NZ South Island Journey – Buller Gorge, Westport, Hokitika, Haast

Posting by Barb

We zigzagged our way through the narrow, twisty mountain road, crossing many ‘one’ way bridges with one side of the traffic always ‘giving way’ or as we would say ’yielding’ to any oncoming traffic. It was a challenging drive in a large motor home.

DSC_2966We stopped at Buller Gorge, historically a gold mining location but the ‘mother load’ was never found. We spent a night at a campsite in Westport and the next morning we roamed the town for warmer clothes and rain gear for Caroline and Vic. They had come well prepared for warm weather but the Western side of the South Island seemed to have cooler temperatures and some wetter weather.

DSC_4065We finally made our way to Hokitika, the location for the famous blow holes and pancake rocks. The rough seas provided great entertainment as the sea water smashed against the rocks and pushed their way up create spectacular seawater blows. 

DSC_4096Haast provided our first sighting of the glowworms nestled among the trees and rocks. We had to creep up to them in the dark as they are sensitive to noise and light. The day ended with a beach walk with a breathtaking sunset.

NZ South Island Journey – Kaiteriteri

Saturday February 22 2014

Posting by Barb

Lunch at Havelock Marina
Lunch at Havelock Marina

 

After a great lunch at the Havelock Marina, the four of us continued our trip in the motorhome. Our first stop was a beautiful beach bordering the Abel Tasman Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camping in NZ. Not wilderness but lots of fun
Camping in NZ. Not wilderness but lots of fun

It was our first introduction to NZ camping. Camper vans nestled snuggly together utilizing every spare inch and allowing lots of campers to have an overnight. And each campsite provided well equipped, communal kitchen where everybody gathers for the daily meals and socializing with people from all over the world.

 

A stop on the way to Kaiterteri. The location where the Hobbit river rafting scene was filmed. Caroline cannot resist a dive in the water

A stop on the way to Kaiterteri. The location where the Hobbit river rafting scene was filmed. Caroline cannot resist a dive in the water

A walk on Kaiteriteri beach

A walk on Kaiteriteri beach

NZ South Island Journey – Blenheim

Saturday February 22 2014

Posting by Barb

DSC_3913

 

On arrival to the South Island we stopped in Picton to get directions to Paul and Chrissy’s house in Blenheim (their son lives in Thunder Bay and invited Caroline and Vic to visit his parents). The couple of days we spent with them was a highlight of our trip as they wined, dined and chauffeured us through some incredible wine country!!

 

 

 

A wonderful meal of Blue Cod, Paua and Crayfish all harvested by Paul and cooked by Chrissy .

A wonderful meal of Blue Cod, Paua and Crayfish all harvested by Paul and cooked by Chrissy .

A tour in their backpacker's van through some scenic wine country

A tour in their backpacker’s van through some scenic wine country

The tour through Yealands Estate. Miles and miles of grapes!!

The tour through Yealands Estate. Miles and miles of grapes!!

Wine tasting at Yealands where we bought many, many bottles of wine

Wine tasting at Yealands where we bought many, many bottles of wine

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NZ South Island Journey – Wellington

Thursday February 20 2014

Posting by Barb

We had an early rise and made our way to Wellington where we were to meet up with the ‘Millers’ and their rented motorhome. We made a couple of food stops on the way  and the most memorable  was Pete’s famous ‘pie’. Anyone visiting NZ has to have ‘pie’!! The selection was extensive and included smoked fish, meat and cheese, mushrooms and beef, chicken and cranberry, curried chicken and on and on.

We arrived in Wellington late in the afternoon and had a joyful reunion with the ‘Millers’. Wellington, capital of NZ, is a quaint little town with most homes nestled in the hills, some only accessible by a trolley up a steep, rocky embankment. 

ADSC_3892t DSC001646:00 am DSC00170we made DSC_3897our way to the Interisland ferry and we were the first in line. It was a beautiful crossing thanks to the sunny, blue sky day.

 

 

Land travel – NZ South Island

Wednesday February 20 2014

Posting by Barb

DSC_3889From Auckland airport we headed directly South to join my sister Caroline and brother in-law Vic (the Millers) who live in Thunder Bay Canada, for a whirlwind 15 day trip on the South Island.  Our new Toyota Corolla station wagon was well packed  with camping gear, boat parts, other miscellaneous items that were on my ‘get’ list from Ontario and our summer clothes. 

We drove on Highway 3, a snaking, narrow little road, which I now realize is probably the norm in NZ. We saw sheep pastures, cow pastures, more pastures, rolling hills and incredible coastlines.

DSC_3885-1 It’s obvious that we are in farm country when there are road signs warning travelers of turning ‘milk’ trucks!! I have a new appreciation of ‘landlubber’ Dennis as he identified and described the useful purpose of every piece of farm equipment we saw on the way. If he wasn’t a seafaring sailor he could have been a farm boy!! After 4 hours of driving we stopped at a quaint little motel and enjoyed a good night sleep as I recovered from jet lag and no sleep for 24 hours or more!!

2014 Back in New Zealand

Wednesday February 20 2014

35 44.390 S 174 20.352 E

http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:35%2044.390S%20174%2020.352E

Posting by Barb

We both spent the last few months of 2013 back home for quality time and beautiful moments with friends, siblings, children and parents. Unfortunately not together as Dennis was in Minneapolis and I was in Ontario.  On January 5th Dennis headed back to NZ with no incidents. On January 15th I started my journey back to NZ after a teary good-bye . The flights were on schedule and everything was as it should be until I tried to depart from Los Angeles. Of course I had no scheduled departing flight from NZ because I planned to leave the country on a boat. I had the documentation to prove that, or so I thought.  It included a letter from the Whangarei Marina, an original boat registration document and a copy of the NZ port of entry papers. What’s missing? Well, nowhere in the documentation did it explicitly say I was crew on S/V Landfall!! Nor could I reach Captain Dennis Ommen to verify that I was crew. What are my options? Stay in L.A. until I get proof that I am crew or purchase an outbound NZ flight. So for $450.00 I have a flight from NZ to Australia for some time in March and I am on the flight to Auckland. 

We are both back together in beautiful, sunny NZ!!