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Published: August 26th 2010
Left you at last blog arriving at Wellington and spending a day there before heading across on the ferry to South Island.
Added another map for the tour of the South Island and back to Picton.
The following morning the sun was out again and we headed to the ferry port. The ferry ride was very scenic especially as you went through the flooded valleys through to Picton, took about 3 hours in total. We also saw dolphins and sealions swimming by the ferry.
When arrived at Picton said goodbye to the girls, Sarah heading back home from Christchurch end of August, but said would meet up with Collette to go to Waitimo caves and Tongariro Alpine crossing trek.
Then headed down towards Christchurch where i was going to meet up with Emma. Stopped enroute at a campsite near Kaikarou with great view of the mountains in the background.
Woke in the morning to find my battery dead and not charging! So when arriving at Christchurch popped into the Apollo van centre where they replaced my charging unit and lead, good timing!
The depot was near the airport and
conveniently so was The Antarctica Centre, worth a visit. They had an Antarctic storm simulator, penguins, some great movie footage, loads of educational information and best of all a ride in a Hagglund track vehicle used in the Antarctic.
Only lasted 10 mins but was like a rollercoaster as the driver took us over steep hills and a chasm and through 2m of water.
Spent about 3 hours here before heading off to meet up with Emma. We had a couple of beers in the pub then headed to her mums Alison and Johns house, high up overlooking Diamond Harbour which is an old volcanic crater, amazing spot. Alison and John built the house themselves from clay mud bricks, really cool.
Next morning we headed off on the long drive to Queenstown, but en route Emma had some work calls to make, was quite funny as we tried to find School Road, only to find we had the wrong town! Seems most towns have a road called SChool Road!lol
Some great views along the way, particularly where the mountains were reflecting on the lakes, but did not manage to get a good
Queenstown was a nice place and buzzing with people as a ski and activity resort. Rained in the night so after a walk around we ended up in the van drinking vino and eating bangers and mash!
Next day headed to Arrowtown going for a walk and stopping for coffee before heading off to St Bethans, where there was a Blue Lake, though not very blue at the moment and the Vulcan Hotel left over from the mining days with its own ghost!
We stayed in the van opposite the hotel and had a couple of dogs to keep us company and throw sticks for! The hotel was even in a book, 101 things to do in NZ!
The pub has a "hole" cut into the ceiling beam with a metal ring in it. The done thing is to crawl thru this hole climbing up onto the bar, of course i had to do it! A lady said "oh i have never seen a man go thru it before!" lol Emma got some pictures on her camera so will put onto facebook, but she left her camera there!
was poor again and we headed back to Christchurch, quick visit I know but Emma had work again on Monday, we were going to stop at an amazing fish restaraunt, but missed the turning as we were playing eye spy! I won at "my car colour game" but Emma won the spot a cross by the road and punch marks arm game!
Stayed at Alison's the Sunday night, after a nice roast dinner, then spent Monday doing my washing and previous blog, plus took Pam the dog for a walk . Alison and John were very hospitable giving me free run of the house while they were at work! Stayed another night then headed off towards Franz Josef and the Fox glacier.
En route stopped at Greymouth Top 10 campsite, had some cool old arcade games there! Virtua Cop II!
Following morning headed to Fox Glacier via Franz Josef Glacier, ref seperate blog, saw the Glaciers from air and ground and went on a few nice walks through the surrounding forest/jungle and around some lakes (all these pictures in other Glacier blog).
Stayed in Fox Glacier Township for three nights to do
all the walks etc plus some chill time, no one else there the first night but few more vans arrived next few days, but nice chilled place.
Had a text from the girls and agreed to meet them at Hanmer Springs, so met up with them on the Sat afternoon, had some lunch and a walk around town, nice place Hanmer, told lots of people from Christchurch come here for weekends. Also near a ski field and known for its hot thermal springs.
Next day we walked up Conical hill, hard walk but nice views and the sun was out clear blue skies!
Then back into town to the SPA where we lazed around in 40 degree pools for a couple of hours, going for a massage and then back in the pools and the sun was out still!
Following morning said goodbye to the girls as they were heading to Christchurch as Sarah was flying home on Tuesday morning. I headed off towards Nelson but staying for one night at Kaikoura, nice little town quite backpacky but quiet still! You can do whale watching here by boat or helicopter, stayed here one night
ont he way down.
Arrived in Nelson on a nice sunny afternoon, checked into the campsite for 3 nights then set off into town to see some sights i had listed from my travel guide.
Mmmm, Cathedral not that nice, Macs brewery tour-closed!, Museum-looked naff so ended up walking again! up another steep hill!
Up Botanical Hill where you could see the alleged centre of NZ! Well centre of Nelson which as a district is the central NZ district, still used by surveyors locally! Also a 60 year old Kauri tree planted there!
Great views again, then headed back into town to a Macs pub and tried four of their beers there as brewery closed.
Wednesday went to see WoW museum, World of Wearable art and Classic Car mOuseum! Which entertained me for a while! Had mannekins moving and luminous ones in the dark dressed in some previous WOW years outfits/designs, interesting!
Plus a movie showing previous shows (been going 20 years) which was quite cool. Lots of different cars there ranging from a Austin Princess! to several Ferraris and Jags and a Delorian!
Was running out of
things to do so ended up in the cinema for the afternoon showing of Twighlight it was naf too much soppy not enough vampires?! Also went to see Inception, which was good, following morning then spent the afternoon chilling and finishing my, this, blog
NZ definitely reminds me of home, many things like home, but is not home. Would like to try some few chosen places in the summer another time.
Been enjoying the campervan life! Been sleeping well, eating well, had good use of showers and laundry areas! Spending days driving to new places, walking, sightseeing, hanging out in local places, van chores.
BUT am looking forward to sun and sand, boardies and flip flops, topping up tan, snorkling, kayaking, hostels, no van responsibilities and more people to meet in Fiji!
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