I have not got far with getting this blog going have I! Having enjoyed two months travelling in our new campervan around the South Island we had a wonderful time revisiting places already been before and exploring new ones. Highlights were our visit to Stewart Island where we stayed in the South Pacific Hotel.The old historic original hotel on the waterfront at Oban. We did several lovely tramps including a trip out to Ulva Island....the bird sanctuary. We saw a variety of birds rarely seen, and walked every track on this small island.
Walking the Hollyford Valley was a fantastic experience. Three days walking through pristine bush with a small group of 16 and not another person to be seen except the 4 at the very end of the track. We stayed in lodges with our meals cooked for us.....delicious venison, salmon, vegetables with cakes and snacks and fruit. We certainly didn't go hungry. Sleeping on a bed after a hard days walking was lovely! Bard, our guide was a wonderful teller of tales. He knew all the local characters and stories of the pioneers who lived out here in incredibly basic conditions. With a jetboat ride into the track and a helicopter ride out this was a very special experience. Topped off by an overnight cruise of Milford Sound to finish off a once in a lifetime experience.
I was thrilled with the knife I made at a day long course at Barrytown on the West Coast. Starting the morning with a lump of steel and finishing with a beautiful knife that had a brass mid piece, wooden handle and shaped to my own design it was a great sense of achievement.The others doing the course were a mix of tourists...some felt it was the best thing they had done in New Zealand, a butcher planning to return and make another knife and one of the cooks on the Hollyford Track. Sam was on leave when we went through but his co workers assured me he loved his knife and used it all the time for chopping up the venison and other meats.
We spent a few lovely days in the Catlins staying at a remote DOC camp beach which was beautiful.We walked to Cathedral Cave and just enjoyed the natural beauty.
Having taken our bikes we did a few new tracks.The Spooner Tunnel near Nelson was most enjoyable. We were taken to the tunnel and then rode through the tunnel about 2km's then downhill....yippee.....where we were picked up and dropped at Wakefield for us to ride through to Richmond. Roxburgh Gorge has long been on the list and not only was it a stunning clear blue sky day but the ride was my all time favourite bike ride. Amazing scenery, few people and relatively relaxing.
Arthurs Pass was also beautiful with clear mountain skies. We enjoyed a few of the walking tracks in the area.Waterfalls, bush, colourful birds all abound. It was cool for summer though!
We finally made the Waipara Food and Wine Festival. A very wet experience so requiring raincoats and boots, but still most enjoyable.Torlesse Winery is always very generous in letting us stay in their vineyard,which was just a short walk away. Haybales for seating and gazebos to keep off the weather, music, food and a great selection of local wines made for a good day.
Many other wineries were also visited.We particularly enjoyed travelling through the Moutere Valley where there were a couple of interesting wineries. Akarua's new cellar door on the Lake Hayes - Cromwell Rd is really lovely.We will try the restaurant next time. Wet Jacket nearby is also and interesting winery.Using an old sheep shearing shed it has a cheese room and unusual decor. Three Miners en route to Alexandra was also well worth a visit with an interesting winemaker and some very nice wines.
A video of the trip will be posted in a few months time. We are off again and time has run out.
We, Gail and Brian, have permanently itchy feet .
Our list of travel aspirations never seems to get shorter, despite visiting many fascinating countries over many years. While we have both visited about 100 countries each - not all the same, we look forward to enjoying many more, as we satisfy our "Yen for Travel".