Murchison to Motueka

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March 24th 2007
Published: March 24th 2007
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Jen drove initially through deep wooded valleys that widened to become cropped with all manner of fruit tree and hops with occasional vines. Large mountains (The Twins and Mount Arthur loomed in the distance to the West. We arrived at Motueka (or Mot as the locals abbreviate it). We had arranged to meet Charlotte at her parents (where she had returned for the weekend from Christchurch). When we arrived there it turned out to be a gorgeous house in beautiful gardens - the whole sitting in apple orchards which are the family business. Charlotte introduced us to her parents and showed us our room, which was wonderful as we were allowed to use one of the boutique bedrooms normally reserved for paying guests. It was great to meet Charlotte again and reminisce about our joint Africa experiences. Charlottes mum and dad was incredibly welcoming. Charlottes Dad is an interesting character. He served in the special forces in Vietnam as a young man - part of New Zealand's contingent. Charlotte says he suffers several ailments as a result of Agent Orange exposure (he appears to be very active in the campaign to compensate returned servicemen victims). When they returned from Vietnam they received a hostile reception but fairly recently they were given a more appropriate homecoming and Charlotte marched down one of NZ's main streets arm in arm with her Dad. She's obviously justly proud of him. Charlotte's Mum, Joyanne has created a gorgeous home and garden. The house is elegant and refined but homely with nice artistic objects everywhere. Charlotte invited us to a barbecue at her cousin's house, whose husband runs a nearby orchard on which they have a small property. On the way Charlotte gave us a brief tour of the family's estate. They and their friends and other friends were very good company and we had a good evening. We enjoyed some trout that had only been caught that afternoon.


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