Days 30 to 33 – Christchurch to Auckland

Day 30 – Thursday 10/4
Caught a shuttle out to the Airport and picked up the Motorhome that we’re relocating to Auckland. A 6 berth VW. Drove into town and picked up all our gear and north at 10.30am.
We pretty much just kept driving and stopped at Kiakora for lunch. There was snow on the nearby peaks:

There is some spectacular scenery along this whole coastline. Headed for Blenhiem where we spent the night with my cousin again.

Day 31 – Friday 11/4
Headed for Picton and caught the ferry over Cook Strait to Wellington. It was a calm crossing which suited everyone but me: I wanted to see green water coming over the bow 🙂
It was 5pm before we got off the boat and headed north. Passed this Moto Guzzi powered 3 wheeler on the way out of town.

We drove 200klms to Wanganui and stopped for the night in the RSA carpark.

Day 32 – Saturday 12/4
Drove around Wanganui and had look at some of the heritage sights before driving NW to Hawea then North and East around Mt Egmont/Taranaki which we drove up. Norma loved the sheep and cattle:


Kept going through New Plymouth and up the west coast. The weather remained perfect and the scenery was great.
Inland to Te Kuiti then out to the coast again at Kawhia and Raglan where we parked at a POP at the local Club. We watched 2 games of Super14 Rugby. ACT Brumbies beat the Auckland Blues much to the disgust of everyone except me 🙂
This was a very long day for us. In Aus I’d drive 520klms before morning tea if we were travelling like this, but over here it was an 8 hour day of solid driving.

Day 33 – Sunday 13/4 Final Day
Left Raglan early and drove backroads out to Huntly then up the highway to Auckland. Just a drive. We washed the motorhome and filled it with fuel and gas etc. Before going to Pakuranga where we had a family lunch at my sister’s place. A fitting end to a wonderful trip.
It started raining as we got into Auckland. We had the most amazing weather for our whole trip; only 3 days of rain and 2 of those were where we wanted it to rain. Almost like God was smiling on us, which I’m sure He was.

We have had a truly wonderful time which we are so thankful for, its like everything was layed on just for us. It’s now Monday 14/4 at my Mum’s place and the weather has set in to rain for the next 4 days but we’re not complaining. We’re going up to Whangarei to visit Hugh and Anne today.

Home to Aus on Thursday.

Chow and God Bless you, and thanks for reading all this.


Day 28 & 29 – Christchurch

We’ve been on the road for 4 weeks now and it’s good to just relax and visit the sights.
We started with a BIG breakfast and then coaught a bus out to the Airport where the Antarctic Expedition Center is located. This where the USA and NZ send their people to the Antarctic and they have an excellent interactive tourist facility. We did a few things including simulating a -45 degree freeze.

After this we went back into town and visited the Christchurch Cathdral and climbed the spire.

Then it was ‘Punting On The Avon’, the river that winds its way through Christchurch. A very pleasant experience; the poor punter had quite a job getting us (there were 6 aboard) back upstream against the current.

So that was a good day adding to NZ’s economy. Tomorrow its on the road again and head for Auckland.

Day 24 – Mt Cook, Hamner Springs, Kaiapoi

Reasonably early start today – 8am haha. Out through Oxford and Rangiora where the truth was revealed that Kiwis still drive some really old vehicles; these things, and a couple more, were belching smoke and spitting sparks and holding up the traffic, which is what a lot of the cars over here still do :)) Sorry to all the the Kiwis reading this.


Continued on after a couple of stops up to Hamner Hot Springs and had a bit of a soak for about an hour before heading back towards Christchurch.
We stopped at the Waiau River Gorge for a late lunch: another one of my panoramas here. There’s bungy jumping from the bridge, jet boating up the gorge from under the bridge, clay bird shooting just to the right of the bridge on the river flat, a sheep dog trial course in the middle of the shot then it stretches away into the foothills of the southern alps.

A bit further along came across this rock formation called ‘Frog Rock’ and couldn’t resist the temptation – just for you ‘Froggy’ if you’re reading this.

We stopped at Kaiapoi for the night, which is about 20klms on the northern side of Christchurch.
If you’re wondering why we’re pushing it along and doing a bit of a circuit route its because we have a chance of selling the motor home in Christchurch on Sunday, so we’re trying to get to see as much as possible before that.


Day 27 – Christchurch

Well its been quite an eventful day today, altho we haven’t been anywhere.
We are now part of the great unwashed homeless throng. That’s right, the van is sold. Packed all our gear last night and handed it over mid morning. Photo of us packed and waiting for new owners and also picture of proud and happy new owners. A good outcome for all.


So we’ve moved into a Back Packers right in the heart of beautiful but wet Christchurch for the next 3 nights.
I mentioned yesterday about Cathedral Junction and John Britten. Well we found his company offices just around the corner this afternoon. Quite fascinating for someone into bikes with a difference – I ride an Italian bike, a Moto Guzzi, for those who don’t know.
There’s not to many people can say they’ve sat on one of these legendary bikes, so:


Oh, and I bought the T Shirt which is also a 1st for me. There’s a heap of Britten bike stuff here including the 600cc 75bhp single cylinder motor that he was developing at his death in 1995; now that would have been some motor.


Day 25 & 26 –

Day 25 – Saturday 5 April
Headed for Christchurch. It’s weird driving into what you think is a big city and you’re driving through farmland only 2klms from the City Centre.
But what an absolutely gorgeous City Centre it is. It virtually has every old building that was ever built.
We did a conducted Tram Tour of the city which pointed out all the places of interest. One interesting point for me was that where the trams leave from is Cathedral Junction


This was a project that John Britten was developing just prior to his death. I read about it in his biography and it is sad to see that it was never completed to his specifications which were quite elaborate and eco friendly.
Seeing as we needed to be back in town by tomorrow afternoon to sell the van we headed for Lyttleton where we called in and saw Nicole Dean’s mum. This is Christchurch’s port.

From there it was down to Banks Peninsular and famous Akaroa. This is where the French navy landed around 1840 to claim NZ for France only to find the British navy already anchored. Just think I could be speaking French ::)) This panorama looks down into the valley and bays of Akaraoa with the quaint little seaside village away in the distance.

We camped beside the bay and woke to this view:

Day 26 – Sunday 6 April
Had breakfast by the bay at Akaroa along with all the other tourists. This place has a heap of french names because the French did colonize it even if they didn’t get to own NZ.
Headed back to Christchurch for the appointment with the prosepctive van buyers. On the way we washed and polished and shined and pampered it like its never had before.
It looks like its sold, the people who came through from Queenstown (450klms and 6 hrs driving) will make a final decision early in the morning but it seems promising.
So tonight we’ve packed up all our gear in the obligatory red, blue and white plastic carryall bags and we’ll be camping under a bridge with all the other homeless folk of Christchurch tomorrow night – hopefully.

Day 23 – Mt Cook, Tekapo, Geraldin, Mt Hutt, Sheffield

A crisp clear dawn and this was the view from the van window. Pretty amazing.


Took another couple of early morning shots on the way out as well.

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We continued on to Lake TeKapo and visited the Observatory which is on top of a really high hill (it’d be a mountain in Oz) which is in the middle of a VAST plain surrounded by really high mountains; quite a spectacular view for 360 degrees.
On through Fairlie, Geraldine and Mt Hutt stopping along the way for morning tea, lunch and any other excuse.
Norma had a go at driving for about 60klms between Geraldine and Mt Hutt, which was quite an experience for all aboard 🙂
We have stopped at a Park Over Property in Sheffield for the night.


Day 22 – Clydevale, Alexandra Cromwell Twizel Mt Cook

Had a bit of rain last night (that’s why the river rose) but today is fine and clear albeit a bit cold, but I’m still wearing shorts.
We headed off  for the moutains through the gold mining belt of Otago. This area is now a contrast between prosperous farming/fruit cropping and some pretty desolate looking country.
Past Alexandra we stopped at a couple of hydro dams. It seems there’s hydro dams all over the place in the South Island. Anyway, they make for some remarkeable lakes, like this one at Cromwell.


We’d already been through Cromwell on our way  from Wanaka to Queenstown but we continued on through the Lindas Pass with its rugged landscape.

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Then onto Omarama and Twizel and then Mount Cook. If you don’t do anything else, you’ve got to see Mt Cook up close and personal. We tramped in over rugged terrain for an hour to get this photo and it was getting late so the color is a little off.

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Camped the night under another mountain that looked like it could drop its glacier on us at any moment. It had snowed up here last night so it was very cold tonight.


Day 21 – Dunedin Balclutha Clydevale

Another glorious day after a cold night, but the darn alternator has packed it in again 😦
So its into Dunedin for the day to do a bit of the tourist thing. What a lovely city. Visited a museum and just managed to stop Norma from pinching this bike 🙂 She was muttering something about generating electricity to power her hair dryer.


Also, here’s one for the Wozza and the rest of the hog boys (can anyone tell me why they call them Hogs?)


Then wondered around town for a while, visited the Railway Station where the Sports Hall Of Fame is. It was great to browse around the Hall of Fame and revisiting old glories:


before it started raining so went for a  run out the Otago Peninsular before heading back for Balclutha to get the new alternator rebuilt. New rectifier or something and she was good to go so we headed for Clydevale and free parked on the edge of the Clutha River. I got up during the night and noticed the river was rising so we got out of there before we were in command of a boat.
This is where Clydevale is – its just a pub and a bridge.


Day 20 – To Dunedin

Up early and on our way. We followed the coast a lot today with some of the road being gravel. We didn’t hand around a lot because it turns out the alternator is dead so we need to get that fixed.
We did stop at a couple of places: this lake which I can’t remember its name, ‘very pretty lake’ we’ll call it. Got to it by walking through same lovely native forest.


Also stopped here, at Nugget Point. Quite an amazing view. The panorama doesn’t really do it justice. There’s lots of seals and other ugly sea life down on those rocks.


This Valley Vista looked quite remakable as well.


Passing through Balcluthe we stopped for some reason or another and it just happened to be outside an auto electrician. Alternator was very dead and battery was close to expiring. We managed to resurrect the battery but alternator was toast so $380 and 4 hours later we were on our way with full electrics. This was the 12volt system that died, the truck itself is 24volts and has a different alternator.
So onto Outram which is only 20klms or so from Dunedin. We’re free parking at some remote reserve and it sounds like Jurasic Park out there. I’ve assured Norma that I’ll save her 🙂
Tomorrow its on to Dunedin.


Day 19 – Invercargill

Another wondeful day. I was up early for a bit of a walk around downtown Invercargill. Another lovely clean city.
We went to church at City Impact Church which I’d seen on my walk. It was a good service and we enjoyed ourselves. Downtown afterwards we were approached by a bloke and his wife who were interested in the motorhome so we talked to them for a while and it turned out that he rode a Suzuki Volucia 800 and had known Burt Munro. He pointed us to the beach where Munro did a lot of his speed trials; it goes on for miles:


He also told us where the actual bike was so Norma insisted we go and see it 🙂 There it was, in a hardware shop along with Munro’s 500cc Velcoette (?). What an amazing thing to get up close and personal with those bikes.


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There was an old guy there who knew Munro from the early days and we had a good chat; he reckoned the man was mad.
The owner of the shop came and spent quite a bit of time with me.


His Dad had had a lot to do with the whole affair and he’d bought the bikes off Munro not long before he died. He known Munro from his earliest childhoodand  also affirmed that the man was quite mad.

So if you’re ever in Invercargil (one ‘l’ to save ink) get along to E Hayes Hardware on Dee Street and walk down the back past all the other old bikes and bits and you’ll see a piece of history.
If you’re not into bikes, well just ignore all the preceeding, but I reckon you’re quite mad :))

From there we went out to Bluff


 and then continued on our way, heading East for 20klms or so to Fortrose where we free parked for the night.