Published: March 15th 2007March 11th 2007
After a marathon phone session sussing the camper van job out we found ourselves a little and VERY basic camper called a Spaceship!!! Ours is called Saber as in Light saber to keep with the space theme - although the Spanish in me has it down for the verb 'to know'! Or as I would prefer and more excitingly (and seeing as it is orange, black and white) saber tooth tiger - Jen won't have any of it though - MEANIE!!!
Anyway, back to the essence of things - the travelling bit........ after a brief scout around the local Warehouse (a really cheap and therefore, fantastic shop!) and the purchase of a fleece - we weren't that well adjusted to the cooler climes! We were ready for off! Our first outing was decided upon, mid another outing when we discovered there was a FREE outdoor concert in Christchurch which looked worthy of a look in! Thus it was deduced that we could do a round trip across the South Island, which would let us see some of the best bits of the South Island - that we probably wouldn't have seen otherwise and then return for the freebie - without
any back tracking!
And so we were off heading for Arthur's Pass! A road running East-West across the South Island, through some rather formidable and impressive looking mountains! Unfortunately as we got nearer it dawned on us that we had no food and that it looked a little deserted around and about! The next town, if you can call 3 houses, 1 pub and a corner shop a town, was the location for dinner - where fish and chips from the pub was order for the day - well, we couldn't go hungry could we! Once again we were off - this time heading for mountains swirling with low lying cloud and what looked like more torrential rain! This was not quite how we had imagined! Also, being our first night in the camper we were still sussing the job out - unsure how, where and when we could pull up! As we started ascending the cloud thickened and despairing we contemplated whether or not to just pull up and opt for the DVD! However, I didn't want to be defeated that easily and we carried on........... driving through a final wall of cloud into unbroken evening sunshine and
some pretty spectacular views! Now this was what it was all about!!! And so, we continued.............until we came across a rather ideal looking layby next to a river, with some rather impressive snow capped mountains as a backdrop - not a bad view to wake up to! Once parked up - it was onto the DVD! Well, you have to have some mod-cons don't you!
Morning dawned bright and, much to Jen's chagrin, early! This was what it was all about! The view was breathtaking and the weather fine - if a little chilly! A little too chilly to attempt the stove cooked bacon and eggs we had had in mind! Instead opting for a rather splendid full Kiwi breakfast to start the morning on! From there it was on to a series of mountain side walks - nothing too strenuous though as the weather looked a little threatening! A few hours later and we were back on the road, heading West! This route lead us through the mountain pass and back into flatter lands, dotted with Lakes, rivers and forests which punctuated the landscape and made the drive particularly enjoyable! Including a little town called Moana for lunch
and onto Reefton for dinner! The rest of the trip saw waterfalls and yet more rivers, lakes and mountains - I got the feeling that these were going to become a bit of a theme! We completed the circle going through Lewis' Pass to a place called Hamner Springs where we were supposed to be able to relax in the natural hot springs - WHAT A CON!!! These were in fact mini Jacuzzi's with the tiles and pale blue colors you expect in a swimming pool - that you had to PAY for the privilege to use! NOT ON!!! Instead we rather craftily opted for sneaking in, under the pretense of going to the cafe and instead nabbing a free shower - I hasten to add - we had gone 4 days without a shower at this point and things were looking desperate to say the least!!! Once out of the pass, we hit the east coast and its cliff walks and beaches. We whiled away a few hours around and about them and opted for a campsite - still free though - but with the luxury of a loo!! WOW - going up in the world!
at our new campsite I opted for an after dinner stroll on the beach. Walking up the black pebbles in the evening sun was pretty special by itself, but it was MADE by a rather large pod of dolphins which swam down the beach alongside me as I walked - playing, leaping and jumping in the water! FANTASTIC! Unfortunately though, all a little too quickly for my camera! After that it was back to base - for an evening of outdoor entertainment with Rhiannon and her housemates before setting off in a Southerly direction with one of the crew in tow! Emma! In a rather old, grey banger which would become a familiar sight in my rear view mirror over the next few weeks and a source of much entertainment!!!
There are more photos below