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Welli again
27/02/2015, Top 10

Arrived Bleinheim in the rain so Chris's plans to camp went to pot and we had a cabin. Lucky that there were any basic ones left! Had a very good fish and chips to save getting the pots and pans out. Then a leisurely start as we did not have to check in for ferry until 12.00h. Late loading so we had quite a long wait but seemed to make up time on the passage so were unloaded in Wellington by 17.00h. Really lucky with the weather and had another calm sunny crossing with 3m swell. Excellent room at Top 10 again with small kitchen, shower room and a terrace (we had booked because expecting rain) and although a bit windy weather almost dry. Had a Bar-b-Q on arrival but had arranged to meet Jill (from Cotton Blossom) the second evening we had a look at nearby 'restaurants' with enticing menu choices like chicken, ham or veggie burgers, surrounded by slot machines or rather dingy curry houses so decided on eating 'in'. Roasted some beef in the communal kitchen, unfortunately we had to abandon plans to eat on the terrace as rain and wind stopped play. It was a bit more cramped inside but still tasted good.

Golden Bay
23/02/2015, Pohara Beach

Shopped at Nelson and had a look around the Marina but anxious to get on so did not linger. It is in a beautiful situation but not particularly attractive, although there are nice approaches. It is one of the oldest settlements in New Zealand so we were disappointed not to find many old buildings. The marina was huge but with vast shallow areas may not have been very good for us in L'Esprit de la Mer.We did not stop at Motueka, it had a Blackpool in the sun atmosphere and after our experience at Kaikoura we wanted somewhere a little quieter. Golden Bay lived up to expectations and curves gently round from the Abel Tasman Park to Farewell Spit. It is approached by a steep winding road over Takaka Hill. Beautiful views but few places to stop and appreciate them.
Have had a fantastic few days 'holiday' here. Weather has been hot and sunny so have spent time at the beach as well as a day trip to Farewell Spit.
The beach at the campsite was a beautiful expanse of sand, ideal for kids as the water is very warm and shallow until high tide, not much good for adults as was too shallow to swim (even for short arses like me). Tata beach just around the corner was perfect though, a lovely crescent of course sand (like Treen with many tiny shells) although the sea did have a bit of a chill.
There were a couple of places where you could paddle and feed the tame eels but I was not tempted.

Lazy Day
17/02/2015, Pohara

Yesterday we travelled from Blenheim, much of the tip on steep mountainous roads with loads of hairpin bends. Fantastic views but nowhere to stop and admire them.Today we spent a lazy day on the beach, the tide was out a long way so had a food walk to the far end and collected some shells. Giant mussel type about 9'' long with pretty multi coloured pearly sheen. Tonight is roast chicken so Chris has gone to look at the next beach to see if it will be any good for swimming (the water is too shallow here) Hot sunny day with warm sea.

Kaikoura to Bleinham
15/02/2015, Bleinhem

A long and fairly boring journey over flat coastal plain. We should have been able to see the snow capped moutains to the west but visibility was poor. We had intended staying in KAIKOURA a couple of days but the campsite was awful and we were glad to escape. Very overcrowded and not enough facilities for the tents that were packed closely side by side (like a canvas city). You had to queue for showers. toilets. to cook and then wait for a table to eat at. The one redeeming feature was the excellent fish and chips that we bought in the very resort village, but when we got it back to camp had to eat it outside in cold and wind. Luckily the roof over the Bar-B-Q kept the rain off.

Goodbye Duneden
11/02/2015, Oamaru

Duneden is known as the garden city but we did not get to see much of then.
I lost Chris in the Museum on Tuesday and had to get them to tannoy him, you may wonder why I did not leave him there but we needed to get to the station for our 'Great Little Train Journey' and he had the tickets. We had intended going to the Chinese Garden but there was not enough time so have decided to stay another day in Duneden to go bck to the Museum and visit the Garden with possibly a trip to Otago Peninsula.
The train Journey is a spectacular trip up the Taieri Gorge, usually taking about 4 hours (4 ½ for us). The Taieri is the fourth longest river in New Zealand and the train passes along the gorge with white water rapids, pools, rugged cliffs, long tunnels and viaducts. The highest Wingatui Viaduct is 50m high and very rattly!
There was a good commentary about the construction and history of the railway and also the surrounding countyside.
We returned to Museum yesterday and then I went to the Chinese Garden It was very peaceful and I would have enjoyed it more if I could have lingered over a Chinese tea but Chris was waiting at the car. In the afternoon did a quick zizz around the Otago Peninsula. It stretches along the southern edge of Otago Harbour was very scenic but again very poor visibility and quit cool so we did not get our swim. The round trip was 64 kms. We did not see any penguins they are still proving to be most elusive but plenty of other birds including spoonbills and seals sunbathing on the rocks.
The Moeraki Boulders were interesting but it was dificult to get o photo as there were so many other people there
Oamaru is a pleasant old town with many old buildings and two colonies of penguins! both yellow and blue. We did not see either.

Gales and more rain
04/02/2015, Invercargill

Have been here (Invercargill) 2 days now. Nice town shame about the rain, it has bucketed down since we arrived although at least the gales have abated. Just glad we are in a nice warm cabin with heating and electric blankets!

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