Jan & Pete Lowe


Jan & Pete Lowe

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Nelson Region April 2nd 2023

Oamaru to Nelson and homeward bound Our hotel in Oamaru turned out to be a lovely Victorian white stone building that echoed the town’s historical importance. We sat in 2 leather high-backed winged chairs by the fire and felt very grand. Oamaru was an important port in days of yore and was the centre of the world’s provision of frozen lamb….until the railway made the journey to Picton and then Wellington shorter than by sea and the importance of Oamaru dwindled. It's now deemed to be the home of steampunk and we have yet to discover what that actually means. Quite a lot of odd murals and statues and figures dressed in black, but we’re still none the wiser. We travelled northwards along the pacific road to Christchurch, where we visited the botanic gardens and revisited ... read more
Ellie waiting for her lunch....
Our chef.....

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Oamaru March 28th 2023

Day 5 and 6 of the Alps to Ocean and the art of river crossings…. It is now the end of Day 5, and with only 61km to push tomorrow to the South Pacific Ocean, I am beginning to think we might make it! It's been another long day and the first time we have had to cycle through rivers. I had never really acknowledged that this might be a “thing”....i.e. a real thing that we might be expected to do. But there was the river and we were on the wrong side. Pete reckoned (for the very first time in his life) that slow and steady was the answer...low gear, moderate pedalling with a burst at the end to get you up the bank. We debated the option of hurling ourselves down the bank at ... read more
Still smiling.....
Fancy dough balls while we watched the hailstorm!

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island March 25th 2023

Back to Queenstown and onto our final adventure of the trip Our first foray into Queenstown was brief and very loud. Unfortunately we had to return in order to catch the bus to Tekapo. We decided to try another hostel (after our St Patrick’s day experience of Nomads) and for some reason that Jan cannot explain, we ended up in a hostel called Jucy Snooze, which had all the disadvantages of Nomads but multiplied by 10. It was a truly horrible place...a kitchen the size of a cubicle, with nowhere to sit and eat and very little space to cook. A “chill out room” 4 floors above, that was absolutely freezing and was set up for a drinking game that we didn’t want to play. Our room was right by a fire door that banged shut ... read more
View from Tekapo at the start of the A2O
Another view of Mount Cook, Day 2

It was always going to a long day on the bus….Christchurch to Queenstown via Tekapo and Twizel. 8 hours in total but the Intercity buses in New Zealand are very comfortable and there are coffee stops every couple of hours.... and we try and convince ourselves that it’s much more relaxing than driving yourself. It was a beautiful drive and we learned lots about the amazing water and power engineers who dared to link natural lakes with artificial canals to generate massive amounts of power without coal, oil or nuclear means. Brilliant. “Mum and Dad you will definitely HATE Queenstown”, said all our young people who claim to know about these things. It seems that we must have been determined to show that are deffo down with the youth by somehow booking to stay in the ... read more
Doubtful Sound in full moodiness
And more moodiness....

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Kaikoura March 16th 2023

Once we had calmed down after our arrival with the police, we unpacked, delirious to be staying in one place for four nights. The hostel was great...a bit of a shlep from the town centre but with a private shower and loo and a really great kitchen and dining room. And a launderette next door..... heaven! We spent our first day exploring in the rain and walked out to the Pier resturant for supper. Idyllic situation and fab seafood chowder for supper. Miles to walk home though! The weather wasn't brilliant on that first day (very windy with poor visibility) and all swimming with dolphins trips cancelled. Eek we were booked the next morning. Website showed weather being better the following day but advised that sea would be choppy. Sealegs pills advised and purchased…. We reported ... read more
Our playmates. ...
Dolly the dolphin

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Kaikoura March 12th 2023

A brush with the Law! After surviving the Clarence expedition Jan and I were due to catch a bus south to Kaikoura whilst Jamie and Ellie drove back to Nelson for work the next day. We had 2 hours to wait for the bus so we decided to try our luck at hitching again. Things were looking bleak after half an hour and few cars, but our saviour appeared in the guise of an old banger which veered off the main highway with some skidding to boot. Jayden welcomed us into his world. As the conversation evolved we learnt that he was currently unemployed. He'd been in and out of prison all his life. Jayden had a perturbing habit of drifting into the middle of the road and then suddenly overstearing into the nearside. He'd been ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island March 11th 2023

Nose Basher, Jawbreaker, Boulder dash and Rat Rock ....these might sound like Father Christmas's reindeer but they are actually rapids on the Clarence River that were marked in BOLD on our map. We thought that packing the boat for the second day would have been easier than Day 1. All the bags and barrels had to be secured to loading rings on the raft so they wouldn't disappear downstream if we capsized. I (Pete) started at one side of the raft, Jamie on the other. Gradually it emerged that we were each employing a different logic (no surprises there then). Irritatingly Jamie had a much sounder approach which Ellie spotted long before I did. It's only natural I suppose...... I undid most of my efforts and followed Jamie's guidance, trying hard to be humble and appreciative. ... read more
A very competitive game of perudo in the hut
Jamie and Ellie by the campfire.....aahhhh...

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Hanmer Springs March 9th 2023

"Into the fray" After Jordie's rather alarming words we had further anxious deliberations. There would be no one else on the very isolated river for three days at least and there was no road access for 5 days. We did have a satellite phone to summon a helicopter if we needed it but the thought of flipping the raft and losing contact with each other was a bit alarming. It occurred to me later that in all our joint 188 years we had never been as far away from another soul as we were on the 5 day journey. We had 2 barrels of food and 2 dry bags containing our clothes, tents and sleeping bags. We had a tool box, a pump and a satellite phone. And a shovel. For digging a toilet or possibly ... read more
An action photo!
Our hut mates transporting our raft to the hut

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Hanmer Springs March 8th 2023

So just to recap the 9 days since our arrival on the South Island and our emotional reunion with Jamie and Ellie....We have completed a 3 day tramp to Angelus hut, a 4 day tramp of the Queen Charlotte track and a 2 day seakayak camping expedition in the Marborough sound. We have had our first 3 nights in a tramping hut, camped in 3 campsites and had our first wilderness camping experience on the shores of Marborough sound. We had forgotten how exhausting it is to be with Jamie! And then it was straight on to the Big One …rafting down the Clarence River with Jamie and Ellie. Apparently the Clarence river is the least explored of all NZ rivers and it just sounded rather exciting to explore it! We set off in Ellie and ... read more
We'll deffo be alright now Jamie's got his specs on....
We're not going until Jamie and Ellie have got their helmets on....

Tramping the Queen Charlotte Track, and sea kayaking with Jamie Monday morning bright and early saw us on the bus to Picton. The bus driver did a running commentary en route to stop him getting bored. Tales of gold rushes and frost protection windmills in the vineyards as we passed through Blenheim. Great afternoon in Picton visiting the oldest surviving boat that took convicts to Australia. Fascinating construction, amazing what you can do with string and caulk! We were off early on the 0800 boat on Tuesday to start 4 days tramping on the Queen Charlotte track. We felt very intrepid but one of us was a bit nervous! Our backpacks were shuttled daily between campsites by the coastal boat, what luxury (we thought).... Beautiful countryside, all shades of blue and green in the Sounds. Quite ... read more
You can just see the Queen Charlotte sound
Three up in Notso Tiny Tim
Hand picked mussels for tea!

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