Grahame and Gretchen Benvie


Grahame and Gretchen Benvie

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Bay of Plenty » Tauranga May 12th 2021

The last day of the Grand Tour was always planned to be a quiet one compared to the places we have been to over the past 3 weeks and 2 days. And the cold weather that arrived last night was probably going to mean that it would be an indoor day too. Although our motel was on the corner of a busy intersection we weren’t troubled during the night with traffic noise. So it seems double glazing or some other noise reducing construction material had done the trick. We were not due to fly home to Tauranga until just before 7pm tonight so have a few hours to fill in and it is just as well that we arranged to retain the rental car for another day as it would have been a miserable day going ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch May 11th 2021

The weather forecast today for Lake Tekapo is ominous with snow predicted down to 600 metres and Tekapo township sits at around 700 metres. So the thought that there could be driving difficulties through Burkes Pass, also at 700 metres, was at the front of our mind as we started to pack up and get ready to hit the road. We filled the Corolla at the local Challenge petrol station which had us still trying to work out how petrol in a number of the places we have passed through, is cheaper than what we pay in Tauranga despite the fact that the commodity has to be trucked from whatever South Island port it arrives into before it can be pumped into our car. The weather overhead for now was partly cloudy and the temperature still ... read more
Top of a hill just outside Fairlie with the southerly front in the distance
Rakaia Gorge
The braided Rakaia River after the bridge and gorge

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Lake Tekapo May 10th 2021

We are down to the last day of our stay at Lake Tekapo and as we had hoped the dip in the hot tub on the deck at night has made our stay here very relaxing. We are pinching ourselves because we had found such a restful accommodation. There had been a bit more rain overnight but the prospects for a reasonable day without any further rain was on the cards which will ensure we get around the three close locations to the township that we want to explore and get a feeling for the history of this unique part of New Zealand. Heading out for some sightseeing our first location to visit were the twin lakes of Lake McGregor and Lake Alexandrina to the northwest of Tekapo township. From Tekapo you can’t see these lakes ... read more
Looking a bit dark and ominous,Lake Tekapo
Holiday baches,Lake Alexandrina
Autumn leaves,Lake Alexandrina

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Lake Tekapo May 9th 2021

The weather forecast had had warnings for the past 2 days and overnight the rain arrived in Lake Tekapo although it wasn’t loud enough on the roof of our accommodation to wake us. However, as daylight increased and the mountain and lake scenery that had been there yesterday didn’t reappear it seemed clear that the rain was going to be with us for a good part of the day. And so it turned out and finally we had a use for the tin of baked beans we purchased almost 3 weeks ago in Picton. To date there has only been one day when it rained at lunchtime when we weren’t in transit between towns and for some reason I cannot remember what we did for lunch on that rainy day in Fox Glacier. Never mind it ... read more
Side photo of the Church of the Good Shepherd,Lake Tekapo
Clearing skies over Lake Tekapo
The church...again from a little further away

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Lake Tekapo May 8th 2021

We had a great night’s sleep in our studio unit above the town of Lawrence but we couldn’t afford to be too long lying in bed as it is a lengthy drive to Lake Tekapo today. Looking out down on the valley that the town sits in we expected to see the houses laid out before us but a heavy fog had descended and we could hardly see the exit from the property to the driveway that we would eventually have to negotiate. The weather forecast had rain in it for later in the day as we drove our way north and we hoped that the fog was not a fore runner of this. The owners of the studio unit we stayed in overnight had not been home when we arrived from Invercargill or when we ... read more
Historic Clyde
Grand building in historic Clyde
Main street was deserted as everyone was packing out the cafes in Clyde

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Central Otago May 7th 2021

We are starting to wake up later each morning it seems on this Grand Tour of the South Island and this morning was no different. However we were awake in time to see the sunrise over the Mutton bird Islands to the east of Half-moon Bay, and it was a stunning one at that with the orange sky throwing a special light over the water of the bay. As we were in no hurry because our flight out wasn’t until 12.30pm we enjoyed a bit more time in bed listening to the radio and eventually thought we should get ourselves going. Check out time was 10am but we stretched that a bit as we didn’t think the cleaner would be here bang on check out time and we had explored all there was down in the ... read more
Half Moon Bay,Stewart Island
Our Kiwi Bach,Oban,Stewart Island
Church Hill,Oban,Stewart Island

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Stewart Island » Oban May 6th 2021

After we returned home last night from the pub we were sure the wind had abated or at least in the pitch blackness of Church Hill, Oban, it seemed that way. However, during the night the wind did return with gusto and we assume from a slightly different direction as something metallic was rattling noisily on the roof wanting to take off into the air and land somewhere to the east of us. Sunrise however revealed that the wind had blown itself out and it didn’t look like we would miss out on our boat trip to Paterson Inlet and Ulva Island at midday because of the wind. With time on our hands we lazed around and continued to enjoy the vistas from our Kiwi bach until it was time to head down the hill to ... read more
Mollyhawk on Halfmoon Bay
Akers stone cottage,Halfmoon Bay
Iona Island,Paterson Inlet

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Stewart Island » Oban May 5th 2021

We went to bed last night with a starlight sky and calm conditions. At sometime in the dark night all that changed with wind that sounded of storm force speed. The ‘Kiwi’ bach held together although at times as the wind howled we wondered whether we might have to go to the bottom of the cliff over the path up from the village to pick up what might have been left of it. The wind abated a bit when the sun rose and looking out from the deck of the bach the water on the bay below was being flattened out by the stiff breeze blowing over it. One can understand why the early settlers opted to set up their community where they did towards the eastern end of the island. After all we are in ... read more
South Seas Hotel and Four Square store,Oban,Sewart Island
Paterson Inlet,Stewart Island from Observation Rock with Iona Island on the left
Looking back to Oban from Linneker Bay

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Stewart Island » Oban May 4th 2021

Waking this morning in Invercargill we had hoped, when we pulled the curtains, to find clear skies and light winds for our short flight to Stewart Island.However, it is not to be, with dark skies in the west and a steady breeze blowing. We opted for a plane ride to Stewart Island as our memory of watching a ferry leaving Bluff pitching and rolling in heavy seas was enough to put us off travelling by ferry on this route for life. As we have discovered there is not a huge difference in the price of the airfare compared to the ferry and so we thought 15 minutes of terror is better than one hour plus plus of rockin’ and rollin’ across the strait. We had a bit of time to fill in before check in for ... read more
Lifestyle properties below
Coastline scene
Passengers in front of us

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Southland » Invercargill May 3rd 2021

It should only take us a couple of hours driving to make it to Invercargill and on the map it looks about as direct as any of the drives so far on the Grand Tour. Again the day has dawned clear and crisp and the forecast is clear for all day. It was a bit sad to be moving on from such a comfortable and well appointed apartment but the adventure on Stewart Island beckons. One would think there was no other highway to take us down to Invercargill but Highway 6 which we have been on since Nelson. There really isn’t another option as we start out from Queenstown, so 6 it is! Sometimes when you are speeding along the highway you can’t pick up the name of any little side road that you pass ... read more
Our apartment at Villa del Lago
Looking south to Kingston
The Remarkables close up

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