Setting Sail

Since Donna wrote the last blog we returned to the lovely Heathers and drove into the same paddock we left two days earlier and bugger my days the ground had gone soft on us and for the second time on this trip we got stuck. Heather’s neighbor was a scholar and a gentleman and come to our aid and towed us out.

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We stayed two nights in Christchurch and the time flew in the quiet of the farm. We departed Christchurch on Thursday the 6th starting our journey back to the North Island. We stayed over just south of the coastal Kaikoura road at an NZMCA park at Parnassus. The park was converted from and old school and was well used by travelers either as a rest prior to heading north through Kaikoura or resting after the trip down from Blenheim.

We departed the park early on the Friday to beat the build-up of queues through the road works. We had a very good run an only got held up for any period of time on one occasion. One just hopes that the work completed will not be in vain as it is hard to see how the cliffs can be stopped from crumbling down over the road in the future.

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Arrived at Blenheim at around mid-day and stayed in Riverlands Road House Truck Stop.  On power and reviewed our go to for Saturday. Had lunch at the Café and Donna realized why it was a truck stop after ordering the big breakfast. Even my mince on toast with eggs was a mission.

Saturday we looked around Blenheim and ended up having lunch at the Brancott Estate Vineyard. What a neat place the view over the vineyards with the North Island in the back ground was just awe inspiring. The meal and the wines were superb and Donna found her companion just adorable.

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Off today to Picton and the ferry. We are a bit stunned as to the finality that catching the ferry brings to the journey. We have enjoyed the people and the scenery in the South Island and know we will be back to carry on the wonderful journey down the West Coast etc.

We would like to say our thanks especially to the people below as we feel that they made the journey just that tiny bit more memorable.

  • Heather, Eric and Family
  • The staff at Glenorchy Hotel – Foreigners the lot of them
  • Warren and Toni – We will be back for the oysters
  • Steve Janine and Mulligan – Look forward to watching another test match
  • Jim and Sue – 35+ year reunion
  • Allana and Abe – A delight

Retracing our ‘footsteps’

It’s been a wee while since we last blogged so lots to catch you up on…………………….

We left Ohau B and headed for Tekapo to spend a few days R & R; just walking the dogs, reading, watching movies etc. Walked into Tekapo for breakfast at a cafe with Mac-Rose in-tow and enjoyed the views. The day we left we headed up to Mt John Observatory to view the scenery and boy was it worth the $8.00 to use the private road. The only down-side was the narrowness and twisting turns of the road. We were blown away by the panoramic views showing the starkness of the McKenzie Basin with the majestic Alps as a backdrop.

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The NZMCA park is nestled in the trees on the lake front

Our return trip down the mountain was nail-biting as campervans raced up towards us only slowing down as they almost grazed our mirrors………bloody tourists lol. It was nerve-wracking but we managed to reach safety without mishap!!

On we travelled to Fairlie where our destination for the night was the Musterer’s High Country Camp where we were greeted by Eunice who showed us our berth for the night and I was able to do some laundry. This camp is lovely; it has individual units each with their own hot-tubs and has beautifully maintained lawns/gardens. There is also a menagerie of donkeys/ llamas/sheep and a lone goat. Mac-Rose were able to meet the animals but Mac was a little wary of them.

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We moved on via Timaru and headed for a freedom camping spot called Patiti Point. The location was hard to find but well worth the effort with magnificent sea views and a walking path for the dogs for the morning. We liked Timaru; a lovely town and the freedom camping was well set-up although we did have a ‘slider’ next door……………….

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Onwards and we headed for another POP called Peski which was a small camp area with power. It has a small number of permanent campers and is registered for NZMCA members with a small charge for a powered site. We were visited by the owner’s old dog Tui who welcomed Mac-Rose and spent some time with us.

The following morning we headed towards Oxford intending to use another POP location; an old historic pub. We emailed the owner but did not receive a response until we arrived to find the pub closed. There was no indication why it was closed so we moved on. We found another POP close by and headed towards it; again having unsuccessfully attempted contact. We received an email from the Pub owner who advised we would be very welcome and apologising for not responding sooner but the Pub doesn’t open until 4 pm…….weird huh? The POP on the NZMCA App showed dogs were welcomed so we thought we would head there anyway. We arrived to find a huge sign on the drive stating NO DOGS; disappointed by the discrepancy we again moved on and changed our focus to the NZMCA park at Weedon – on the outskirts of Christchurch; this was inadvertently one of the longest drives we have undertaken in one day.

We had a lovely lunch the next day at the Riccarton racecourse after a visit to the leash-free dog park where Mac-Rose had a proper bath and then went to a carwash for Dogonit to have a bath too.  We left Weedon the following day and headed to Rangiora for a laundry and grocery stop and then headed for sanctuary at Heather’s place outside Kaiapoi where we started the South Island journey together. Heather made us really welcome by allowing us to use one of her empty paddocks so that Mac-Rose could run around much to their heart’s content!!

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Heather has a lifestyle block and is in the middle of lambing so I had the pleasure of helping her feed three orphaned lambs – I haven’t done this since Rod’s mum and dad had their farm in Otewa back in the 80’s……..bliss!!

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While we were there news came in that there was to be a snow-dump south of the Waimakarere River so my lovely husband offered to drive me back to Tekapo so I could engage my alter-ego – The Snow Queen.

We left Heather’s round 9 a.m. and drove the 3+ hours back to Tekapo after checking the Met Service for changes; they confirmed snow so we were feeling excited. We waited; and waited; and waited but the weather showed no signs of turning to ice, snow etc. Rod checked the Met Service and it appeared Tekapo might miss out…………….lips pouted and the Snow Queen internally wept!!

We went to bed to the sound of rain after discussing what we would do in the morning………….. imagine my excitement when; in the middle of the night Rod wakes me and said “look out the window”. He turned the outside light on and there they were……….tiny drops of icicles falling from the sky. This increased over time and by morning we had snow on the ground – not a huge amount granted; but snow on the ground……..enough for me to do my snow angel impression.

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Mac-Rose looked outside as the door was opened and spent some time almost in wonder. They then headed outside and were rollicking in the snow almost immediately. They ran, skipped over the snow and then started digging………doggy heaven!! I threw a couple of snowballs at them as they played and even threw one at Rod; missed lol……………loving it!!!

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