Bye Bye South Island!
04/01/2013, Masterson, NZ - North Island
We really enjoyed the south island and have many more pictures yet to post, but it is time we made our way north. We made the crossing today on the ferry - flat seas but a very crowded boat! Everyone returning to Wellington from the long holiday weekend. From the ferry we drove for awhile straight north to Masterson where we are spending the night. A small farming community 2 hours north of Wellington. We are meeting up with Ann and Bob tomorrow in Napier (hurray!!), then will play it by ear after hanging out with them for a day or two. Napier is Art Deco and wine country - should be fun!
We had a nice Easter yesterday, went to a Catholic service in the morning, found a small town festival to wander around for a bit in the afternoon, then did the evensong in the evening. Great music - just not enough though! Wishing everyone a very Happy Easter!
Slowin Down in Nelson
03/30/2013, Nelson, South Island, NZ
We arrived in Nelson on Friday. Had a beautiful drive over from Picton. We spent Thursday doing some wine tasting in the Blenheim/Marlborough region, and found some really nice Pinots (not our usual choice) and a few very good Chardonnays (my usual choice). We have enough wine to get us at least back across the channel to the North Island. And we scored a great room for one night while in Picton. After popping into the first decent looking motel near the harbor - the manager said "didn't you know it's Easter Weekend - don't you have a reservation anywhere?" I thought "rut row". So she made a couple of phone calls for me, and sent us across the street to the Beachcomber Inn. I'll be darned if the last room available wasn't on the first floor overlooking the harbor with 2 private balconies. And it didn't cost us anything ridiculously more than what we've been paying all around the island. We couldn't have done that good if we had planned it!
In Nelson today we just wandered around a bit, and went to the Saturday market for some fixins. The fruits and vegetables are so much cheaper in the local farmers markets around here - and extremely expensive in the stores. In fact, eating out in NZ is extremely expensive - so we are cooking about half of our meals in our room, which most have had some form of kitchenette. We also did a geochache this evening that took us to one of the most well preserved historic streets in NZ - and it was just around the block from us. The historic area went for about 3 blocks with cute little cottages on both sides built in the 1860's. We would have never discovered it had we not done the geocache. Each cottage had a unique name, and of course an address which was then plugged into a formula that gave us the coordinates for the next and final location of the geo cache. It took us a few blocks up the hill to the cathedral - which is absolutely beautiful. We are probably going to try and catch an evensong tomorrow evening there - the organ is massive and I am anxious to hear it. We also scoped out where the Catholic Church is and the time of the Easter service for tomorrow morning.
So we are starting to slow down some - getting a bit worn out from being on the road so much and dragging bags in and out of hotel rooms. The South Island had been full of really beautiful scenery, friendly kiwis, and we have really enjoyed it, but we are ready to get back north and see how things are progressing with Orcinius. We take the ferry back to Wellington on Monday, then we will gradually take our time getting back to Whangarei - with a few days in Auckland, and maybe a visit to some caves along the way. All for now!
Baldwin Street Summit Attempt
Thought I had at least better update our position before we get too far along. We just arrived tonight in Kaikouri in the NE, on the coast. We left this morning from Dunedin, and had a long 550Km drive today. Dunedin was terrific! Beautiful city! Would have liked to stay longer but the long Easter holiday weekend is sneaking up on us and we needed to make some decisions (and reservations) as things get booked up quickly here over the holiday weekends. So we have decided to spend Easter weekend in Nelson, and have a room booked there for 3 nights (which took a few hours of digging up tonight!). Tomorrow we will do some wine tasting on our way to Picton (for 1 night), then on to Nelson. We saw the coolest rocks today though - can't wait to post some photos! They are huge round boulders on the beach at Moeraki. It's amazing how big and perfectly round they are! John was even impressed! And they are not everywhere - just on a very small small section of beach on the east coast. I have never been so excited about rocks! We also attempted to drive up the steepest street in the world (Baldwin Street) this morning, in Dunedin. That's right - steeper than any street in San Francisco, or so they claim (and now I believe it to be true!). We tried to make it to the top in the van, but couldn't quite make it. Just a bit too steep for the old buggy! I thought we were going to do a back-flip on the way up! So we didn't get the certificate at the top, but at least we still have a functioning transmission!
South Island Picture Update - Part I
03/22/2013, Te Anau, NZ
Looks like I need a haircut something terrible! This is John and I today in Doubtful Sound!
Just finished uploading a bunch of pictures to the gallery - with captions! It has taken most of the night - so will update the blog with a better narrative in the next day or two.
We are currently in Te Anau. Left Queenstown yesterday - along the way we checked out the various ways one can spend hundreds of dollars for a mere few seconds of thrill (or terror as some may see it). So have not yet taken the leap! We did spend some hard earned cash on a day trip to Doubtful Sound today (via car, boat, bus, boat - back into bus, boat, and finally car back to our hotel - whew!). We plan on driving to Miford Sound tomorrow (the drive is suppose to be beautiful just getting there), but will probably not do a boat trip this time around. Plus the weather is expected to turn a bit rainy and windy starting tomorrow. So we got the best of it today - an absolutely gorgeous day in Doubtful sound, a "very rare day" so we were told as it was filled with loads of dolphins and blue skies. They only get 10 days a year this nice, and the amount of dolphin activity we saw today was also very rare. We done good!
03/17/2013, Wet but not so Wild in Wanaka
We have recovered from our commune experience, and are feeling pretty groovy. John even shared his glass of wine with me tonight - I guess we are each touched by our life experiences in different ways. But now back to the real world, it has been a wet and dreary day all day today. Made our way from Fox Glacier to Wanaka today, without many stops along the way - just too rainy to see much.
So I failed to post a blog or pics last night but I have a very good excuse. We ran into our friends on Evergreen, Heather and Jon, last night! What are the chances? Pretty darn slim I will say! (Must be all that groovy karma we've been channeling!) I just happened to be digging something out of our van around 6pm, and looked across the parking lot and happened to spot Heather digging stuff out of the back of their van! So we ended up hanging out in our cabin for the evening, doing dinner, drinking champagne, and swapping stories. It was great catching up with them. They have been site seeing the south island but traveling in the opposite direction, so it was great to get their perspective of what to see as we make our way further south then east.
We are spending one night in Wanaka (cute little town in the mountains and on a lake), but we need to get to Queenstown so John can catch a flight to Whangarei tomorrow afternoon to address Orcinius stuff. Should be back on Wednesday - his birthday! So I will have a few days to myself to concoct a celebration scheme for his return! We don't have wifi with the room tonight, so hopefully can try to post some pics from tomorrow night's hotel.
And regarding the bathroom comments from yesterday's commentor - let it be known that we had our own private bathroom last night, and I didn't have to pee a single time during the night, and neither did John. Funny how that works.