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Published: September 9th 2006
The snowy road ahead
Just up over the hill is where we smacked intot he wall.
After one night in Balcutha we set off in the morning to Dunedin. Having taken the decision to keep following the coast we again departed from the main road and ventured along unsealed roads. After a short while we had climbed up a bit and came across snow covered roads. It really didn’t look that deep though and there were plenty of other tires tracks so we proceeded with caution. We reached the top of a hill with a pile of snow covered logs in a field on my side, the next thing I know is that we are sliding fairly fast towards the hedge on my side of the road! Thommo had hit the breaks slightly which had just sent us skidding on the snow into the side. Fortunately there was no damage at all to the van, other than a tiny scratch you couldn’t see with out looking up close. The only problem was we were stuck, couldn’t turn the wheel enough to go forwards and couldn’t get enough grip to go backwards! I didn’t watch the demo of how to put on snow chains, Thommo had but had totally forgotten how to apply them! My back was bad
I like the brick work!
which meant there was no way of me pushing. Luckily these two farmer guys came flying up the hill in their 4WD and managed to help take some of the wall down to release the front wheel whilst one of them jumped on the tail plate to jig it out! Thank goodness they came along! They informed us that it was not too bad further on and assured us we would be fine without the chains. We stopped further along the coast of a quick bite to eat and to laugh about what had happened. Should of taken a photo, it really was quite funny after the initial panic.
Upon arrival to Dunedin we stocked up on food and drink and checked into the campsite we had chosen. The site was a fair distance from the town centre but it was nicely kept and had a spa, am loving plunging into hot water to warm up! We were both really pleasantly surprised to see that Jon and Lisa were staying at the same site for one more night. It was great to catch up and find out what everyone had been up too. We settled for a quite night
Lovely little place
in the van with another DVD, seen so many knocked down price films now!
The following day we ventured into the centre in search of a internet café where we could publish some blogs. It was Saturday morning and there was a market next to the train station. The station is a lovely two tone brick building. We parked the van and then discovered that the pay and display meter was broken. I walked to the other side to see if there was a meter there but the market was so busy I couldn’t find one, that’s even if there was one there. Could not afford a ticket! While we were pondering what to do, a woman walked past and said ‘hey its out of order, so means a free park I reckon”. So we took her advice and just left it and it did turn out to be a free park. We wondered up the street to the octagon part of the city (this part has lots of bars and clubs at night but quite a few nice buildings and the information centre) and then down the main street and finally all the way back to the octagon
when we realised we had walked pass the only place we could find that had wireless access. While Thommo was busy catching up with people at home I went to get some cash out and randomly bumped in to Ryan (the guy we spent a bit of time with in Queenstown). We arranged to meet up that evening as Rugby was on and there was quite a buzz going around about it.
After finishing with the internet we hoped back in the van and decided we should just about have enough time to get out along the Otago Peninsula. The drive was really nice. We passed through small settlements with very small beaches and our first stop was at Lanarch Castle. This involved a short drive of the main road and just over the hill. We paid to have a look around the castle and the grounds. It is a very nice castle but fairly young as caste’s go, built in 1871. After walking around and looking at the interior we visited the onsite café in the stables for the free cup of tea you are given after you purchase access to the castle. We couldn’t spend too long
View from the hill
On the way back down towards the main road on the peninsula
there as we wanted to make it to Taiaroa head to visit the Albatross colony. After leaving the castle we rejoined the main road and continued through Portobello until we reached the Royal Albatross centre. We got there just at the right time and only had to wait about ten minutes for the next tour. There was lots to read in the waiting area and then when we were taken through to the tour we were shown a DVD and given a talk on the nature of the birds. The Taiaroa head houses the world’s only mainland Albatross colony. We then went up the hill to the look out, steep hill! Once inside the building we all donned binoculars, lined up against the large glass windows and set out searching for the massive birds. We thought we might see a adult as it was a very windy day, but no such luck! However, we did get to see a baby Royal Albatross. It was perched on one of the ledges looking cold and windswept and didn’t really do anything! It was big though but you could tell it was still very young due to the fluffy feathers. There were lots
Quite cute really.
of other birds there too, Stewart Island shags seemed to be the largest in numbers.
There are penguins in the next bay but due to wanting to see the Rugby we had to get going. Some times the wait for them can be really long, plus we had seen some down the coast in the Catlins. So after watching the baby for a while and looking in vain for a parent the tour was over and we headed back down the peninsula. We got ready and splashed out on a taxi to the centre of town. We watched the Rugby in a sport’s bar in the octagon (forgotten its name!) We met Monique and Ryan there and all sat on the floor in a massive backroom with a very large screen. It was a good match and NZ won, so as you can imagine the atmosphere in the city was electric. Mon and Ryan returned to their hostel for a bit but Thommo and I stayed in the octagon area and had a few slow drinks while we awaited their return. We all meet back up just before midnight and made our way to the Ten Bar for some
Across the bay
Taken from the hide out in the Albatross centre
more drinks and some dancing. Monique and I spent most of the night dancing while Thommo and Ryan played pool and then returned to join us on the floor. We were all quite drunk by the end of the night and the last ones to leave! After saying goodnight to those two we had to hang around for a taxi, had some random drunk conversations with people!
The following morning I woke up feeling ok but after ten minutes or so my body decided it did not like whet I had consumed the night before and then proceeded to hate me for the entire day. I was sick quite a few times and could not really even hold water down. I spent the whole day trying to sleep it off and feel better. By the evening I was a lot better but couldn’t even look at the bacon sandwich Thommo made for me. A full day was wasted really, such a shame!
The next morning I woke up feeling fine and we decided to move on up the coast to Omarama. Along the way we stopped off at Shag Point, we then proceeded to the Moeraki Boulders. The
Can not really see it in this picture, but it was amazing.
sky was so colourful here, almost like the pattern oil makes when mixed with water. We parked up and walked along the beach to the boulders. They really do look strange all dotted around and in the sea. My camera ran out of battery here, but this didn’t stop Thommo posing on top of some of the boulders whilst trying to dodge the waves, one of his legs got quite wet, ha ha. We got there at a good time, after being there for 20mins or so the tide started to come in so we left. We then drove up the Omarama and stayed the night there in a camp site which still had snow on the ground from a heavy snow fall six weeks prior. There was only two campervans there that evening, including us. We cooked and then watched another DVD and had a early night. It was a very cold night and I woke up several times to put on the small electric heater.
As the weather was terrible when we were near Mt Cook the first time we didn’t get to see it at all. So we decided we would travel inland from the east
Wierd looking things, like glue has stuck them together.
coast and keep our fingers crossed that we would see it. The weather was good in the morning so we set off early. The drive was quite nice, we could see snow capped mountains lining blue sky. We had lunch at a very nice café called DeRailed in a small town, the name of which has totally escaped my memory though! We stopped at Peters Lookout to get some snaps. It must have been a good place as the car park was full of people with large cameras perched on tripods. We took a few and then continued on to the mountain. It was a brilliant day to see it and we took the walking track to the water towers behind the town in order to get a better view. The track was really icy in places where the snow had fallen and not melted since, but it was worth nearly falling over several times for. We sat in awe of it for a while and took some more snaps then headed back down to the van. We had made it to Mt Cook in pretty good time, so we headed away from it and towards Timaru. We stopped off
On the way to Mount Cook
THe light was really interesting when reflecting off the snow
at a lake not far from the mountain and soakied up the views. I really do not think we could have seen it on a better day in winter.
When we got to the campsite in Timaru there was no answer for quite a while. However just as we were leaving the woman came running over. After a short conversation we told her we would be back after we got some food. The campsite was nice and we stopped just on top of a small mould. There was several ducks running around which were quite amusing to watch. Again that evening we just stayed in and watched some TV in the van. That aerial we brought in Queenstown really had come in handy in the evenings.
Onwards to Christchurch……..
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