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Published: January 7th 2007
Happy New Year everyone, hope you all had a good time and there weren’t too many sore heads the next day.
Before our BIG ADVENTURE began, we taped a load of CD’s because the radio is useless and Aunty Tina’s CD player in the car doesn’t work. They wouldn’t let me tape my dance music and only just let me tape Michael Jackson. But we had Westlife, Dirty Dancing, Tom Jones, Queen, Beatles, Housework Songs (don’t ask), Shania and Cher which we must have listened too 4 or 5 times each by the end of the holiday.
Our travels began on 27/12/06 and we left Cambridge at 8.30am to travel down to Wellington. The furthest south I had been was Taupo, so after a small stop and change of drivers I was on different roads. The drive down the side of the lake is 35 miles but unfortunately the weather for day one wasn’t very good and we couldn’t see much of the hills at the bottom of the lake.
We went down State Highway 1 on the Desert Road and luckily we had filled up with petrol because there is nothing at all for about 100 miles.
The Police Station
We stopped to take photos of the highest mountain on the north island and as you can see from the photos the cloud was really low. There are three mountains in a row called Tongagiro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe and the last two are still active volcanoes. Ruapehu has a lake called Crater Lake which is full of sulphuric acid water and is 50 degrees C and is only being held back by a wall of volcanic ash. The level of water is high at the moment and they are expecting it to overflow. Luckily it wasn’t on the day we were passing through. I have scanned a picture of a postcard which shows what the three mountains are supposed to look like. Spectacular or what.
We stopped further down at Waiouru in the Army Memorial Museum but didn’t have a look round we just had some lunch. After that it was just a drive down State Highway 1 passed some weird and wonderful places. One called Taihape has a wellie throwing contest every year (why??). We then went onto Bulls (yes there really is a place called that) and the shops had different signs on them like the Post
Me & the Bulls Police
Office had Post-a-bull, Information Centre inform-a-bull, Subway was submerge-a-bull but the best one is for Dad and that was the Police Station which was const-a-bull and they had painted their garage door too. You can see from the size of the Police Station that it isn’t a big place. We just stopped in Bulls for a coffee and then set off again.
The drive after this was quite flat and it didn’t seem to take too long to get down to Upper Hutt. We drove around for about an hour before we found somewhere to stay and this was the first of many motels. Two separate bedrooms with double beds so I had first choice and took the lighter room which was also away from the balcony where everyone walked round.
We decided to each have a night picking tea so Uncle Andy was first up and we hadn’t got very far and he picked one called the Cobb and Co and that was it. After tea we had a game of pool and about 9.00pm the barmaid had closed the bar so we went up to this other pub and had another game of pool. (You will
Me and the 1st game of pool
see and hear quite a bit about pubs and pool throughout these blogs but don’t worry I’m not an alcoholic yet!!!!).
We drove down from Upper Hutt to Wellington (capital of New Zealand) and had a walk around before our ferry. We went to the Parliament buildings and the new one is called the beehive because that’s just what it looks like. There are two other parliament buildings, the oldest one is the pink one, then they built another one which is the marble looking one and then the beehive which is used today. They are all linked so maybe used for state visits or something.
After that we had a walk round the harbour and they have tried to make it interesting. The fountain, and the fern ball in the air were at the far end of the city and we walked along the waterfront down to where we had parked the car next to the Bluebridge ferry office.
We got on the boat about 12.30pm and then set sail out of Wellington Harbour and it took about an hour to get into Cook Strait (open sea), that took another hour then Queen Charlotte
Fountain - Waterfall
Sound which took yet another hour to get into the harbour at Picton. The trip down Queen Charlotte Sound was spectacular and it seemed narrow in places but thank goodness we had a good captain on the ferry. Me and Uncle Andy got rocked to sleep out on Cook Strait but Aunty Tina read her book. We sat outside after that and we got a bit sunburned but nothing too bad. Coming into the harbour the captain decided to sound the foghorn to get some folk out of the way. We were sitting on deck at that time and nearly had an accident when it went off.
We got into Picton at around 4.30 and took the top road which was very windy and hilly across to Nelson. We got into Nelson around 6.30pm and went into our first Bella Vista motel. It was supposed to be in Nelson but was actually in a place called Tahunanui which was just over 4 miles outside of Nelson. We decided it was too far to walk into town so just went to the end of the road (about half a mile) and had a Thai meal (my choice). Me and Uncle
Fern Leaf Ball
Andy had to swap because the curry I ordered was way too spicy, so ended up with a garlic chicken with rice and veg. After that we just went back to the room and had a couple of beers and watched tele.
More to come.
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