Winter BBQ for our long journey

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July 24th 2009
Published: July 24th 2009
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We got to Christchurch and had a quick look around the city. All the streets are named after English towns and the city looks quite English too. We didn’t stay too long and a coffee from Starbucks and a half hour people watching in the main square was exciting as it got. We had bigger plans and needed to act quick. It was a fine crisp winters day and there’s only one thing you can do on a day like this. Have a barbeque! We left Christchurch and drove out to the Banks Peninsula. We stopped off in Arakoa and got some supplies in the supermarket. Back on the road again we finally made it to our campsite. We set up our bbq as quick as possible as it was going to start getting dark soon. For the bbq we had decided to have some rump steak, fried potatoes and stuffed peppers. We also got a six small cans of Speight’s Ale to make it more authentic! It was freezing out and we needed to wear our hats and jackets to keep warm. We definitely didn’t need anything to keep the beer cold! I’m sure if people had seen us they would have thought we were mad and maybe they would have been right. The food went down a treat and we had a great few hours having the bbq, beside the beach on a winters afternoon.

For the next few days we drove around the Abel Tasman national park. Some of the campsites we have stayed in are all grass and at this time of the year (its winter here) its easy to get stuck in a field with a big heavy van. We have had some hairy moments where we thought we were never going to get out of here on our journey and this campsite was no different. Over night it there was torrential rain. It was so bad I couldn’t sleep with the noise of it hitting of the van. To get out of where we were parked I would need to get up a slight hill. I knew I would have to hit it with a bit of speed or I was going nowhere. Just before we got ready to leave it lashed rain again. As our ferry was early the next day we couldn’t stay another night. We also need to get to Picton that night as the road can be treacherous after dark because of low fog and freezing conditions. I reversed out of our spot and line up with the hill. I took off gradually gaining speed. Half way up the hill I could feel the wheels start to spin. I also didn’t want to ruin the nice grassy campsite either. There was no way the van was going up it. Maybe there is some technique at doing it but I didn’t know it. We had a look around the campsite and found a small pathway going through some bushes, but on flat ground. The van would just about fit through. We drove through and the branches rattled of the sides of the van. It could see the gravel road in the distance and made a bee line for it. Luckily we got through and were back on the main road. On our way to Picton we had lunch in a bus. Along the road we spotted ‘The Bus Stop’. Some guy had converted and old bus and turned it in to a café. We treated ourselves to a meat pie and went on our merry way.

The ferry the next day was uneventful this time and we got ourselves a motor park just outside Wellington. The All Blacks were playing Australia at 7:30 so we decided to make a night of it. We got the local bus into town and went to the first Irish bar we could find. The match was good and the Guinness was average. A band played after the match and they weren’t much better either. We left there and tried some of the other bars in the city centre. Irish people get a bad rap for drinking too much and I think it’s a bit unfair. Every where I have been so far, on Friday and Saturday nights are completely the same as in Ireland. The same messy situations. We did have a good night but all I could think was that it was no different to home.

As we had to get to the very north of New Zealand we had a lot of driving in front of us. Over the next couple of days we took in Masterton, Napier and Taupo. Remember Katy from our travels through Patagonia, in Argentina? We got to meet up with her again in Taupo. We spent the day basically eating and talking about what we had done since we saw each other. Katy had been to Central America and visited Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua. It was cool also as she was our first visitor to our house in New Zealand! It was great to meet up with her as we haven’t met that many people in NZ. Katy had a bus to catch that evening so we hit the road again after that. We will meet again in Sydney for a few days where she will stay to work and we will continue on up the east coast. We are now in Northland, and area obviously at the north of New Zealand! We hope over the next few days to swim with dolphins. There are a lot of conditions before you can swim with them. The weather for one has to be right, they cannot be feeding or have any young. I can honestly say I will be heartbroken if I don’t get to swim with them. I have been looking forward to it for a long time and hope everything goes right. When we saw them in Doubtless Sound, all I wanted to do was jump into the water. They’re just one of those animals that amaze and interest people. We could have done it in Kaikoura but chose to see whales instead as we knew we could do it up here but didn’t realise all the conditions. In Kaikoura only weather conditions permit whether you swim as they are different dolphins. I also fully understand that there has to be restrictions and I respect that. I just hope its not the weather that throws a spanner in the works.

In a bit. DH

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