Here I am in New Zealand so I have a bit of catching up to do….as last time I think I was in Byron Bay.
We left the posh apartment there and traveled up the Gold Coast of Queensland to Brisbane…saw the area called Surfers Paradise….high rise skyline which reminded me of Dubai….. a huge casino and masses of development…definitely not my idea of paradise. We hadn’t a clue where we were going as we drove into Brisbane but on the map I saw South Bank and a Tourist Info sign( Brisbane is on a river)- so we headed for there and amazingly then saw a Rydges Hotel ( we had one in Dubai so I guess it registered with me!!!) -And we were right in the South Bank area with lovely cafes and walkways along the river and even they have a fantastic man-made beach and swimming area, play areas for kids with fountain etc…..GREAT. We dumped our stuff and headed out for the riverside and had a lovely walk exploring the sights, - there’s a pedestrian/ bike bridge over to the other side and we wandered into the Botanical Gardens past Government House and admired the streets of Brisbane and the nice restaurant ( on the river with fireworks!!) with Rack of Lamb on the menu won us over…Michael would have loved that!!
Next morning Jenny and I had an emotional farewell - I can’t say how much it has meant to me to have such lovely people around me this holiday…and I can’t thank them enough…Jenny and earlier, Angie, for being my travel companions. Jenny went off back down the highway to Forster and I had a few hours to fill in before I went to the airport…and the station for the train to the airport was actually 250m from the hotel- everything has been very easy. So what do you do on holiday when there is a river…yes another boat trip. Very informative and relaxing 1 ½ hr river trip was just the job.
Airport! So having re-packed again (Competition- how many times have I packed now???) and thinking I had got all the security things right - Swiss army knife, scissors and tweezers in the checked baggage - lippy in plastic see-thru bag I was very annoyed when they stopped my rucsack at the machine and wanted to search my umbrella that was in there, and then they found my suntan cream which I had used in the afternoon on the boat ( being sensible in the sun) - the umbrella was deemed safe and I was obviously not gonna attack the crew with it…but my suntan was taken away. DAMN - I had just bought it -$$ down the drain. So BYE Australia - I had an amazing time and felt very sad to leave - tearful and missing Michael cos I know he would’ve loved everything I did- but I will be back…NO WORRIES AS THEY SAY HERE !!!!!
Next stop - New Zealand - 3 hour flight ( 1300 miles from OZ) arrived in the South Island in case some of you know nowt about NZ geography ( like me when I first started to plan the trip) at Christchurch….where the first Canterbury settlers arrived in the 1800s.
I am staying with my first Intervac family - Diane and Dave and they very kindly stayed up for me arriving after midnight. They live in a suburb, Cashmere- right in the hills - house is very high up - and looks across the city. So really that was only yesterday morning early when I arrived - time spans are relative when you are traveling like this and NZ is 2 hours ahead of Oz which makes it 11 hours ahead of UK, and to confuse me further all the trees are autumn colours and there are lots of trees in this city. It is so beautiful… very English - Oxford comes to mind as you wander by the river and there are lovely old buildings..etc. Had another hop-on hop-off experience - but this time it was old trams not buses and got me round the city - its quite small- for a first overview - then hopped on and off all day.
Today the campervan was delivered right to the door here!!! So far Wilderness Campervans have given great service - and a nice chap ,Matt, showed me the ropes. It is so cute - I think I am going to be very happy in it. Well equipped even with a footie and Frisbee as well as real coffee and a cafetiere. I have a fridge and hob, and microwave and a free bottle of wine!!! The van is called Betty and I took her out for first drive over the hills to a coastal harbourtown, Akaroa, on the Banks Peninsula. We managed the steep windy roads very well and it was a great drive to what originally was a French settlement…but the Brits at the time just trumped the French in putting up the union jack - so NZ became British not French. Was a lovely place and reminded me of places in Canada on the east coast…old wooden houses - nice museum and all the usual fab looking cafes and restaurants and nice gift shops- no tat!!!
On the way back the sky cleared ahead to the West and could see the mountain ranges against the beautiful golden light - with Mahler on the CD at the time - it was rather emotional -so more tears. But don’t worry bought a box of Kleenex today. I think the scenery is going to be so stunning I will need my Kleenex!!
So that brings me up to tonight - Diane is cooking something which smells really good and Dave is just pouring me a glass of homemade apple wine so I will say bye for now and catch up with you later in the week… Arthur’s Pass tomorrow - high in the mountains.. am looking for hobbits and wotchercall ‘em Black Riders???
Love Lynne xxx
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