Tag Archives: worth doing

Fun in the Sun

The Port Hills and Akaroa.. a neat place!

The view as you come over the hill
The view as you come over the hill

I’d forgotten what a windy old road it is to get to Akaroa but after Arthur’s Pass, it was easy. There were a lot of camper vans coming out of Akaroa so I’m pleased we didn’t do it at night.

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Lunch with a view
Lunch with a view
Enjoying the view
Enjoying the view
Fun in the water
Fun in the water
Eager Seagulls hanging about for scraps
Eager Seagulls hanging about for scraps

The weather continues to be kind to us with another great day. Water like glass and the cafes and eateries were chocker. Parking was awkward but we parked in trailer parking by the boat ramp as you first enter Akaroa. I believe this is also a place where you can overnight for free.
People were just our there enjoying themselves. It was neat to see and the locals seem very genuine with their wish to help you. Very like the west coasters.

French colour
French colour
The Bistro
The Bistro

We checked into the Top Ten campground up on the hill with a park overlooking Akaroa .. Possibly French Bay vineyards and cheese places on the way back to  Christchurch.

Majestic Mountains

A stunning part of the South Island, Arthurs Pass .. a repost

The view from our park at Jacksons Retreat
The view from our park at Jacksons Retreat

After lunch in Hokitika, we walked back over the bridge to the SouthPark NZMCA park and got ready to leave for Arthur’s pass. We were going to stay at Jacksons retreat which has won several awards as campsite of the year. They had something I’d never seen before which was 4-5 bay open side barn like structures set up for Motorhomes. While we were there, there were three tents and a Motorhome in one of them. The weather must be that rough that they have to shelter in these structures! All the Motorhome parks are set up on terraces, all getting a view of the bridge to Lake Brunner and the river. It is well setup with new clean toilets and showers and a laundry. A nice spot.
It the only place to stay on that road until Arthur’s Pass and then you’re at the mercy of the Keas!

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The old pub at Otira
The old pub at Otira

We stopped briefly at Otira and Arthur’s Pass but cruised on to Klondyke for lunch, a nicely setup stop by the river.

When's lunch!
When’s lunch!.. At Klondyke
At Klondyke in the Arthur's Pass National Park
At Klondyke in the Arthur’s Pass National Park
Klondyke in the Arthur's pass national park
Klondyke in the Arthur’s pass national park
Arthur's Pass
Arthur’s Pass
Another Arthur's Pass pic
Another Arthur’s Pass pic
Lake Pearson
Lake Pearson

I remember Arthur’s pass being a pig to get through but even with a nearly 8m Motorhome found it relatively easy.

Over the mountains on the road from Darfield to Christchurch
Over the mountains on the road from Darfield to Christchurch

We stopped regularly for piccies and eventually at Darfield for a cup of tea before we arrived at one of NZMCA ‘s larger parks at Weedons, just out of Christchurch.

Tree Tops

Another oldie but a goodie repost from the South Island..enjoy

South of Hokitika off the main road is Tree Tops. It’s an amazing set of elevated walkways in the trees supported by poles. They’re about 20-30 metres off the ground set up as bridges between platforms.

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Chris and Madam on the tour
Chris and Fiona on the tour
Chris and Madam on the walkways
Chris and Fiona on the walkways
The view of the lake
The view of the lake
The two in red on the walkways
The two in red on the walkways

There is also a tower with is about 60 odd metres up which look out over a lake and the sea.

The huge tower with Madam in the red
The huge tower with Fiona in the red

All the trees and bird life have little explanation boards at each stop and it’s all very well thought out. There is quite a big cafe there and plenty of parking for Motorhomes.

After years of climbing high things and going to stupid places to get pictures as a newspaper photographer, even up to the top of fuel silos, I couldn’t do the high tower at tree tops. Just the thought of that little bit if metal and a few bolts for each step gave me the willys.  I’m sure it’s quite safe, just me! Funny how you don’t think about these things when you’re young and silly😃

We left there and parked in the NZMCA’s park by the Hokitika bridge.

Another great night with some unusually great west coast weather!

Old stuff

Shantytown near Greymouth is always an interesting place to stop.
Some neat stuff to see.   Another old post. Enjoy

The Shantytown train and station
The Shantytown train and station

This was a great way to spend a day when I suspected that it might another tourist tatty type of setup but it was anything but. We spent a good few hours looking over the various bits of old furniture, clothing, printing equipment used by the Greymouth Star, old houses, a ride on a steam train and much much more.
After checking out a water powered stamping battery, after a small wait, we were on a steam train to check out a sawmill 1k up in the hills.

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Madam checking out the waterwheel
Fiona checking out the waterwheel

Fascinating to see the steam engines setup expressly for pulling logs out of the hills and one was operated by two pre teen brothers.

Cobb and Co buggy and shed
Cobb and Co buggy and shed
Train at the station
Train at the station
Two young boys check out the Train
Two young boys check out the Train
The Tin Pub
The Tin Pub

After this, we walked down through a gold mining town largely built of corrugated iron with a pub, a gold mining merchant and some houses.

The main street
The main street

We stopped for lunch in a reasonably priced cafe in the village and moved in to the town hotel, the church, the newspaper office, Hannah’s shoe shop, and a hospital. I’ll let the pictures tell the story from here but it was a well spent several hours and well worth doing if you’re in area – 10ks south of Greymouth

Me and Gary having a rest !
Me and Gary having a rest at the end of a long hard day!

The Pancakes

Don’t forget to click on the Images to enlarge .. oldie repost

Not far from the beach
NZMCA park at Westport

Yesterday morning, we met Jim, the custodian of the Westport NZMCA park. What a neat guy, the park is fantastic and it’s clear to see that he lives and breathes the park. We are fortunate to have people like him and other volunteers looking after our parks.

Earlier, we’d ridden the bikes into Westport town centre, about a 15 minute ride, Google reckons it 10 minutes 🙂 .. We must be slow buggers!  It took us about 20 🙂

The girls found their Postie Plus and Gary was looking for a barber. We didn’t really do much but it was nice to get some exercise in the sun and check out the town. Once back at the park, we loaded our bikes, got ready to go and we headed in to get diesel, lpg and water from Caltex.

Great outlook from Punakaiki
Great outlook from Punakaiki

We were heading then for the Punakaiki pancake rocks and blowholes. I hadn’t seen these since I was about 10 yrs old so it was nice to see. Doc has done a really good job of the pathways and it’s a fantastic feature of our landscape.

Violence in the water at Punakaiki
Violence in the water at Punakaiki
Classic look of Punakaiki
Classic look of Punakaiki
The view south at Punakaiki
The view south at Punakaiki
Fairy Terns on the rock at Punakaiki
Fairy Terns on the rock at Punakaiki
Madam and Chris on the steps at Punakaiki
Fiona and Chris on the steps at Punakaiki
The Punakaiki rocks
The Punakaiki rocks

After an hour their and lunch in the carpark, we moved on to Greymouth.
We are staying in a Motorhome park behind a service station 5 minutes walk from town. Great spot. We walked around to the Speights Ale house on the Quay for a meal. We’re moving on to Hokitika tomorrow to do the tree tops walk.

Buller Diggers

Another Oldie ..

Buller Gorge from the road
Buller Gorge from the road

Murchison was a great spot. Having water and the dump station in the park was a treat. After sorting out Rafes various tank levels, we headed towards Westport.
Once in the Buller gorge, I really wanted to get a water rushing over boulders pic but where the road was close to the river for this shot, there was no where safe to pull up a 4.4 tonne Motorhome safely.
After going through Fiona’s dark moments from the previous day for missing out on the crafts and cheese shops, I was determined to find some interesting stuff to stop at and we found it.

Motorhome parking at Lyall
Motorhome parking at Lyall
Lyall Motorhome parking
Lyall Motorhome parking

Marked on the map as a “rest area” but also listed as a DOC Motorhome overnighting area, was the old Gold mining town of Lyall. The town went bust in the 1880’s and has all gone now but there are walking tracks, several swing bridges, a cemetery and signs of old gold mining all around the area.
There were half a dozen Motorhomes and a couple of caravans, many of their owners off hiking the paths through the remains of the town.
Fiona and Chris went off for a trot and found the cemetery and some of the bridges.

The river through the trees
The river through the trees
The river form the swing bridge
The river form the swing bridge

A really interesting stop and a really sheltered spot for Motorhomes if you wanted to stay the night.
Leaving there our next stop was Inangahua where the big earthquake was centred. There is a museum there with lots of information about Lyall and the earthquake in Inangahua which is well worth a look. We also stopped at the cafe next door for the most amazing pies. Mine was Chicken curry with cashew nuts, made on site with the most amazing pastry. Chris and Gary commented on how good their pies were too.

The cutout for the road in the middle
The cutout for the road in the middle
The cutout rock over the road
The cutout rock over the road

We were back on the road and heading through the Buller gorge crossing several one way bridges and an amazing cut out of a cliff, also one way. Fiona managed to get a picture of it as we drive through it on my cell phone. I looked in the rear vision mirrors at Gary behind and there wan’t a lot if room around the van with the overhanging rock. Quite something !
Half an hour or so later, we arrived at the NZMCA park on the waterfront at Westport after a quick trip to the supermarket.

Madam on the beach
Fiona on the beach

A walk on the beach and a bbq tea and the day was done. Another great spot to stay. Blue skies and the wind has dropped off. A great day in paradise.

Dawn on Farewell Spit

This is something every Kiwi should do.. fantastic trip done in late 2015 early one morning.  Enjoy.

Madam with the Bedfird Bus
Madam with the special Bedford Bus

After a night of rockin and rollin with the wind( I thought that only happened on boats!), we were up a 6am to drive to the Spit to meet the tour bus. Nobody had really had any sleep since 3am when the big puffs came through but we were all looking forward to a great trip so it didn’t matter. The wind was blowing 30-40 knots creating a mini constant sand storm.

A tree washed out from Golden Bay with the bus
A tree washed out from Golden Bay with the bus

The bus picked us up from the carpark at 7am from a paddock next to some forestry equipment.  This is set around the tide so we could get back safely. There were about 8 of us on the bus and off we went.

We headed down the beach. The trip is about 30ks to the end of the spit.

The dunes under the lighthouse
The dunes under the lighthouse

We stopped briefly to check out a tree which had been blown around from the bay around the end of the spit and washed up on the northern ocean side and got buried in the sand.

After crossing a creek and about 45 minutes, we arrived at the lighthouse and to have a cup of tea and muffin in the lighthouse keepers old house. This has been done up and maintained by the Eco tour operators and DOC and was in its original form as it was when the lighthouse keepers left in the early 80’s. Some of the lighthouse keepers families have donated pictures as they were at the light. The history and artefacts on display are amazing. I didn’t realise that the lights ran on kerosene, like a gas light with a mantle right up until the early 50’s in some if these lighthouses.

The lighthouse
The lighthouse
Madam leaning into the wind
Madam leaning into the wind

Back to the bus and we were off to have a wander in a sand dunes. The wind was howling by this stage so the sand was flying.

Footprints leading up from the Bus
Footprints leading up from the Bus 

After a trip to Fossil point to look at some fossils of shells. ( I found Gary 🙂 ).  After that we were dropped off back at Rafe in the paddock.

A must do trip for every Kiwi, I thoroughly recommend it.