Month: August 2019

Saturday 31st August

Southward bound,still following the coast. Destination tonight Tamara. Tamara was a whaling station from 1838, but fortunately New Zealand ceased whaling in 1964. It is now a pretty tourist town. We walked around and found a well kept town park with public art and fountains. A good place to stretch our legs. We walked along the boardwalk to the beach where blue penguins are often spotted. We weren’t lucky this time.

Friday 30th August

Still heading south on the South Island taking in the stunning beauty of the place. Rows of grapevines, stunning mountains and sheep lots and lots of sheep.

New Zealand merino wool and possum fur is a big thing over here, one lady in a wool shop explained that possum is a introduced species with no natural predators and have threatened native bird life to the point of extinction. The New Zealand government has declared possums a serious threat to the country’s biodiversity and has begun measures to eradicate them. Possum fur is a by- product of the cull. Possum fur is warm it doesn’t freeze the only other fur that has this attribute is polar bear. So mixed with merino it makes excellent clothing.

Today’s stop is a seaside town called Kaikoura. It’s great for observing marine life. Sperm whales can be seen resting on the surface between dives. Dolphins are also regularly spotted. Seals relax on the shoreline.

We had lunch in a car park next to the shore before setting off for a walk to go marine spotting.

On our walk we were lucky enough to spot seals and dolphins, Mike also thinks that we were watching whales further out but we aren’t sure it was glimpses of fins in the distance. This is the life.our evening was spent sat on the beach watching the sun disappear behind the mountains.

Followed by star gazing, so many stars a clear night we even got treated to shooting stars and a exploding meteor.

Thursday 29th August

Alarm rudely awakened us from our slumber. Surprisingly enough we sleep well in public car parks. By now we probably qualify as tramps tonight we need a campsite site with showers!

The ferry is at 8am and we need to check in at 7am. The bed can be packed away in less than 10 minutes on the road by 6:30 am and around to the port. We have breakfast at the port in the que.

The ferry was delayed and they couldn’t tell us a time as it hadn’t arrived we just had to sit tight and be patient. Finally we boarded at 11 am.

We finally arrived at picton a small fishing port at 3pm. The journey was stunning following the cook straight.

We head to spring creek only 10 miles away from port and checked into a campsite on the river. Nice campsite with good facilities.

Once checked in we head to the nearest town Blenheim for a look around. We are surrounded by vineyards and there is wine shops everywhere they even have a annual wine festival.

Back to camp and I managed to cook up a mushroom curry in the camp kitchen and spent the evening relaxing in the T V room. Feels like I’m on holiday.

Wednesday 28th August

Lucy served us well last night, it was a rather windy night and you could feel her being pushed around but she stood her ground. New Zealand is in the path of the roaring forties, winds that circle the lower part of the globe.

Again today was mainly sat in juicy Lucy heading south to Wellington. Stunning views treated us as we traveled down.

We have named our camper juicy Lucy as the hire firm is called juicy and they have a pinup girl logo. Maybe the founder was Lucy.

Our highway took us through small towns, Turangi a small fishing town it had trout logos on pretty much every sign. It’s situated on the banks of the southeastern end of Lake taupo and has world famous trout fishing. The best time to fish is from May to October.

Once we got passed lake Taupo we started to climb. The mountains that looked so far away are now next to us, stunning snow peaks on both sides.

We pass through the Rangipo desert on the east side of the volcanoes a desolate gravel landscape used for military training and we were treated by planes practicing acrobatic flying above.

Finally we arrived at Wellington New Zealand’s capital city and where we are to catch the ferry to the South Island. Our ferry is booked for 8am tomorrow so time to explore. We park up for the night in a car park close to the ferry terminal and go for a walk.

The Harbour front has houses built into the hills with very steep steps leading up to them, beautiful views across oriental bay. They were built by early settlers as their was a lack of flat land. I’m not sure I could cope with the steps every day.

Tuesday 27th August

Our 1st night spent in juicy Lucy in a car park. Actually it wasn’t that bad, Lucy is comfortable to sleep in and there wasn’t any noise about to keep us awake. In fact the wild life was very quiet compared to Australia even the dawn chorus was a bit lack lustre, we’re so used to thinking that we are trapped in a film set of Jurassic park in the middle of the night.

We move on early just as the sun was starting to rise, our 1st sunrise here and if the second hand lonely planet book from a Australian charity shop is right, then I’m one of the first in the world to be watching it today. Breakfast in a petrol station of cheese toasties. And Lucy got a full tank of diesel.

Heading again south, we want to spend some time on the South Island before continuing our cycle tour back in oz.

Following highway 1 down, the landscape is getting mountainous very pretty. First things first boring old shopping. The big supermarket here is called countdown over $200 later we have full supplies. We are ready for this next part of our adventure.lunch stop by a Lake looking at snow topped mountains in the distance. Yes it’s a little bit chilly but lovely. Fresh fruit and yogurt served us well, love having a fridge.

Then we carried on through a small town called Tirau where everything seems to be made out of corrugated still, very clever.

We our now in a thermal, volcanic region and we can see steam coming from chimneys out of the ground all around.

Tonight we’re staying in Taupo right on the lake of the same name. It has a active geyser that erupts every 15 minutes.

After our first cooked meal in Lucy of bangers and mash, we had a beach walk.

The beach was made of pumice stones frown up with volcanic activity. I’ve picked one up and will try it out later.

Monday 26th August

We made it to New Zealand! The flight was delayed by a hour but it was a trouble free flight no turbulence and only 3 hours long.

New Zealand is 3 hours ahead of Australia so by the time we got here and changed time zones it was 4:pm it gets dark at 5:45pm so we picked up juicy Lucy our new home for the next few weeks and headed off to find somewhere to park up for the night.easier said than done. We headed south following the highway 1 and pulled into 3 campsites along the way, all of them closed or just car parks with no bathroom facilities. We gave up looking as it was dark and mike was getting tired after our early start and flight.

So I went into a small corner shop and bought baby wipes. We found a quiet car park opposite a police station and stayed there the night. Tomorrow we will have to sort ourselves out properly but this will do for the night.

New Zealand the land of the long white cloud. On the international dateline,opposite the Greenwich meridian of zero degree it claims to be the first country to see the sun rise.

And from what we could see before it got dark on us it’s a very green lush land. We are looking forward to exploring over the next few weeks.

Sunday 26th August

Today we enjoyed our last day in oz for a month. We spent the day wondering around Sydney. When we return we can get back into cycle touring. I’ve missed being on the bike, but so close to New Zealand we can’t not visit. Who knows if we’re ever going to be this side of the world ever again.

Sydney is a lovely city full of old buildings and public art. We did the normal touristy things and yet again the weather was excellent, just right for tramping around a city for hours.

We spent the night in a airport hotel and our flight is 9:40 in the morning.

Friday 23rd August

Not much to say about today. We’re going south so another 200 miles drive down the coast and we are in a campsite just passed Coffs Harbour.

We managed a quick pie stop on Route let’s hope New Zealand likes pie I think mike is addicted.

Another campsite we have stunning views over the ocean and yet again the facilities are great.

We cooked up a basic meal of beans, mushrooms,sweetcorn and cheese in a spicy sauce making full use of the indoor kitchen and finished off the day with a walk along the beach.

Thursday 22nd August

We started the day with a breakfast snack at the local bakery. And wondered around Australias Stonehenge. The stones were donated to the town of Glen Innes from other Celtic countries In recognition of all the celts that have moved here.were heading east along the Gwydir highway and there’s nothing along the way. It’s a relatively new road cutting across the mountain. Opened in 1960 so it only has look out rest areas and the odd road side loo that’s not particularly inviting.

However it cuts through national parks and forests offering up fantastic views.

Our destination tonight is the city of Grafton in a well equipped campsite back in the tent tonight lets hope we don’t get to cold.