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Roaring Girl
The adventures of the yacht Roaring Girl wandering the seas.
Castles in the air

From the lookout you clamber down to the stream bed. (Obviously you can do the walk the other way but I did the easier climb.) It's then maybe 300 or 500 metres up to the base of the pinnacles, offering an even more astonishing image.
That stretch was the hardest slog of the whole walk, as there's no shade in the stream bed during the day, and the shale slips away from your boots, needing constant attention and strong muscles.

Places and people
More astonishing geology

These pinnacles are formed from the soft gravels of the area. They are 12-14 million years old, and over the millennia, the river Putangirua has eroded deep gullies ('badlands) down which the rain pours, washing away the gravel. Large boulders shed the water, and protect the gravel immediately below them, creating these pinnacles. When they lose the capping rock (as many have), they erode quickly.
I climbed up the 'bush track', about a n hour of fairly steep going, climbing maybe 100m. At the top a look out has been built off the cliff, providing this splendid view.

Places and people

The Maori name for New Zealand means Land of the Long White Cloud, and here is the suspended precipitation strutting its stuff. Some argue that the country should formally change its name (back) to Aotearoa; others oppose that idea. It would put NZ ahead of Australia in all the Olympic/World Cup parades!
This is taken from a look out in the bush walking into the Aorangi hills from the site. The headland under the clouds is Turakirae Head, the toe of the Rimutaka Range. On the far side lies Wellington.

Places and people
High cliffs in the south of the north
12/02/2008, Putangirua Pinnacles

The southernmost DOC site on the North Island is at Putangirua Reserve. Here is Puff under the cliffs that tower above the river in the campsite, just off the road.
There was a strong breeze blowing from the south, so we actually spent the night tucked away behind some bushes, and even so we shook occasionally in the wind.
There were only two other vans in the site, and in fact they were the only two I'd seen after turning off the main road at Featherston.

Places and people
Glowering skies over the lake
12/02/2008, Lake Wiararapa

For a few days we decided to have separate adventures. Pip is spending a few days with her mother, so Beryl gets her to herself for once. In the meantime Sarah is exploring the area known as the Wairarapa, after the large lake at its centre. Pip knows the area well; it's Wellington's playground, known as 'over the hill' all of her life.
Tuesday afternoon was pretty gloomy, with racing clouds and quite a breeze kicking up across the water as I stood on the western shore.

Places and people
11/02/2008, Cook Strait

These cattle and sheep were travelling with us, fairly undisturbed (but we had a very quiet passage.
With a van, Bluebridge is significantly cheaper than the competition.

Places and people
Off to North Island
Lots of rain
11/02/2008, Picton & Queen Charlotte Sound

We tore ourselves away from Mel and Michelle's fabulous hospitality on Saturday. That night we stopped at Pelorus Bridge, an old favourite of Pip's. It is the site of a bridge across the Pelorus, historically a major obstacle on the road between Nelson and Picton. Now there is little there except a café, and extensive DOC camping availability, surrounded by walks of all grades into the bush.
Pelorus was the sailing vessel that explored these parts, and thus this useful pre-chronometer instrument is honoured. Funnily enough, in the Tasman the French ship Astrolabe lent her name to several geographical features. Rather prettier than calling the headland off which you've marked a waypoint GPS Cape.
On Saturday we did several of the shorter walks, which were great. We planned to do the longer walk (and remember the camera) on Sunday morning, but woke up to torrential rain. Standing-under-the-hosepipe rain, so we abandoned that plan.
Instead we drove on to Picton and met up with Milly, the other owner of the van. Her pals Helen and Mary kindly invited us to join their Sunday night BBQ, which was great fun.
The pic is the Queen Charlotte Sound as we steamed north. We consoled ourselves with the thought that we will be coming back in a few weeks, not least to return Puff to Milly.

Places and people
Sushi on the beach
07/02/2008, Tahunanui

In the evening Peter Bethune, the man behind Earthrace, was speaking just down the road. We stopped en route for sushi on the beach in the wonderful sunshine.
Peter himself was interesting, with lots of headbanger stories about his world record attempts in his spectacular power boat. We (Pip and Sarah) are a bit sceptical, because the habitat loss, deforestation and loss of valuable agricultural land to the biofuel demand is itself unsustainable and ecologically damaging. The answer must rely on less damaging sources of energy and reducing reliance on oil type fuels.

Places and people
Short walk in the New Zealand Bush
07/02/2008, Tinline Beach

We motored up to Marahau, on the edge of the wonderful Abel Tasman National Park, and did the first short section of the walk to Tinline Beach. It was amazingly busy, but has inspired Sarah to seriously consider a long tramp as part of this trip.

Places and people
More home comforts
07/02/2008, Mahana

Outside Nelson, Pip's old friend Melissa lives with her partner Michelle. They have a beautiful spot, overlooking the Bay. Bailey, their chocolate Labrador, is a very happy dog.
Mel and Michelle do a lot of travelling too. Check out their site at

Places and people
Waitangi Day
06/02/2008, Nelson

Beryl, Pip's mum, rang to say she and her friend Betty had got a good deal to Nelson for a few days. We took the spectacular drive over the Lewis Pass, needing about seven and a half hours to get there. Beryl and Betty were staying on the eighth floor of the smart Rutherford Hotel and kindly treated us to a Waitangi Day dinner in the Café Affair.
They introduced us to stonegrilled food, the latest thing! Your food is served raw on a super-hot square of granite. It might be steak, lamb, chicken or seafood, and you can cook it to your fancy. Yum.

Places and people
Retail moments
03/02/2008, Riccarton, Christchurch

Riccarton market was a blast too. Some excellent salami, ice-cream and Pip's fantastic new hat. (This picture was actually taken several days and hundreds of kilometres away, but that's life.)

Places and people

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Who: Pip Harris and Sarah Tanburn
Port: Ipswich
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