Published: May 10th 2010May 7th 2010
My prayers have been answered - a much milder night, even though we were parked right on the headland looking over two beautiful bays. I discovered that John had been taking no chances as he’d used the spare blanket as well ... no wonder he keeps telling me it’s not cold! It was a slightly grey start to the day, with just a touch of rain in the air - this prompted a discussion on our reputation for always getting dreadful weather when we go on holiday. Wherever we go, we normally get rain - the most notable lately was going to Italy in June and getting 12 days out of 14 with rain - to the point that our rented villa flooded ... and we were half way up a mountain! (yes, honest!) (After we left they had 5 months drought!). We worked out today that we’ve had less rain in the 4 months that we’ve been away than we would normally expect on one of our typical fortnight’s holiday ... fingers crossed for the next 2 weeks!!
No sightings of penguins, but we did see what we thought were seals - but yesterday we’d been told that two
juvenile sealions had been playing in the area, and these two were indeed mucking around, so maybe they were sealions ... we like to think so!
And we kept to the Southern Scenic Route - we took in the Niagara Falls ... no, really! They were actually some rapids that must look very similar to Niagara Falls, except the rivers are too full at the moment which probably spoilt the look! The rolling hills stated to handover to Peak District mountains and we stopped to look at the Purakaunui Falls, as well as taking in the fantastic coastal views.
We drove through Owaka, like many others, a town that is being left behind, and it was really sad to see the number of shops that had closed down. It’s fairly typical of some of the smaller towns that we’ve passed through that have either been off the tourist trail or haven’t anything to offer [unless Teapotland tickles your fancy!] The shops that were remaining were offering all sorts of things - I saw one that was selling fishing tackle, dvds and garden trellis. It is a shame that these towns can’t get a share of the tourist buck
as it is so sad to see them dying slowly as people migrate elsewhere, but maybe that’s just the way it’s always been - look at all those bustling gold towns that we’ve visited that are now one-horse towns (without a horse!).
A brief stop to log on as we’ve discovered some towns have free WiFi within the town (and their libraries don’t!), and then we were off on our way towards Dunedin. We chose to drive down the Tieri Gorge towards the coast ... a wise choice as it was spectacular!
The end of the day saw the sun shining and us pulling up to freedom camp by the side of the beach.
[Radio New Zealand has been fascinated with the UK election so we’ve been following events as they unfold throughout the day. One photo from today seemed to sum up the whole thing!
There’s a certain economic smugness on this side of the world. If you believe the politicians, Australia never went into recession and New Zealand’s economy is growing fast. There was a massive increase in jobs last quarter despite the fact that many companies stayed loyal to staff during the recession
and did not use the opportunity to downsize. Clearly, they’re now reaping even bigger benefits with the main pressure on jobs coming from Australia where firms also appear to be recruiting heavily. That’s provoking talk of significant wage increases in the months ahead - I’m guessing the new UK Government, whatever its complexion, would welcome such pressures!]
There are more photos below