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Published: December 5th 2016
This morning Robin and Sandra drove us to Glenhope to visit Sandra's brother, Paul and his wife, Jean. Paul and Jean have 100 acres of land bordering Kahurangi National Park. When we arrived Jean greeted us with a pump pack of Nivea hand lotion which she recommended that we put on to deter the sandflies. Somewhat sceptical I slathered my arms with Nivea and then sprayed Aeroguard on my pants and around my hiking boots ... just to be sure!
Jean is an avid collector, keen gardener and talented artist and they have created an amazing property that is a mixture of sheep farm, river, botanic garden, bush, museum, art gallery and home. They purchased the property about 15 years ago from the leader of a commune whose followers had deserted him. It is completely off the grid and quite isolated from the modern world.
We had morning tea in the room that they added to house Jean's treasures. It was an amazing room full of curios and collectibles from matchbooks to crockery to monumental hand carved furniture. After a cuppa we were taken on the tour of the property. The cultivated part stands as testament to Jean's passion
for gardening and art not to mention Paul's skills with earthmoving equipment that have diverted streams to create lakes before diverting the water back to the river. The uncultivated part provided us with a true feel of the New Zealand bush as we hiked back along the river.
Paul was able to point out all sorts of interesting things along the way. We were shown Manuka tea trees that are, of course, famous for the honey that bees make after collecting pollen from their flowers. Even more fascinating was the honeydew on the black beech trees. Small insects that live on the trees exude a sweet, sticky substance that is delicious to birds, fungi and insects. Yet another specialist honey results from bees that have fed on the honeydew.
Back at the house we ate lunch out on the verandah surrounded by sandflies that were indeed kept at bay by the Nivea hand cream on my arms. The sandflies were hovering all around me, but they did not want to land on and bite my arms. Amazing! After our latish lunch and a couple of cups of tea it was time to head back to civilisation. We left
The big lake
This is only one of the lakes at Paul and Jean's
feeling quite privileged that Paul and Jean had been willing to share their amazing property with us.
We drove back to Richmond via the Nelson Lakes National Park. Jean had suggested that we do this because it would be more interesting that going straight back the way we had come this morning. Paul warned us though to watch out for all of the extra heavy traffic that is taking this inland route to Christchurch because of the damage to Route 1 on the west coast following the earthquake. Jean told us to be sure to go out on the jetty at Lake Rotoroa to see if the eels were there.
After overshooting the turn-off by a couple of hundred metres we did a U-turn and drove in to the lakeshore. As instructed we walked out onto the jetty and peered down into the crystal clear waters of the lake. Before long there were at least half a dozen HUGE eels peering up at us hoping for some food. All we had in the car was a bit of light fruit cake. I'm sure it wasn't good for them, but they seemed to like it well enough. We only
gave them a little bit though. Robin and Sandra decided next time they come this way they should bring some meat to feed the eels.
We arrived home and I changed my clothes and discovered that I did have some fresh sandfly bites after all. Not on my arms that were protected by nothing more than a thin layer of Nivea cream, but on my legs and ankle where the little buggers had braved the Aeroguard fumes and bitten me through my pants and my socks. Mosquitoes love Bernie, but these bl**dy sandflies love me!
Sandra won her first game of 'Jo'. The home team was on a roll and won Bolivia again taking them to a 5-3 lead.
Steps 7,165 (5.32km)
Tot: 0.085s; Tpl: 0.011s; cc: 12; qc: 28; dbt: 0.0588s; 1; m:domysql w:travelblog (10.17.0.13); sld: 1;
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