Temuka to Kaiapoi

Arr Temuka mid afternoon to set up camp in record time of 33 min a new record! In a rush to beat the rain as really drizzly already. At campsite felt really lucky as quite obvious some people have so little ๐Ÿ˜ฏ
This is the real NZ- real kiwi families living on kiwi incomes. That probably makes me sound like a snob but such a wake-up call for me. We are so lucky to have everything we need and so much choice and freedom.
A world away from our lifestyle in WLG.

In Temuka, Mr W excited to hear freight trains in middle of night and listen for them crossing the bridge over the river. A fond childhod memory of Mr W and his Bro…watching the kiwi rail trains and the Southerner passenger train thunder through at full pelt over the bridge in the early 1980’s.

A quick pack up next morning before the black clouds descended,ย  dishes done , lunch made and pop in to Auntie J’s for a lovely visit with Auntie J Auntie N and Uncle G. Some family snaps and delicious home made savouries before hitting the road again. Mr W reflecting on childhood memories of driving in the truck with Uncle E.

Mystery photo of mystery family member dated circa late 1800s at a farm in Masterton which is close to us up in WLG! More research needed….fascinating !
North towards Christchurch in the rain now- has been drizzling since yesterdayย  but not before a last minute stop to stock up on local berries and apricots (again!) Cant get enough of these gigantic raspberries ๐Ÿ˜† so delicious!

Sadly no time to visit Barkers of Geraldine (jam factory ) or Pleasant Point steam train as pressed for time and weather closing in. Have wet gear to some how wash and dry before tonight!
Tonight – wood end beach holiday park at Kaiapoi north of ChCh.

Moeraki to Temuka

Yes – very behind on the blogging! Having so much fun travelling across central otago – Wanaka, Cromwell, Clyde, Alex, Arrowtownm so much history. And family history!

We have arrived in Timaru for lunch (The Oxford -brilliant, great tunes great service incredible food ) after driving up from incredibly popular Moeraki. no Fleurs was not open but i dont mind coz ย know we’ll be back ๐Ÿ˜Š. I like Moeraki. I have decided to buy a Bach there one day! it’s a very cute little tiny fishing bay with a very calm ocean. Had a swim in the bay at 6pm last night, so much fun. Mr W went for a walk after we pitched tent and took a few snaps.

Moeraki also has some very familiar street names ๐Ÿ˜Š but I have now pasted them in the wrong spot so u will need to scroll up!

To cap it all off we found a banana passionfruit tree or two on our walk around the bay this morning. A childhood favourite whichgrew in Mr W’s garden in AKL.

Tonight we camp in Temuka as we continue north.

 

Snowy peaks

20151225_081643.jpg

Merry merry Christmas everyone! the clouds have lifted and here’s the view from SH6 in Franz Josef this morning. Everyone’s left to celebrate Christmas elsewhere and all you can here are the sounds of the rainforest. I have a short vid clip to share but its the wrong format to post here sorry. Will try to correct soon. It’s truly beautiful. We must have picked a bad time to arrive here earlier this week when it was party town!

Mr W has picked his spot on the mountain where he’s building his art studio. Pops – could you come and lend a hand when you’ve finished Elma’s?,!!

Luxurious Christmas brekky at hotel this morning ahead of rough and rugged stay in Haas tonight.

See you tomorrow PM Nanna and Grandad!!!!! ๐ŸŽ…๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿ’ƒ

 

Christmas snow

20151224_185642.jpg

Merry Christmas everyone! Fantastic day out exploring Franz Josef and Fox glaciers. The first one literally stopped us in our tracks WOW and it just got better from there! Rainforests. ..and looking for poanamu..

Luckily Santa remembered Master E was here in Franz Josef and came down to visit at the hotel. ๐ŸŽ…๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…

Tomorrow. …Haast Beach.

Tired . Lights out. Hope Santa is good to you all ๐Ÿ˜Š

P.S. I don’t get it. Rainforest plus icy glaciers. In the same place. Huh??

PPS. Master E still up playing Lego while Mr W and I have gone to bed. Zzzzz

Such a sad shame

As with other international tourist traps I find it such a sad sad shame that Franz Josef has succumbed to the complacency, arrogance and general acceptance of an international group of people behaving REALLY badly. High prices, rudeness and total disregard for other people. even bus drivers – shouting and swearing across the carpark at 6:30am. Such a beautiful place, such a terrible shame that it is such an unjoyable ripoff to stay here.

I’m just bitter as I’ve had about 5 hrs of broken sleep in a very expensive hotel room which has felt like a cheap YHA dorm given all the noise on either side of us. Chicken noises, loud chicken noises from the room nxt door at 12:15am.

Best get up and do the glacier before that gets taken over by swearing hungover backpackers too.

Franz Josef. Haaaruumpf. have Had oustanding service in beautiful settings with other quiet peaceful tourists in smaller towns. I think this is a town to visit for the glacier but then move on. quickly. And BYO sandwiches unless your happy parting with a sizeable chunk of yiur budget for average pub food.

Thank God for the beautiful scenery. Rant over.

 

Jade country

I am starting to think that a selfie stick would be a good idea about now before the content from this blog ends up on Awkward Family Photos.com ๐Ÿ˜Š

Today we had a wander around the many NZ jade (green stone or ponamu) and paua jewellery shops of Hokitika before we left town. we are in the heart of green stone country and I learnt you actually have to have a license to go fossicking around the many riverbeds here to collect greenstone.

I was so distracted by the bling that I almost forgot my main purpose for visiting Hokitika -Tranny Granny Jacquie who runs the sock machine museum. Luckily I was reminded when I ย accidentally walked past her shop and made time to pop in and have a nose around. Jacqui wasn’t in but the lovely ย lady who was there told us all about the sock knitting machines that Jacqui ships all over the world. I could see how knitting socks could get quite addictive if you choose from all the way cool colours of beautiful NZ merino and of course in the winter down here you would need them. For just $380 I would seriously consider setting up my own cottage industry online store!! Especially selling overseas at $40NZD a pair! Check outย http://www.autoknitter.com for more info.

http://zagria.blogspot.co.nz/2010/01/jacquie-grant-1943-merchant-sailor.html?m=1

 

so we left pretty Hokitika behind ( after a quick taste of whitebait fritters – famous here) and carried on to The turquoise waters of Hokitika Gorge. Magic. Had to keep pinching myself! Not a car to be seen as we drove inland for half an hour through wide open dairy country dotted with old farm houses.

It was magic. and i believe it may inspire a painting or two by the talented Mr W in future. A quick walk through the rainforest to the swing bridge that crosses the still turquoise water. Uh-mazing.

On and on we drove thru more dairy country, skirting the bottom of the mountains, getting closer to the rainforests of Franz Josef. But not before we had a comfort stop at historic Ross. Yep this one’s for you Mr Shardlow ๐Ÿ˜Š xx

 

Then on to Franz Josef and what a total tourist trap it is here! Plenty of OS backpackers and tourists. Our room we’d booked was being aired out after having the carpets cleaned due to last night’s guest’s activities. Carpet still wet. No other rooms available so it was on to The nxt accom option for us! Mental note:write scathing review on trip advisor about THAT place! No discount ย offered for wet carpets and no alternative suggested. Hmmmm. Found another room elsewhere after several last minute phone calls.

Check in, unload then off for a soak in the glacier hot pools nestled in the rainforest. A great way to unwind after a long drive. Enjoyed by all. Too late for dinner so instant noodles in the Trangi on the balcony it is. Sipping Malborough champagne while watching the colours change over the snow capped peaks.

Tomorrow. ..the glaciers…

Lights out.

If I get any sleep. This place likes to party. Hmmm feeling a bit old!

 

Magical West Coast

20151222_214201

Just another bog standard beach selfie. Except it’s 9.40pm and that’s the moon not the sun. We’re on the west coast at a cute lil place called Hokitika. Or Hokitiki as Master E likes to call it. Mr W has popped out for a walk to check out the glow worm grotto after a pretty long day doing the Great Coast Drive from Westport, thru Greymouth to here. Spectacular doesn’t even come close! It’s magical and beautiful and if you are contemplating a visit to the South this is a must do.20151222_143349

Master E’s favourite stops today included the stinky seal colony at Cape Foulwind:

20151222_123736

 

20151222_124228.jpg

And the famous pancake rocks at Punakieki. I think I have spelt that wrong but its late and I’m tired so don’t quite care. The setup at Pancake Rocks is very well done and could easily spend a couple of hours there. Good cafe altho a bit over priced. There’s also a good i-site that sells souvenirs; post cards and stamps. We picked up a heap of useful info about our next leg towards Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers tomorrow.

20151222_152123

Last night’s stay at Westport holiday park was good – cabins a bit musty and small and overpriced but beds very comfortable and I had the best sleep in days. awesome to wake up to wet and misty and no wind, surrounded by lush green forests and mountains. Big contrast to our less-than-memorable stay in incredibly hot and windy Nelson. Interesting chat with locals in Westport revealed a lot of job losses recently at the local Stockton coal mine which has had a huge impact on local economy. A great place to stop though. Best fish n chips on the planet at Black shark on the main drag.brand new rec centre with huge pool – all 3 of us went for a dip at 6:30am. Heaps of shops รฏcafes and large I Site with coal museum.

20151222_112233.jpg

Doesn’t look like much does it? Good place for a base in this area.If we’d stayed longer, would have visited Karamea and the limestone arches etc.

Tomorrow. …Hokitika to Franz Josef….

Haven’t had a chance to tell you about the 230k drive between Nelson and Westport but that will have to wait until another post. Lights out.