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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.”
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