Driving North with Mabel…

Kia ora, everyone!

When last I wrote, we were at the top of the South Island and today I wrote from the top of the North Island. Another month has passed in a flash and it is only now we have started to realise our adventure here in Aotearoa New Zealand is coming close to an end. I think selling Mabel has really brought it home. Our visas run out halfway through January so we expect to be home by the end of the month, maybe early February. No plans as yet because it’s much more exciting to not have a plan! We are thinking of travelling through Thailand or another part of Asia on the way home so any pointers are welcome!

We left Kimi Ora in Kaiterteri for the last time just over three weeks ago. Introducing Brigitta and the lovely Tilly. Tilly is the slightly evil looking one in the middle (and a dog) and Brigitta is the one of the left (and most definitely a person). She is, in fact, one of the best people I have met ever! Ours is a friendship that came entirely by chance but was so entirely welcome. It can be hard to make friends when you don’t stay in any one place for too long but we connected so instantly that I knew it was the beginning of a life time friendship! Plus, Brigitta is half Austrian so she’ll be in Europe at some point soon! Right, Geets?!

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This is us having some much needed beach days when we all finally got coinciding days off!

From Kaiteriteri, we drove back over the hill to spend some time with John and Betsy and their son, Hamish, his partner, Mon, and the newest addition to the family, little Georgia! And, of course, Hank!

John and Betsy have taken us in and looked after us like their own family; their kindness has been just awesome! Truly two in a million! Thank you, thank you, thank you, John and Betsy!!!

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Us on the farm meeting some of the new calves and me pretending to fit in to life on the farm! Rocking the overalls and gumboots!

After some sad goodbyes (mainly on my part), we left the farm to explore the Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island before we took the ferry back to the North Island. We met a Scottish couple that I traded some Scottish Blend teabags with for some Irn Bru and we went swimming in the sea for the first in months!

Mabel’s first trip on the ferry…we think!

Only stayed a night in Wellington but we got to meet the cutest babies, Tom and Olive, who belong to Nic’s sister, Amy, and her husband, Glen. They had only just found out they were pregnant when we last stayed over near the start of our time here. After a night in a proper bad and a hot shower, we were ready for more exploring!

Cape Palliser at the bottom of the North Island gave us the Putangirua Pinnacles….guess where you’ve seen it before……………..

……………………..Lord of the Rings: Return of the Ring!

 

From there we started to head towards Gisborne on the east coast of the North Island, stopping over for  a night at a farm we had wwoofed at before and spent an awesome night with Craig catching up over beers and games.

This was the sad day we passed Mabel on to her new owners and the next day when we spent over nine hours on a bus from Gisborne to Auckland. We only spent two nights in the city but wandered around a little and saw the art gallery. By the second day, we had decided that carrying our backpacks and travelling by bus was not for us. We hired a car and headed north up to Northland to explore some more.

History Part! Ready…….

Waitangi Treaty Grounds; Aotearoa New Zealand’s most important historic site where a treaty was signed between the British Crown and the prominent chiefs of the indigenous Maori on 6th February 1840. The principle aims for the Crown were to protect Maori interest from the vast numbers of settlers arriving from Europe, to provide for British settlement and to establish a government therefore maintaining order. Each Maori iwi (tribe) had their own laws put in place by the rangatira (chief) so the notion of central governance employed by the British was confusing and caused much upset because the British often disregarded Maori law. The Maori and the British also had very different ideas of land law. The Maori believed the land to be theirs to live off and on and belonging to the iwi instead of an individul. The British viewed land as a commodity to be bought and sold under one owner. When the Treaty was translated from English into Maori, there were some discrepancies which are being disputed to this day.

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Traditional Maori marae (meeting house) Image courtesy of https://www.russelltop10.co.nz/bay-of-islands-holiday-giveaway/

The Treaty Grounds are home to two of the nation’s icons. The first is the marae (above), which is a carved Maori meeting house, built by the Ngapuhi tribe to represent all Maori iwi and to commemorate the centenary of the first signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. This one is named ‘Te Whare Runanga’ and is traditionally this would be where all social meetings take place. This was constructed facing the building that housed the first British resident and his family as a sign of friendship between the two peoples.

The second icon is the ceremonial waka taua (war canoe) named ‘Ngatokimatawhaorua’. It is one of the largest Maori waka at 37.5 metres long, 2 metres wide, weighing 12 tonnes. It requires a crew of 80 to take it out on the water safely and would still fit another 55 warriors in alongside those rowing. Probably a pretty terrifying sight at one time.

Carvings are how Maori tell their stories, history and geneology. A moko (face tattoo) tell of ancestry and lineage and, because the head was seen as the most sacred part of the body, face tattos were a symbol of rank, social status, power and prestige. If you are super intetested, here is one of the websites that I used when I was researching Maori history. It goes into great detail of the legends and history behind the Maori art of Ta Moko and well worth a read!⬇

http://www.zealandtattoo.co.nz/tattoo-styles/maori-tattoo/

Extra fact….

Aotearoa was said to have been discovered by Kupe but named by his wife, Hine-te-Aparangi. When out on the waka (boat) searching for the reason there were no fish o be caught around their island of Hawaiiki, Hine-te-Aparangi called out “He ao! He ao tea! He ao tea roa!” It translates “a long white cloud” which meant land was to be found behind. The land became known as Aotearoa.

The next day we went in search of nature and swimming after a day of history and learning! There are wo different waterfalls in the area we stayed; Rainbow Falls and Haruru Falls (bottom two photos). You just make out a rainbow in the second photo! It was too beautiful not to go for a swim at Rainbow Falls!

Up in the centre of Northland, we spent four nights in two of the coolest airbnb places we could find! The last two photos are of a studio hut in the bush with runs on solar electricity and I think the water comes from a nearby stream. The other three photos are of a house bus named Evie that relies on rainwater. Gathering lots of ideas just as we hope it will help us to be somewhat self-sufficent when we settle in our own little spot. At least we’d never run out of rain water in Scotland!

On Sunday just past, we booked onto a wee ferry over from Paihia on the east coast to Urupukapuka Island. The Bay of Islands have around 144 islands all together and Urupukapuka is one of the largest. The islands have no pests (rats, stoats, rabbits) so the bird life is abundant! The Department of Conservation is working really hard to eradicate invasive and introduced predators from New Zealand which were all brought here by Europeans; either on purpose for food or by accident on ships. Even without much sun, we swam in the sea and got sunburnt….first time in the whole time here!

Last night was maybe one of the most magical places we have stayed at in the whole of New Zealand! A tree house!!! It was childhood fantasy brought to life! I tried to upload a video underneath because the photos were not doing it justice but the computer/website has decided against it for me. Just when I think I’m getting good at this technical shit. Plus it’s 10pm and someone kept filling my wine glass this evening!

We were so sad to leave after only one night but what a magical night! We sat on the little deck watching the sun set through the trees with a glass of wine.

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Back at our home base for a couple of nights with Robin and Dorothy to figure out our next move. Not sure where the next couple of months will take us yet but it’s exciting! Spending Christmas with Nic, Keiran, Robin, Dorothy, Amy, Glen and the babies in Waihi so lots of swimming in the ocean and barbeques to come!

Apologies for any mistakes but it’s super late, I can hear snoring all around me as I type from the computer in the hallway and I just wanted to get to bed!

Speak soon, K xxx

 

Our Adventures from the Last Few Weeks…

Hi everyone! Finally getting my butt into gear to update our blog! We left Clyde in Central Otago a little over three weeks ago and have managed to pack quite a bit in.

First of all, we want to thank Graham and Estelle; two of the most awesome people ever!!! They made us feel so at home for four months and, sometimes, that is just what you need. And they are coming to our side of the world for next year’s holiday!

 

Secondly, a totally massive thank you to everyone at my work, Dunstan Hotel. What a crazy, awesome bunch! Hospo is a pretty hard industry to be in but a fab team like these guys certainly makes it easier. I definitely didn’t take enough photos since half the crazy, awesome bunch are missing! Thank you to Kat and Tracy for being such good friends and helping me through. Thank you to Nuno (Smirnoff) for keeping my banter on top form, ya prick! Thank you to Joey, Atrael and Jamie for being fab kitchen guys! Thank you to Brylie for just being cute. Thank you to Tash for coming in exactly when I needed you and being a legend! Thank you to Sarah for the laughs and chats and thank you to Robyn for giving me a shot in the first place after possibly the shortest interview ever! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

 

From Clyde, we travelled west to Te Anua. We have been there before but wanted to explore a little more without the constraints of a tour bus! I put the map in below just to show actual locations but mainly just to show off the fact that I have finally learned how to take a screenshot! Way hey!

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This is a small selection of the hundreds of photos taken of some places that we explored and camped along the way between Te Anua and Milford Sounds. The second image is a kea which Fegus was very excited about! They are about the size of a parrot and this one tried to eat the rubber from Mabel’s door frame. One night, we made brie and sweet chilli toasties and chocolate bananas…we eat pretty well for travellers.

 

Milford Sounds! It was so rainy and windy the last time we were here and this trip could not have been more different. It was so sunny and beautiful and we spent nearly the whole time up the top of the boat. And we saw seals and a dolphin!

Sciencey Part!

Milford Sound is not actually a sound, but a fiord hence the area’s name, Fiordland. A fiord is created by a glacier which washes away the bedrock of an area as it tumbles down and is then filled by the sea. The Norwegian word ‘fiord’ translates to ‘where one fares through’.

 

The Southern Alps (the mountain range that lies right up the middle of the South Island) are the result of the Indo-Australian plate plunging beneath the Pacific Plate. This meeting point between plates is known as the Alpine Fault.

The fiords here are made up of fresh water running from the mountains and salt water from the Tasman Sea. The sea water is crystal clear but is hidden by a layer of forest-dyed brown water on top and the two do not mix. The layer of dark water above means that loads of deep-sea species can be found just ten metres below the surface.

Next roadtrip and screenshot! Te Anau to Bluff, stopping at Lake Manapori and then with a friend of Graham and Estelle’s in Riverton for a couple of nights on the way down.

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From the very top of the North Island in the first photo, Cape Reinga, to the (almost) very bottom of the South Island in the second, Bluff. The southernmost point besides Stewart Island is Slope Point but Bluff is the prettier of the two and has the big yellow signpost!

 

Underneath are a couple from the Queens Park in Invercargill where we spent a few hours waiting on Mabel getting her warrant of fitness. Two new tyres and a window scoosher later, we were back on the road!

A very nice guy at a campsite gave us some paua that he had been diving for that very morning so we cooked it up with some cream and mushroom and had a picnic in the evening sun! I say “we cooked”, I obviously mean Fergus but I documented and tidied!

 

On to Dunedin, the Edinburgh of NZ and known for both Maori and Scottish heritage. We packed loooads in here!

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One of the most beautiful buildings in New Zealand, Dunedin Station and 18,869km away from Edinburgh!

 

On the first day we visited the Cadbury factory and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and stayed the night with Estelle’s mum. We were ready for a big day of sightseeing after a good night’s sleep and a massive breakfast so we started in the Octagon (Dunedin’s city centre) with St Paul’s Cathedral and First Church. Dunedin, the Gaelic name for Edinburgh, is definitely the most similar place to home with a huge number of the streets named after the streets of our capital. The Octagon even has a statue of Rabbie Burns!

The rest of the morning was spent at the Otago Settler’s Museum. We learnt about Kāi Tahu, the principal Māori iwi (tribe) of the southern part of New Zealand alongside the journeys, hardships and lives of the first Scottish settlers. The afternoon brought more learning at the Otago Museum where we learnt about the Pacific Islands and the people but the most time was spent in the Animal Attic looking at skulls, bones, stuffed animals and cabinets upon cabinets of insects! The museums themselves could have taken up two days so we were pretty done by 5pm and practically sprinted through the last few exhibitions!

 

Dunedin brought us to the end of the Southern Scenic Route and we began the journey back north and back to warmer climates!

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We came across these amazing rock fomations (below) on Arthur’s Pass (one of the main highways between the east and west coast) completely by accident. One of things we love most about having Mabel is that we can take our time and stop whenever we want; you can miss the coolest parts when you have to rely on public transport.

Kura Tāwhiti (named Castle Rock by early Europeans; not as exotic, right?!) is tertiary limestone, mudstone, sandstone and tuffs and was once under a large inland sea around 30 million years ago. The limestone rock was eroded by water into these distinctive sculptured landforms called a karst landscape. This area has special significance to Ngāi Tahu, with ties that stretch unbroken from distant ancestors to present generations.

Māori History!

Quick lesson: Kāi Tahu and Ngāi Tahu are same Māori iwi (tribe). ‘Ngāi’ is more commonly used in the north while ‘Kāi’ is affiliated with the southern iwi.

 

“Kura Tāwhiti literally means “the treasure from a distant land”, referring to the kumara that was once cultivated in this region. Kura Tāwhiti was claimed by the Ngāi Tahu ancestor Tane Tiki, son of celebrated chief Tuahuriri. The nearby mountains were famed for kakapo, and Tane Tiki wanted their soft skins and glowing green feathers for clothing to be worn by his daughter Hine Mihi.

Such stories link Ngāi Tahu to the landscape. The traditional knowledge of trails, rock shelters and rock drawings, and places for gathering kai (food) in the area known as Kura Tāwhiti form an integral part of past and present tribal identity.

Kura Tāwhiti has Tōpuni status, which is a legal recognition of the site’s importance to the Ngāi Tahu tribe. The term comes from the traditional custom of chiefs extending power and authority over areas or people by placing a cloak over them.

The existing status of the land as a conservation area is unchanged, but Tōpuni status ensures that Ngai Tahu values are recognised, acknowledged and respected and Ngai Tahu take an active role in management. It recognises Ngāi Tahu mana whenua and rangatiratanga and symbolises the tribe’s commitment to conservation.”

http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/canterbury/places/kura-tawhiti-conservation-area/

At the very top of the West Coast is Karamea, a place we had originally missed out and we are so glad we didn’t pass it by this time! Despite it being less than 80km from Takaka, the Kahurangi National Park lies in the middle making it a 370km long journey around the park between the two towns. We visited the Oparara Basin which boasts limestone caves and arches 35 million years in the making. We made a couple of walking friends for the day. The guy with the ginger beard is Søren and the other we’ll just call Aussie because we didn’t actually get his name!

 

Nearly two years after we were given our camera for Christmas, we have only just discovered how to use the panoramic setting. So there are pure loads of panoramic photos! Totally lends itself to really tall limestone arches!

Photos above and below are of the Oparara Arch.

 

Below is the Moria Gate Arch, named after the ancient underground tunnels and chambers of Middle-earth in Lord of the Rings.

 

So…after a pretty long blog, that brings us up to date! Yay! And it only took me about five hours…if you made it to the end, well done!

Wwoofing back at one of our favourite places (Kimi Ora in Kaiteriteri) for a couple weeks before we head back over to the North Island to sell Mabel.

Speak soon, K xxx

Settling into life in Clyde!

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Good afternoon from a beautiful and sunny Clyde!

We now only have a little under four weeks until we leave this beautiful place, wonderful people and get back on the road. When last I wrote, we had driven through one of the worse storms New Zealand has had in recent years and we had been hit by a boulder. I’ll take off from there….Mabel was all fixed up, we bought her a new door and finally (we thought) we could start saving again. Then….

Fergus was pulled over by the police and banned until he was in possession of a New Zealand driver’s permit. We organised time off work, made an appointment at the AA in Queenstown, stopped off to buy some yummy food for dinner at Nic’s and off we went! Until Mabel died 20kms out of Queenstown. Just stopped. It was raining, I was crying and Mabel was destined for the scrapyard because we were so over her! We phoned for a tow and got dumped at a garage in town and eventually had dinner with Nic about 9pm.

Cut to the next day…the garage Mabel was left at got shitty with Ferg on the phone for leaving her overnight and had already sent Mabel back to the tow place. I might just point out here that Queenstown isn’t the friendliest of places we have been, it is mega busy all the time and everything seems to be at least double, if not triple, the cost. After some time on the phone, Ferg managed to get Mabel into a garage for the next day. I went back to Clyde with Nic that afternoon because I had work and Ferg was to drive Mabel back the next day assuming all went well with his licence conversion.

Happy days…it all worked out in the end! The garage was able to fit us in that day. Mabel has had insane amounts of money spent on her, has lots of shiny new parts and now the oldest parts of her are Fergus and I and we can get back to saving! We just need to get her a new alternator and we will be sweet as. Ferg is working all the hours he can and I’m doing split shift weekends therefore not leaving much time together. But not for long! I have turned into a hermit, trying to paint and not spend money during the days while Ferg isn’t around. Unfortunately, I have discovered ‘The Good Wife’, one of the shows I had been putting off because I knew I’d become obsessed. So now I am obsessed and in love with Juliana Margulies.

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My ‘The Good Wife’ spot!

My friend from work, Tracy, has been taking me on day trips in the area in a bid to stop me from turning into a complete recluse and to take my mind off being so homesick. Photos underneath are from a couple of weeks ago when we explored Cromwell (about 25kms from us), Wanaka and Lake Hawea (awesome picnic spot!)

Cromwell’s main street was flooded in 1990, disappearing under Lake Dunstan when the Clyde dam was completed. The Cromwell Heritage Precinct is made up of historic buildings dating back to the gold rush of the 1860’s that were saved or rebuilt on higher ground.

Underneath is a visit to another dam not far from us, Butcher’s Dam. Many of the dams in New Zealand have been developed to produce hydroelectricity. That doesn’t hugely interest me as much as how cool they are to take photos of!

And now to the most recent day trip with Tracy! Lake Dunstan and Alexandra which is a a town about ten minutes from us. We drove up to the top of the hill behind for a wee walk and some photos. There is also a giant clock on the hillside. I suppose it’s so people are never late? I don’t know.

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Top of the hill overlooking Alexandra
Up behind the clock
Up behind the hillside clock
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It’s hard to read but it says “Dunstan Mountains and Leaning Rock (Old Woman)” so I put my face beside “Old Woman”. Someone at work called me middle aged the other week so I suppose it’s funny….he’

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Lake Dunstan just past the Clyde Dam

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Top of the hill! I’ve finally figured out the panoramic setting on the camera
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Just living on the edge! Haha! Get it??
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Clyde

Unfortunately, not a lot of adventuring in the past month but lots of working! Too much working! Yoga and painting are keeping me sane and distracting me from my homesickness. Just going to be a little soppy for two seconds now…

Thank you to my Kiwi pals that are always listening; Brigitta, Nic, Kat and Tracy and thank you to everyone at home that keeps in touch; even a quick chat over messenger makes it easier though it may not seem much to you. It’s nice that nobody has forgotten us quite yet and, as our visa is up in January, we are starting to speak about coming home for a bit until our next adventure. My gorgeous friend, Norma (some folk call her Kirsten) has suggested I join a kibbutz so maybe we’ll come home and (since we’re not Jewish) start a commune…anyone up for that? We can live off the land and do yoga and be creative and happy? But then I might become what she calls a ” muesli mum” and maybe not want to be friends anymore. We’re thinking of working for a few months then maybe going to Europe or India or South America…there are so many places to go!!! If anyone is up for an adventure or even a joining us somewhere for a wee holiday, give me a shout! Anyway, I’m rambling so it’s time for bed. Or more Netflix.

Speak soon, K xxx

Friends, floods and falling boulders!

Hello everyone!!!

I just want to begin by telling you all that I managed to upload two videos to the blog. Hold your congratulations though, guys…it may have been a fluke as I have been attempting this upload for a couple of weeks with no success until now. So, now that you all know what a freaking computing genius I am, here’s what exciting things we have been up to!

Nearly four weeks ago, on Tuesday 4th July, Fegus and I drove seven hours to Christchurch airport to meet my bestie (and other half of Katie Squared) and her partner, Craig, off the plane. We managed to keep them awake long enough to grab some Mexican food for dinner before setting off for Akaroa the next day for a wander around in the rain.

 

I had to go back to work on the Friday so Fergus and I headed back home to Clyde while Katie and Craig headed south and round the bottom of the South Island along the Southern Scenic Route. The week after we met back up in Queenstown for a night. Katie and Craig threw themselves off a bridge….Fergus and I nursed an expensive round at the pub in front of the fire then met up with Nic.

 

We also treated ourselves to a couple of pretty awesome milkshake at Cookie Time. It’s a cool shop….shame about the ridiculous, short, low cut cheerleader-type outfits that they make the women that work there wear compared to the full sleeve flannel shirt and jeans that the man was wearing. Just sayin’, hey?!

Katie and Craig left Queenstown the next day to head over the hills to the West Coast and we arranged to meet back in Christchurch the next week at the end of their adventure. After a weekend back at work for me, we headed off back towards Christchurch, stopping for a couple of nights in and around Oamaru. Below are the Moeraki Boulders.

 

The Moeraki Boulders are a group of very large spherical “stones”. They are concretions that have been exposed through shoreline erosion from the coastal cliffs that back the beach and originally formed in ancient sea floor sediments around 60 million years ago. Fergus did some research into how concretions come to be spherical. Here comes the science bit- concentrate!

The word concretion is derived from the Latin ‘con’ meaning ‘together’ and ‘crescere’ meaning ‘to grow’. They are formed over millions of years from mineral precipitation around a nucleus such as a leaf or piece of fossil.

After having to call out Roadside Rescue for Mabel that morning, we decided on a proper campsite in Oamaru. Oamaru is famous for yellow-eyed penguins and we finally saw some wildlife!

 

Not only did Fergus get to see penguins…he got to play on lots of old steampunk contraptions at Steampunk HQ. Oamaru has a Victorian Precinct by the water front so is the perfect setting for such a place. It was very cool!

 

Another ropey start to the day with Mabel not starting again but I managed to convince Ferg to drive on to Christchurch to squeeze another couple of nights with Katie and Craig before they left.

 

Friday started pretty badly. A storm rolled in overnight and it was pissing down when we woke up early to get on the road. Mabel wouldn’t start so we had to wake Craig up and use their motorhome to jump start Mabel but not before running over to the Warehouse (massive shop that sells everything!) to buy jump leads. Success! We were on the dark, rainy road home by 8am but were held up about halfway by a massive road flood. Massive detour, torrential rain, epic winds and a few fights later, we were back on the road. Then it started snowing.

 

We got to the Lindis Pass (the road back into Central Otago) which is just a couple of hours from Clyde and the roads became ice and slush. After eight hours of ridiculous weather, we didn’t think it could get worse! It did!

 

So this is Mabel now. But she is alive and well…ish. We are in the process of buying her a new door and next week she is going to the car doctor next week.

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Katie…thank you soooooo much for coming to see me. And for bringing Quavers and Scottish Blend!

Off to bed because Fergus starts his new job tomorrow!!! Woop woop!

Speak soon, K xxx

Our Home for the Winter

Hey everyone!

Hope you’re having an awesome summer! It’s freezing here! Apparently we have chosen the hottest and coldest place in New Zealand to call home for the winter; Clyde in Central Otago. The further south we get, the more at home we feel. The buildings are stone and reminiscant of home, the names have become more Scottish and, most importantly, it’s fecking freezing.

I have been slowly working on this blog for weeks and I’m finally finishing it today because I am sofa-ridden. Me and the chef from work, Kat, decided to do some “wine research” for the restaurant and, after a year and a half of not much alcohol, it would seem that a bottle of wine is enough to get me sufficantly pissed! Finally…I’m a cheap date. But Fergus is looking after me and making me tea and toast and Katie brought me Scottish Blend and Quavers! Hangover cure, much?!

We left beautiful Nic in Queenstown to begin a new wwoofing adventure at Monte Cristo Raspberry Farm and were feeling a bit apprehensive. One always feels that way when heading to a new place of work especially when you are living, working and eating all of your meals with people. But all of our worries were quickly put at ease by Graham and Estelle, our awesome new hosts. They made us feel super welcome the second we got here! We’ve been here for nearly seven weeks now and are planning to stay until September, becoming a bit more like housemates to Graham and Estelle! I managed to get a job in a hotel in Clyde doing cleaning and waitressing while Ferg does the wwoofing and looks for something full time.

Graham and Estelle’s place has three fields of raspberries, a dessert cafe and a kid’s play area with a giant maze. Our first job was to rake all the autumn leaves up from the maze and then we moved on to pruning the raspberry canes. This meant pulling out last year’s growth and weeding and then wrapping the new growth round the wires and tying them in.⬇

A few weeks ago we met up with Brigitta and Travis, our friends from Kaiteriteri, and went on a wee road trip to Mount Cook and Tekapo. We drove up Lake Pukaki to Mount Cook and, after a coffee to warm up, we walked up to Tasman Glacier. That night we built a bonfire down by the lake and Brigitta made us stewed apricots and custard, yum! Tekapo the next day and, after a coffee to warm us up, we went ice skating. Awesome catch up!⬇

This is the little church, The Church of the Good Shepherd, is right on the edge of Lake Tekapo and was built as a memorial to the pioneers of the Mackenzie Country. Photography is banned inside so I couldn’t photograph the simplistic interior which consisted of a few pews either side and a huge window that looked straight out over the lake. You would be surprised as to how long it took to get a photo of the outside without another tourist in the shot.⬇

In June we spent a few days down in the Catlins, which is the bottom of the South Island, thanks to Estelle’s sister who kindly let us use her bach. Our days were spent exploring along the coast and nights were spent sitting in front of the fire, reading and watching movies. Below is Nugget Point; our favourite part of the whole trip!⬇

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Nugget Point

 

 

Underneath is Jack’s Blowhole. I don’t think the photos quite do it justice. Despite the blowhole being inland and 55 metres deep, the water is sea water which carved out the stone underground and breached the surface 200 metres inland.⬇

This is McLean Falls on Tautuku River in Catlins Forest Park. Oh my goodness, I took so many photos!⬇

This is the old Catlins River Railway. This tunnel section was completed in 1896 and the line reached Owaka (the little township where we stayed) a year later. ⬇

More waterfalls! My favourite! Purukaunui Falls this time ⬇

For our last evening we went for a walk along Surat Bay. How beautiful is it?! Magic few days away!

 

West Coast to Queenstown!

Hey everyone!

We are now wwoofing down in Clyde in Otago after a few days in Queenstown with our lovely Nic! Hot showers, a comfy bed and some quality time with one of our beautiful pals were exactly the luxuries we needed!

So starting a few weeks back because I have been lazy with our blog and I am now totally regretting it! Partly because I have to upload sooooo many photos and partly because it is hard to remember where everything was! When everything you look at is beautiful, there are a LOT of photos to sort through!

After my brother, Ross, left with his friend, Blair, we stayed behind on the West Coast to explore a little more. Below is the West Coast Tree Top Walk just outside of Hokitika and then a beautiful, little wharf out on a lake that camped beside. I love bridges and wharves!

We found this sweet as little campsite in the smallest town in New Zealand; Pukekura with a population of six. We were the only people camping that weekend so we had the kitchen and dominoes all to ourselves! Maybe the wildest Saturday night we’ve had! Bit of chill out time before starting at Wildside, our next wwoofing job.

Wildside! This was a week of hanging out with Kath and Dan and their kids, Shea and Dylan. Their lifestyle is something we quite aspire to in that they are as self-sufficient as they can be. Dan hunts and shoots all of their meat and the veggie gardens supplies nearly all of their vegetables and ingredients for their chutneys and jams. They also keep honey bees which I am definitely up for! I helped jar up some honey for selling and they keep a few jars for themselves. We had an ace time hanging out with the kids and learning about being self-sufficient.

After a week at Wildside in Hari Hari, we journeyed on to Fox Glacier.

Lake Matheson is one of the most photographed lakes in all of New Zealand because of it’s mirror-like appearance but all it takes to alter itis a breath of wind. We got up super early that day to get to the lake before the clouds surrounded the mountains so Mabel treated us to banana pancakes for breakfast afterwards!

We took the Haast Pass from the West Coast over towards Queenstown and passed by the Blue Pools and Thunder Creek Falls. You can probably figure out which is which by the name. Ferg just sees blue water and has to get in!

The rain had stopped, the sun was shining and there were rainbows guiding us along to Queenstown to see Nic! We stopped here to give Mabel a wee rest.

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We spent a few days hanging out with Nic, enjoying having a sofa to laze on and on Saturday we road tripped to Glen Orchy for a Scottish day at the general store. We listened to bagpipes, a guy called Dougie performed ‘Tam O’Shanter’ and Nic won the hammer throw in the mini Highland Games.

On our last day in Queenstown, Nic decided to punish me and take us up Queenstown Hill but I forgave her because the views were AWESOME!

First two days down in Clyde have been awesome! We are staying with a really lovely couple who have made us feel so welcome! They have just taken over a raspberry farm and dessert cafe so today we were helping to rake up leaves from the giant awesome maze (photos to follow because it’s pretty cool!) and maybe helping to prune the raspberries later in the week.

Speak soon, K xxx

Rainy Greymouth

We have been hanging out in Greymouth for the past couple of days but I won’t lie and say it was the gold and coal mining history and spectacular walks that brought us back up the coast…we needed a Warehouse. This shop is literally just a warehouse full of anything you could need for your house and we were needed some cosy clothes and a few things for the van. It’s getting cold and rainy on the West Coast! And the campsite has unlimited wifi and hot showers! The luxuries!

After a wander around the industrial town centre this morning, we drove inland a little to an old coal mine site called Brunner that has been preserved and made into a historic site. It was super interesting! Especially because there were stories about the families who had moved over from Britain in the 1800s to work in the mines. Plus I love photos of old industrial that fallen into disrepair and taken back by nature. Apologies for the many, many photos of old industrial subject matter!

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Speak soon, K xxx

Adventures with my Little Brother!!!

Hey folks!

Since last I spoke we have been back to the farm (John had an unfortunate incident with a quad bike) and fiiiinally met up with my little brother, Ross. Oh, and Blair. This is the first time we were together in fourteen months and we ended up in McDonalds for a McFlurry instead of the pub!

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As soon as they got to Nelson, I figured it was close enough for us to drive so Betsy managed to let us away for the weekend! Ross and Blair sleep super late compared to us so we had a posh breakfast of coffee and salmon in my favourite place in Nelson; Miyazu Gardens. It was necessary after a night in the most expensive campsite in Nelson!

We spent the morning at the Nelson Saturday Market (a must for any visitor!) and the afternoon at Nelson Lakes. Fergus and I picnicked while the boys kayaked.

Drove up towards Golden Bay that evening stopping at Motueka for Ross and Blair, back to Kina Beach for us. Mainly because Ferg had seen a fire bath on the beach last time we were there and wanted a shot! He woke me up at half five when he went off to build the fire but it was worth it to watch the sun rise in a hot bath.

On Sunday, we all walked the first part of the Abel Tasman Coast Track. You are yet to see a photo of Blair because every time I aimed the camera at the three of them, he awkwardly side stepped out of the frame. Don’t worry though…I got him eventually.

Ross and Blair hung around in Takaka for a couole of nights to explore and then headed down the West Coast a day ahead of us while Fergus finished up at the farm. Look how cute they are in their matching hoodies!

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We stopped off a few times to explore on the way down to meet them and thought we show how similar the West Coast here is to Scotland…you know, rainy and grey but dramatic and rugged!