Published: April 1st 2012March 15th 2012
After the stunning jaunt around Northland, it was time to think about how we were going to be able to stay in this beautiful country and hopefully reside here full time. After a consultation with an immigration advisor in Auckland, we headed to Hamilton to do some serious job hunting and enjoy Waikato as we had not been there before.
Hamilton is a lovely city and we felt very much at home there as we were only a 15min walk from the centre and had all the free internet and resources we needed at the library. It was a great platform for us to put some job apps together and learn more about New Zealand and its history. We also found a great watering hole called The Quadrant which became our haunt for a cheap lunch and catching up on the rugby (more of that in the next issue, readers!). Only a few kms away is the lovely town of Cambridge not as big as at home and no university but very quaint and English-like. This was our break from 'work' as it was Saturday and we made plans to go to Raglan which is a beautiful coastal town the
The beach there is volcanic and Raglan is very picturesque with the best fish n chips of the trip so far in Nannie's. Anna had a fantastic swim in the estuary just where it joins the sea amidst the planned 'bombing' of the young men from the bridge which spans it. It was a gorgeously hot day with sumptuous vistas to keep us in awe for most of the day. Along with a visit to Waikato Museum back in town, we felt we had seen many aspects of what life could be like in Hamilton and it opened our eyes to new alternatives.
On my mum's birthday (9th
March) we then headed on towards Wellington with New Plymouth being our next destination. This was yet another fantastic drive and we were lucky enough to stop at a great café in Te Kuiti and sample kumara and orange cake (yum!). Having travelled through a lot of the places we learned about at the museum we then reached the at Anakino and were treated to our first views of Mount Taranaki which dominates the skyline of New Plymouth though we were still a long way off yet! The
view was spectacular and we had Mt. Taranaki hovering over us as wended our way to New Plymouth. The city is big and bustling adorned with gorgeous beaches. With another fish n chip supper in hand we headed to the beach and joined the locals in their post-work ritual of taking a dip in the chilly sea - “bracing” was the agreed consensus on the temperature! The camp-site was also scene to the momentous victory Anna had over me on the life-sized chess board (a one piece checkmate would you believe!). We ended the day wishing Mum a happy birthday and looking forward to reaching Wellington as our South Island adventure came ever nearer.
Our short stay in Wellington was punctuated with rain (as always) and fruitless search in Upper Hutt “City” for a pub! We, of course, went into town on the Sunday and found an Irish pub and watched more rugby......back at the camp-site we were entertained by a fleet of German revivalists who held a full church service complete with lovely singing and so on!! It was finally time for our journey South.....
We headed out of Wellington early to catch our ferry. With the
minor Walters' panic as we got locked into the camp site kitchen at half six in the morning. We had to jump out of the window as the door knob broke but it didn't delay us. Once at the ferry it was almost like we were heading for Dublin on the many ferry journeys but no long trek through North Wales. I decided after my last few ferry trips that I would sleep to prevent the travel sickness which is a new thing I'm dealing with. Three and a half hours later we arrive in the South Island in Picton having sailed through the Sounds with the fantastic mountain views. We quickly departed the ferry and stopped off in the small town of Picton for some lunch.
Next stop was going to be a DOC (department of Conservation camp-site which as mega cheap), we found the site next to a lovely beach but decided that we needed to stock up so headed or Blenheim (no Queen in this one). This one night stop over turned out to be a lovely little place, we found a little Irish pub to plot the rest of our journey. Kaikoura was
the next destination, we had been told that this is a must place to visit despite being only a small town. On the way we needed to take in some of the great wineries on the way. Marlborough is a big white wine region but we were searching for some red. We stopped off at some vine yards(Cellar doors) in Renwick and Elaine had a few tasters.
The road to Kaikoura was another great road trip along the coast. We stopped off at a seal site and saw yet more seals having fun, this time we did get to see some of the pups. Along the way the road was parallel to the train tracks, this is one of the most scenic train journeys in the world. There is such a contrast between coast and the alpine views. We did see lots of the tracks but no trains...
Kaikoura was exactly as we thought it would be; a lovely seaside tourist town. Kaikoura literally means eat crayfish as there was so many of them. As soon as you get there you see the beautiful coastline if you turn around you are a few kilometres away from the snow
capped mountains it is such a sight to see. Our camp site had a few out door hot tubs which we sadly didn't manage to give a go. Lots to do and see in Kaikoura so we are going to see how much we can pack in - orca (killer whales), seals, dolphins, fishing.
After a quick drink in town we get invited to a pub quiz that evening, we do find it very difficult to turn down a good pub quiz. We book a fishing trip for the next day as it's something that we have both wanted to give a go. The night life in Kaikoura is very much like going back to university(gap year) as there are so many people staying there for a few nights. The A and E pub team were up and running again first time in the southern hem. All went well apart from the surprise round based on The Lion King. It has to be said it's not one of my top ten films, I know Lewis our nephew would have done a lot better, but we were still in the running. As time went on the usual music round let
us down, we were joint third at the end living up to the uni feel we had to down a pint the quickest to get the honour of third place and the $15 bar tab. Yes we did win, we didn't realise we had to spend the tab that evening though.
Early to rise the next morning for the fishing trip, we headed to the bay to meet the crew as they arrived on the tractor pulling the red boat. Gerry was the captain and Nick his second mate a few more punters joined us and we were off. After a very short safety message Elaine made a comment about hanging onto Nick's leg as he jumped ship a la Italian captain. Little did she know that he had a wooden leg, so he said that she'd better pick the right one. This was probably the last time I laughed as my great sea legs did not get on that boat that day. We found a spot to fish the view out to see was spectacular again if you turned back to shore you get the great alpine views. Along the way if you hit the side of the
boats the dolphins swim along with you. This was turning out to be a all inclusive trip fish and dolphins. I was a little worried that we may see an orca as well as the boat was not very big, this was a little unlikely as they come out at dusk.
We were both given a rod and given some pointers. Elaine got a fish straight away, we didn't realise that the line goes all the way to the bottom of the sea so it takes ages to pull up and does hurt after a while. My line was doing fine but at this point I started to get sea sickness. Apparently if you get it all out you feel much better. This was not the case for me once I started I couldn't stop. I did catch some fish though, once caught it was filleted ready for us to take home later.
We met some more friends along the way, the albatross loved the fish guts that were thrown over the side. Once we caught enough fish we headed to the crayfish pots to collect some more treasures. We each we going to take some home later.
Nick and Gerry were great hosts and invited back to their house later to cook the crayfish for us.
Once back on land I stopped being sick but did feel a bit weak. After a nap and some greasy food I was feeling better. We lazed on the beach for the afternoon and then headed to the boys place for the cooking lesson. Gerry had a lovely house on the sea front and an even better garden, we were joined by some Americans and Canadians from the afternoon fishing trip. Nick cooked the crayfish and Gerry had the home made wine flowing. We had a thoroughly great evening and met some great people. The crayfish was amazing, I've never had lobster but don't think I'll bother now as crayfish is the best. We had plenty at Gerry's and took home two crayfish to eat back at camp.
Having had a fantastic experience it was then off to see old friends in Christchurch and plan for further adventures in the mighty south!
There are more photos below