Back to Christchurch. Homeward Bound.

Wednesday through to Saturday, the end of a wonderful holiday.

Woke to a lovely sunny day, white frost on the ground so pretty. We did all our bits and cleaned up before heading to Christchurch.  On the drive towards Christchurch I have noticed how early all the blossoms are out, and bunches of Daffadills on the side of roads and in farmers paddocks really a lovely sight. We arrived at my cousins place at 2.30 pm so for the next couple of days we will be visiting hospital, cleaning camper and emptying and refilling everything before taking it back on Friday. Friday night all my whanau came around and we had a feed together, was great catching up with those that could make it.

Heading into Christchurch

This was taken while we were driving, heading back to my cousins place in Christchurch.

Saturday 4th

Was a rough flight home as a front was heading from Australia towards the west coast of NZ, all is well, we got home. Was a great holiday, look forward to the next trip.

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Moeriki Boulders.

Tuesday 28th August.

Down at the boulders very early, very cold but no wind or rain so yipppeee. Well the sunrise was nothing to yippee about but still got some ok shots, practised with the 400 ND filter to fog the water. Get to carried away I ended up with sea water in my ski boots just to get the right shot, as one does, so painful when the water is like ice, so headed back up the track to camper, had brekky and then started to rinse the salt water off tripod and boots, did a wash and did a run out to the bird hide up at the light house at Moeriki  what a lovely drive thru the farmlands. Got to the bird hide thinking this was going to be a waste of time, and being 3 pm BUT, what a surprise, only there for a very short time and saw a yellow eyed penguin coming out of the water, then another, they only have a short stroll up a sandy patch past the Hooker sea lions and into the cover, but the conservation have made all these little A frame as houses for them and they use them so neat. We where just sitting there very quietly and all of a sudden heard a penguin call right under the window, so it was just about to close, so beautiful we just sat there watching it, he knew we were there, but stayed very quiet and only whispered. In this small area we saw, the penguins, Hooker sea loins on the rocks, Molly hawks, wax eyes and green-eyed spotted shags, I really thought it was a waste of time, so you can imagine how thrilled we were, was worth the climb down, but now we have to climb back out. When we got back to camp the washing was dried so now we can hit the road.. Saw a Mopoke on the side of road on some road kill, most unusual this time of day and in sun. It was getting late so decided we would pull of at the next camping or free spot, at St Andrew’s old show grounds there were camping signs so in we go, well what a neat place, just like a paddock with some power, suits us. $15 a night powered. Now 5. 20 pm tired so much excitement. Have just found out my cousin has been taken to hospital for heart attack so we will be going straight thru to Christchurch tomorrow.

Moeraki Boulders

This photo was taken before the sun rose, the light was unbelievable, this is a wonderland.

Moeriki Boulders

These children look quiet small as the boulders are very large.

Off to the Albatross Colony.

Monday 27th August.

8.40 am and on the road again heading to Dunedin, going to the Albatross colony. Wow, what a shock heading into Dunedin and out to the Otago Peninsula, traffic, hate it, we have been bush to long, but called into see the Lanarch Castle, not impressed, you have to pay even to go into the gardens so we got out of there. Went to Sandfly Bay, sea lions were laying on the beach, the wind was sooooo strong and sooooooooooooo bitterly cold we chose not to go down the hill to the beach only stayed at the lookout. Very overcast as well. By the time we walked back to the camper it was drizzling and felt like sleet, bbbbbrrrrrrrr. When we got to Taiaroa Heads the winds haven’t changed, lovely drive around the water’s edge, which is the harbour of Dunedin. They are doing a lot of alterations to the walk ways as there has been some slips. But we still went where we could, got to see a couple of juvenile albatross’ soaring in the air above the light house. Saw Green eyed spotted Shags, they are really pretty and have some very funny antic’s, so did a couple of short video’s with my camera. We have just heard that there is storm warnings out for the area, no wonder it’s so windy and cold. It’s pouring with rain on the west coast, just been speaking with my sister-in-law. Went up to the Lodge Cafe and had a bit to eat, what a view on a nice day. Off we go, could not tolerate the traffic once we got back onto the road into Dunedin, so made the decision to high tale it to no 1 highway. Head to Moeriki Boulders. Got to the camping grounds, really nice place, $29 powered site, went to get some shots of the boulders before sunset, pretty dark but gave us the pre look before we come back pre dawn. We made a decision to head back onto Christchurch  after here rather than go Omarama way. We thought we saw lightning, but was speaking to the owner and it’s called Fire storm like auroras, real pretty.

Rolling Hills Otago

This is on the road out to the Otago peninsula, lovely steep rolling green hills.

Green eyed spotted shag

This Green Eyed Spotted Shag was really giving me a show with all sorts of dances trying to attract a mate.

Penguins at Roaring Bay.

Saturday 25th August.

We were up before the alarm 5.30 am as I could hear the Penguins calling, when we got down there they were already on the move, but luck has it they moved as slow this morning as they did last night so we got to sit and just watch and listen, 2 1/2 hours later the sunrise which is at 7.45 am was no good, to much cloud but it’s not windy so not to cold. Real honour to sit and watch these beautiful creatures. Back at camp 9 am for brekky. Walked around the camp and check it all out, this place is awesome and has so much character, toilets are made of split pine and corrugated iron, showers and kitchen are made inside big concrete water tanks and all unisex. Lovely paintings on the outside. On our way to McLean falls we saw a sign saying  the smallest Niagara Falls, so we turned off to take a look, bit of a joke really maybe great in the wet season, but they are saying they are NZ Niagara Falls, nothing like it. It was interesting though along the river banks there are like little cribs along side on the banks and the whitebait fishermen stay in them when the whitebait are running. We did the walk into Maclean Falls, about a 20 min walk each way, takes us longer as there is so many photo’s to take, such a lovely spot. Got back to the camper at 2.30 pm and had lunch at the car park. Carried onto Purakanunui Falls, these     are beautiful. Got to Nugget Point, the drive in is beautiful, saw Penguins at Roaring Bay but it got a bit dark so will get down first thing in the morning, we are free camping in the car park at Nugget Point. Big day today.

Lower Falls, McClean

These falls are the Lower McClean’s falls.

Kotukutuku, Fuchsia Native Tree

These trees are just so colourful, they are called Kotukutuku or Fuchsia Native Tree.

Purakaunui Falls

Sunday 26th

Rained most of the night but woke to the sun shinning. We walked out to the Nugget Point Light house, quiet step in places and it was very early so not to warm, it’s only 2 km return, amazing rock formations out at the point. We had brekky and hit the road. Drove along the coast to Kaka Point, called into the van park to fill up with water, ran into a young couple that we had been talking to at Penguin Cove, they said it’s so nice here, only $27 a night for power so will remember that for future, kitchen was big and very homely. The bird life, they had all sorts. Took some photo’s of the Balclutha bridge, got some food from New World and filled up, we are heading for Mosgiel. Arrived at the Mosgiel Show grounds, they have a wee camping ground here and it’s really lovely, small, $27 for powered which is pretty standard, but the washing machines, dryers and showers are free, kitchen has  everything for one to use, the shower is like having a massage, wonderful place, here I caught up with my nephew. Did a big wash, cook up for the next few days and used their showers, so feel pretty normal again.

Nigget Point Lighthouse.

Up half an hour before sun up and as we headed to the lighthouse the golden glow was awesome and the lighting was magic, worth the effort.

Heading to the Bluff.

Thursday 23rd August.

Up earlier this morning and had our breakfast, cleaned up and hit the road. Had a few stops along the way to Haast, did some water falls, but not a lot of water flowing at the moment, we have noticed all the lake levels are low, the locals are saying the it’s been real poor with snow levels and even though they get a lot of rain, the amount of snow melts really does help the dam levels. We have clear skies, stopped at Lake Hawea and had lunch down at the lake, it really is a magic spot. Saw Rocky Range and called into Butchers Dam and Lake Dunstan has lovely reflections it’s on the way to Cromwell, in the Roxborough area. Stayed at Miller’s flat camp ground, $14 each, nice clean spot, bit run down, the owners are lovely.

Lake Dunstan

Lake Dunstan and it’s lovely reflections. Smoke from fire in the background adds to the moodiness of the scene.

Lake Hawea

This is the view as we headed over the Haast Pass and heading towards Wanaka.

Friday 24th

Woke to a frost, even the water out of the hose in the tap is hanging out by about 10 inch and is frozen. 8.14 am and ready to hit the road, did all the dumps and refills once we broke the ice up. Called into Gore, town of the country music, NZ’s Tamworth. They also boast trout. We had a good run down to Invercargill, called into see my Dads grave at Lumsden. Didn’t stop in Invercargill carried on down to the Bluff, I really liked it there, very windy and very cold, coming straight up from the Antarctic. It had very low clouds but could still see Stewart Island. Was very hard taking photo’s at the look out due to the wind, nearly blows you over. Saw interesting things, like chocks in paddocks with sheep and or cows all happy together. Had a feed of fish & Chips and it them down at the wharf. Left the bluff about 1 pm and started for the Catlins. To get to Curio Bay we made a wrong turn and ended up 28 km out of our way but got to see some nice country side along the way, when we got to the causeway and saw the sign to go over to the Tiwai smelting then I realised we had come the wrong way. No worries, turned around and got back on track and got to Curio camp grounds at about 4.30 pm. Took photo’s on our way in and what a great place. Got the camera’s and went straight down to the Penguins, we have been told that they head back up out of the water into their nesting place at about 4.30 pm onward until dark so will sit it out. Of course the sun has gone behind of the hills so the bay is in shadow and quiet dark due to the cloudy weather,  but we saw 10 Penguins, love there calls, but I was amazed at how slow they came up the beach and over the rock, I assumed they would leave the water and rush up to their hide away, but they took nearly 1 1/2 hours, by this time it was really to dark to get decent shots,  now a few spits of rain so headed back to the camper, will be down here 1st shooting light and wait, bbbrrrrrrrrrrr it will be cold.

HMS Wreck, Bluff

Came across this boat HMS was all we could read, certainly seen better days. This is not far from an old boat house at the Bluff.

Hokitika and Fox Glacier.

Saturday 18th August.

Big frost at Turnbull. Slept well, had brekky and got organised ready to head up the West Coast. Got away 10.am. Up the coast we couldn’t go into Ship Creek, I was so disappointed, they are doing maintenance on the parking area while things are quiet. Stopped in at Lake Paringa for morning smoko. Pretty place but not good reflections. At Hunts beach area took photo’s of the Our Lady Of The River church, this time the weather was a bit better than the last visit. Our trip up the West Coast is fine, warm and sunny so feeling pretty happy about that, the air is cool though. Went into Lake Matheson but cloud was so low on the top of Mt Cook and Tasman so decided not to waste time as we may get it on the way back down the West Coast in a few days. Went into Fox Glacier and it was good enough to get a view of the glacier, well worth the walk in, just started to rain as we were ready to leave. We stayed the night at a doc’s camp, MacDonald creek,  $6 a night here. 1080 poison signs up all along the west coast, absolutely disgusting, it is effecting the bird life, I have noticed not as many birds around at some of the camps, most unusual. They are dropping it by choppers and it doesn’t always go where they expect it to, so even into the water ways, it’s just criminal, don’t get me  better get off this subject. Did late star trails.

Fox Bluff

Fox Glacier veiw

Fox Glacier

These top 3 images are at Fox Glacier, south Island, just the most  incredible place, the bluff is huge, the glacier it’s self is so big, when people are walking across the top they are so small in comparison. We could hear the booming going on at the face of glacier, we were standing in behind a barrier and it said we were 200 metres away from the glacier.

Sunday 19th

Very cold, had brekky and got away about 9 am. Up further we called into the Bushman’s Centre,  Pukekura, had a cuppa and just looked around, they have so much gear in there shop and some of the sign are hilarious, I have them which I will put into the gallery side of this Blog when finished. The owners are finding it hard as all the big organisations make it difficult for the wee one man band business, so we love to support these sorts of places. Popped into Lake Mahinapau before the big tourist place goes up which the earth works have already started, so this is the end of this lovely natural place. Got to Hokitika at about 1 pm, we are staying with family for 2 nights.

:)  Monday 20th

Had a real nice day, chatting and catching up on all the family members that I hadn’t seen for some time and other who live overseas. No Internet coverage here on my Dongal or mobile phone. Tuesday 21st,15 deg today wow, it’s hot, been awhile since I was this warm, good for drying the cloths before we hit the road again.  Stan went for a hair cut so got him to drop us off at the beach to get some shots, when Stan came and picked us up we went back to Rimu and picked up Myrna and headed off up to Dorothy falls and Lake Kanerie. This is in the Hokitika Gorge, really is a lovely place and the colour of the water at times is unbelievable.  While we were doing a walk thru the bush came across an artist that had been down the lake side painting, so chattered awhile, very interesting chap. We hadn’t eaten and all starting to feel a bit wobbly so headed home, time fly’s when you’re having fun, forget to eat, ha-ha. Had a clean up in the camper, as we are heading off in the morning for Invercargill.

Dorothy Falls Swing Bridge over Kanarie Gorge

Wednesday 22nd

Time to get brekky and head off, sad to be leaving these members of my family, but grateful for the time we have had, it was over due. Got away about 10 am, went into Hokitika and grabbed a few stores and trying to find a tea strainer that looks like a ball on a handle, mine broke.  Called into the Bushman’s Centre again as Don really likes my cap I bought on my way up. From there we carried on down to Ship Creek, we had decided we were going to see if we could get into the place safely, as we crossed over the bridge I could see a board walk which I didn’t know was there, so we found a safe place to pull off and went to check it out, Yes we can get down there and so we started wondering along, so beautiful and the Kahikatea’s are really magic, they call them the Dinosaur’s trees. We heard the last of the workers trucks leave and by the time we got back to the bridge we just carried on up to the beach, the reflections of the Kahikatea’s were not good as a breeze had got up and the sky was getting real dark with black clouds so we got the shots we wanted and headed back to the camper. We decided as it was getting late we would go straight thru to Pleasant’s Flat, that’s where we stayed the night, doc’s camping. We had the gas heater on tonight pretty cold.

Hokitika

This clock is quite a symbol for the town, Hokitika lovely place.

Kahikatea's at Ship Creek

A very interesting place, Ship Creek, there was a ship that was wrecked here from Australia. The forest in the back ground known as Kahikatea, are also known as Dinosaur trees. They have some amazing shapes.

Glendhu Bay.

Friday 17th August.

Stayed the night at Glendhu Bay, a real nice van park, it’s on the way to Mt Aspiring. I’m up at 5.30 am and out doing star trails, the sky is clear with the hint of twighlight and the stars are still in the sky, magic. Very white with frost. We got cleaned up and left at 9.30 am and its 2 deg. We were going to look around Wanaka, but when we got into town we decided to many people lets just get out of here. At lake Hayes the sun was really in the wrong place as it has been many times but we used the ND filters sometimes it helps and other times not. This is our 1st really fine day so we are lapping it up. Travelling over the Haast was so nice, we called into Haast supermarket to get some bits as we are heading for Jackson’s Bay. This is a great road, lovely scenery, no freedom camping, dam.  After looking around we came on back to Turnbull to a Family Holiday Park $14 a night. A really nice place to stay. Only a short drive down the Jackson Bay Rd from Haast.

Glendhu Bay, Wanaka Glendhu Bay, I’m up early before the sun rises and there are still a few stars in the sky.

Glendhu Bay, from caravan park.

This is the view from the van park at Glendhu Bay.

Lake Hawea

Lake Hawea before heading over to the Haast Pass and West Coast. This Lake has so many pretty beach like spots, it’s worth spending a bit of time here. :)

Lake Wakatipu.

Thursday 16th August.

Beautiful fine day.  Got up early and went down to the shore line as the sun was coming up over the hills, what a sight, so got some shots. We had a great trip to Wanaka via Cardrona. Stopped at the lookout, it was blowing a gale and so hard to take photo’s. Got to Lake Hayes and stopped there for a look around then carried onto Arrowtown, walked the streets and the old buildings have really been looked after, bought some lunch and headed onto Glendhu Bay, lovely spot, great van park $16 each a night for power, so quiet and the views are lovely. I did a big cook up again to last over the next few days, recharged everything up for the next round. We went down and looked at the Shotover Bridge, old and new, we were lucky enough to get a speed boat coming thru both ways.

Lake Wakatipu in first light This is the first light that was peeping in over the hills onto the foreshores of Lake Wakatipu, even the mud flats look lovely in this lighting.

Shot-over River

This is a view from the old shot-over bridge looking up the Kawarau river towards the new shot-over bridge, the edge of the Remarkable’s in back ground. Kawarau Jet boat came through as well.

Arrowtown

Arrowtown, the way it’s all set out, takes one back in time, beautiful food, wines and shops. A must to see.

From Cardrona Range

This is the view from top of the Crown range going to Cardrona/Wanaka. Queenstown is down on the waters edge, great view of the valley. It was so windy could hardly stand up straight  to get the photo.

Queenstown and Milford.

Tuesday 14th August.

Left Deer Flat about 8.30 am to head to Milford, weather is looking promising, cloud should blow away by the time we get down there. Well it did clear real quick, by the time we got to the tunnel. We went and booked the boat cruise for 11 am to 12.40 pm so it would not make it to late to head back up to the tunnel. Boat trip was magic, saw dolphins, seals and penguins, was very cold but clear skies. Had lunch at the Cafe to warm up then did some wandering around, checked out Donald Sutherland’s grave, headed back out of Milford at 2 pm and took photos along the way, decided to stay at Deer Flats again, could stay there for a week, so nice. 5.30 pm time to be off the road, good timing.

Milford Sounds Milford sounds, Mitre Peak in the back ground. Snow was pretty scarce but still a magnificent sight.

Wednesday 15th

Had a good night, headed off at 8 am. Checked out mirror lakes again for a calm waters but not to be, that breeze is just too much.We went to Te Anau and had to replace the heater, went to supermarket then had lunch down by the lake Te Anau, while sitting there I looked across the road and here is a wee church made of all glass, so we went over and checked it out, just amazing, only for weddings and the view for the people having the ceremony, they look straight out to the lake and mountains. When we were finished there we carried onto  Queenstown. Got some shots of the Remarkable’s, trying to catch up with a nephew of mine there, he’s still working away from home so tuff luck, we stayed the night at Frankton really nice old park, $20 bucks a head not bad for powered site. Our N.D. filters are helpful in the middle of the day when we have sunshine. We were going on the Earnslaw TSS but they were having big fire burn off’s so I was not going to pay to look at smoke. So we recharged everything up again and downloaded images. All the water for the people of  Queenstown comes from Lake Wakatipu, so there is no water charges.

Glass Church. Te Anau

This church is for weddings and is of glass, the view is Lake Te Anau.

Remarkables

The Remarkable’s, Queenstown, as usual the weather is very overcast, but you just make the most of it. We were lucky the clouds did lift for awhile enough to get some shots.

TSS Earnslaw

Beautiful boat, TSS Earnslaw on Lake Wakatipu coming in to berth at the wharf, Queenstown, a real magic spot.

Cromwell district then heading to Milford.

Sunday 12th August.

Checked the weather  again and still best to flip the itinerary and go west. Before we left we went up the farm with Liz to bring the sheep down to lower paddocks, the dogs do all the work, thank goodness, very steep country. Was a lot of fun. Said our cheerio’s for now and thanked them very much for everything, such nice people, country folk. It rained most of the way from Omarama, we are staying at the Holiday park, Kingston Motels,  excellent park, we had hot showers and did a wash, changed the cloths and ate, feel like a million dollars now. :) Called into Cromwell on our way thru. Woke at 7.45 am Monday today and we are all set to move. Rained all night, bitterly cold. Tui’s singing in the trees, such a lovely sound. We came thru Lumsden, popped up to my dads grave. Checked out the camping ground to see if Jason was there, the place is owned by a new chap who has changed things and I think it will grow.  We carried on to Lake Manapouri, weather still no good so not wasting money on the boat trip so went onto Te Anau.  Had a cuppa in camper and a bite to eat down by the lake. Heading off to Milford. Stopped at Mirror Lakes no mirror images to windy but still pretty, cloud still low so goodness knows what it’s going to be like at Milford. We stayed the night at a doc’s camp, $5 a head, Deer Flats, just lovely, we tucked into the bushes by the Deer stream to keep out of the wind. Sand flies are still bad. I cooked up a feed to last another two nights, weather trying to clear, one more night may just help for tomorrow, at Milford. We had this wee bird a bush wren hanging about it was so funny. Then 3 bunnies came out of the thickets just before dark, they were playing around and I could see one of the parents way down the road. The chemical long drops at the doc camps are really clean and no smell. Filled up the hotty tonight, its dammmmmmmmmmm cold.

Old Cromwell Town This is Old Cromwell town been preserved, they flooded the actual town and moved what they could to higher ground.

Fruit Town, Cromwell

Cromwell is well known for it’s magnificent fruit. Their dried apricots are my favorite.

Lake Dunstan

Such a tranquil spot, Lake Dunstan was made by the flooding of the Clyde and Clutha rivers for the Dam  at Cromwell.