Carol atop the Rock in Sumner
I can't believe my parents climbed up to the top of this rock!
Entering week 4 of my parents' trip to New Zealand!! They are getting used to traveling in hostels on the cheap, hiking wilderness trails, learning about life in our small town of Timaru and meeting lots of friendly people, NOT fighting traffic and learning to drive on the left!! Also-close encounters with seals, yellow eyed penguins, birds, alpacas, sheep and cows, New Zealand traffic jams (where sheep and cows are crossing the road en masse!).
We have had a number of trips of varying length; some are just overnights and others as long as 10 days. In between, I work a few shifts and they "recover" and check out the sights and walking trails in Timaru and surrounding towns. Our first trip was partly covered in the last blog.
During one of my work periods, Randy drove my parents up to Christchurch and dropped them off in Sumner. He was on his way to pick up his Dad at the airport so they could embark on their own 3 week whirlwind tour of the South Island. I had arranged a gift certificate for my parent's anniversary at a lovely B and B called Le Petit Hotel
in Sumner, a cute beachside suburb near Christchurch. For a change, they could have their own bathroom instead of having to go to the shared one down the hall!!(I warned them not to get too spoiled!)Happily, they had lovely weather and spent time walking the beach in Sumner, climbing the rock on the beach (are you kidding? Even I didn't climb up the rock!!), and they took the bus into Christchurch to see the downtown area for a day (it's only 20 minutes away).
I then met them in Sumner, and we drove to a peninsula just south called the Banks Peninsula, which I have talked about in previous blogs. It's one of the most beautiful places in NZ. On the "map" you can see that it resembles a lobster claw, with Akaroa Bay in the center. The outside of the peninsula is ringed with separate bays. We stayed at a brand new hostel in one of the bays, "Okains Bay." Rachel will attest to the fact that the driving here is quite scary; guardrail-free roads hug the mountain and wind crazily around valleys and hills with steep uphill and downhill climbs around each turn. However, the views
are astounding; at some points you can see the ocean and the bay at the same time, and the bay is impossibly blue against the green hills. Of course, the hills are dotted with sheep. When Rachel was here, she wondered why they didn't just fall off the slopes!
We visited Akaroa, the French themed town, but mostly spent time in "our" valley in Okains Bay, which was quite far from the town. It was lovely and quiet, with nice walks and a beautiful beach. There was an estuary that was quite muddy with a thin ribbon of water at low tide, which incredibly became almost a lake at high tide. I mustered enought courage to take a swim, and found that once the icy water had numbed my skin, it actually felt warm!! Our weather was truly summer, and we spent a Sunday at the beach and it was HOT!!!
Photo credits all go to my Dad for this blog, as my usual photographer, Randy, is off on his own adventure. Good work, Dad!!
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