 

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