I give you fair warning that this is an exceptionally long post, so make a cup of tea, make yourself comfortable and get reading...
Well, when I started to write this it was ten days into our holiday and we hadn't moved much. Now it's 6 days later and we are still only in Greymouth. But first, back to the original 10 days of not moving very far at all.
We are now (well, we were ...) in Collingwood Holiday Park - a lovely place; busy and friendly, and very close to the main street of the village, so everything is close by.
We had a fabulous sailing down to Picton on Tuesday 2 Feb - we do LOVE
the Plus Lounge. They were very helpful to David in providing him with
very nice vegan food and making sure he wasn't going hungry while I had a
piggy time with cheese and crackers, cake with afternoon tea and then
dinner. No chardonnay though - I am finding it interferes badly with my
sleep, so I have eschewed it. Needed to happen - insomnia is a bugger! I expect that chardonnay producers NZ wide are in deep shock though...
|Waiting in line at Wellington Ferry Terminal. David eating his lunch, kindly prepared by his lovely wife prior to leaving home. Such a paragon, she is!|
|Just through Tory Channel, I think. I wasn't watching too closely as I was too busy feeding my face in the Plus Lounge ...|
|Approaching Picton - the yachts quickly got into the wake of the ferry.|
We had previously decided that, while the proprietors were lovely, the Top 10 at Picton has sites that are too tiny to be comfortable - there is barely 3 metres if that between motorhomes and caravans. So we had booked at the Parklands Marina Holiday Park at Waikawa - it is fabulous! It's a lovely place, the sites are really spacious, the facilities are in very good condition and are very clean. Hayley and Nick are excellent hosts. So if you are wanting to stay overnight before or after a sailing, then choose their place. It is only 3.5km from the ferry terminal, and the A1 Picton Shuttle provides an excellent service. We haven't done it yet, but there is a walking track between the two places, so that will be explored and reported on when we head home.
|I think I was having breakfast (late) while David was prepping carrots for juicing over in the kitchen. I'd put up the awning, spread the mats and set up the table and chairs, so I was entitled to relax in the warmth.|
|These tableaux depicts two Maori myths that explain day and night and the formation of the North Island: In this one, Maui is harnessing the sun to stop it going down each day.|
|This myth is where Maui fishes up the whale that is the North Island. The mountains and valleys, hills and bays, and the general shape of the North Island can easily be visualised as a whale.|
We did a bit of walking down to the bay at Waikawa. Our first walk down there was the evening we arrived. I did have to send the photos to my cousin Gordon because we went to Southampton Water with him and Sharon. It has the hugest marinas I have ever seen! This one looks very tiny in comparison!
|Sunset at Waikawa Marina - I was told it's NZ's biggest marina but I am not sure of that.|
|Outside the marina in the evening.|
|Maybe it is the biggest ... None of the boats match the size (or cost) of some we saw in Southampton Water though. They were huge huge huge!|
I was going to say that David did the walk down there more often than I did - because he managed to leave his glasses on the table at the Jolly Roger pub the following afternoon after we'd walked down to Burnsco looking for something for the motorhome and decided a drink was in order. So he had to walk down to collect them. It was a shame that he wore his sunglasses on his walk to fetch his specs, because once he'd retrieved them and put them on, he left his sunglasses behind ... I did send a message to Kirsty asking her to find a rest home for him but she signally failed to come to my rescue, dammit!
|A drink outside at the Jolly Roger. See David's sunglasses on his head? Specs are on the table behind where he left them while taking other photos ...|
The sunglasses were only identified as missing the following morning when we were getting ready to head to Picton (using the A1 shuttle taxi) for breakfast and the Mailboat Cruise. We had been tentative about doing the cruise because the forecast was for a fair bit of wind there, but we decided to brave it. But brekkie for me was first. As always occurs when I ask, the cafe staff were very happy to create a lovely vegan breakfast for David, so as well as fruit salad as his first breakfast prior to leaving the motorhome, he had a green salad as the second sitting.
While we were at the Seabreeze Cafe (recommended by Ruby, the A1 driver) she phoned to ask if we had left a small backpack in the cab when she'd dropped us off. Yes, I replied. BUT it was David who was in charge of the backpack - leaving things in the wrong place sounded like it could become a feature of this holiday... Ruby came and dropped the backpack off - she is a gem indeed, and her price is above rubies (look it up...)
The mailboat cruise was lovely. a wee bit bumpy at times, but it traversed parts of the Queen Charlotte Sound we had not seen before because it went past Tory Channel where the ferry enters the sound on its way to Picton.
|Even though it was raining, the dog was waiting, as always, for the mail boat to arrive.|
|DOC interp, as those of us in the know call it ;-)|
|The mailboat isn't terribly large - I think it can carry about 100 passengers - it's the passengers that enable the run to be profitable. In this era of user pays, the mail delivery cost would be astronomical without the passengers.|
|This is a pou whenua. It is used by Maori to identify areas of significance - this site is significant because it is where Captain Cook first met Maori. Ship Cove was used by Cook to provision the ship and collect fresh water.|
|This table and seating are shaped like a Maori waka, a canoe. I think it's beautiful.|
|This building is styled like a wharenui - a meeting house. This one is actually a shelter with an open back and front and has bench seating inside. I think it is also beautiful.|
That evening we went to a restaurant called Thai Panda, that predictably serves both Thai and Chinese food - all very yummy and as usual, I ordered too much.
|David had two bowls of this Tom Yum soup. Very delicious, I gather.|
|Just so you know I was there too.|
The doggy bag went in to the fridge when we got home - however getting back to the motorhome did require Ruby (A1 Picton shuttle) to make a detour so David could pick up his sunglasses from the pub at Waikawa Bay.
The following morning we were trying to work out what to do for Waitangi Weekend (a three day weekend with Monday as a public holiday) - our original plan was to head down the east coast but the weather there was due to pack up. And because we hadn't booked anywhere, the places we were keen to stay were fully booked. So a change of plans and we checked in to our favourite spot at Salvi and Ann's in Stoke. There followed a lovely few days with them - games of Sequence, laughter, David and Salvi checking out the new generator, lots of lovely food. Lunch and a catch up with Sarah and Jack, a BBQ and a catch up with Chris and Ann - plus a 6 handed game of Sequence.
|On our way to Nelson and Stoke, I stopped at Pelorus Bridge - it is a stunning area. There were lots of people in the water, sunbathing on the rocks. Isn't that water beautifully clear?|
|The bridge is pretty spectacular too.|
|Sorting out the generator - not yet used to power anything on the trip though. But who knows ...|
It transpired that the coming Thursday was Chris's birthday, so we arranged that we would attend his celebratory lunch. We thought it would be too much of imposing on Ann and Salvi's hospitality to stay until Friday (after all, that would have been a WEEK! Too much unwarranted punishment for them.) So we decided to have a couple of nights at Cable Bay - we had passed the turn off on our way in to Nelson a few days earlier and thought the reviews of the camp there looked promising.
It was beaut - peaceful, casual, friendly. And the scenery was stunning.
|From the raised causeway out to sea|
|Towards Tasman Bay|
|Dumpers - would hurt under them landing on the stones, I reckon!|
think David took this photo late the previous afternoon when he came up
here by himself - showing the bay and mudflats in the lagoon. The land
looks so different in different lights.|
|From the lookout at about 7.30am: that island, connected only by the causeway (the isthmus - that is a Level 10 spelling word from my primary school days ...) therefore a peninsula, is a single farm.|
|The steps up to the lookout - DOC does some amazing work opening up this beautiful country to us all.|
We also managed to help another couple sort an issue with their fridge - they had the same motorhome that Jack and Sarah used to have and Sarah had told me about their hassles when they first bought the motorhome. So we Facetimed with Sarah, and she gave the woman the information she needed to get it resolved and the name of the firm in Nelson that she had found knowledgeable and helpful.
The next morning the woman told me breathlessly that she thought it was just mean to be - Bollocks, I said - it's all about networking, and listening when people tell me things so I can pass on the information when required! Just meant to be, my arse ...
While we were in Cable Bay we decided that as well as changing our proposed route around the South Island, we would also continue the slow pace we had established since arriving a week prior. And to make that viable, we would fly home for a weekend midway, attend Bruce and Gary's 40th anniversary party, and fly back to continue our travels. That meant deciding where we would get to by that time. The options with airports included Blenheim (nope), Nelson (possible but that would mean slowing down to an absolute crawl), Hokitika (that would mean two flights) or Christchurch. We plumped for Christchurch on the basis that would would easily get to Christchurch with DAYS and DAYS to spare. We fly back next Thursday and where are we now? Greymouth, and we still want to go to Hokitika and spend a couple of days getting over the Alps - there's some lovely (read spectacular) places to freedom camp. I used to look at them longingly when I drove between Christchurch and Hokitika back in 2015/16 when I was working at DOC.
Chris's birthday lunch, after our sojourn at Cable Bay, was fun - Ann and I walked and Salvi and David drove - we arrived within seconds of each other. I think that may have been because David was still getting ready when Ann and I departed on foot. Lunch was partaken with a lot more laughter and reminiscing. And when we left (all of us in the car this time, Ann and I dropped David and Salvi off and headed for Spotlight - the fridge needed a severe bout of organising so a number of Sistema containers were purchased to undertake said organising.
This exercise was necessary because I had had at least two fridge tantrums. You may know what I mean by that: when the fridge is full to bursting with vegetables and fruit in opaque plastic bags and when said plastic bags allow their contents to freeform, keeping the fridge tidy and being able to find things easily becomes impossible, and leads inevitably (for me, anyway) to a full-on fridge tantrum.
Armed with a number of Sistema boxes of various sizes and two basic shapes (square and rectangular), home we went and commenced the fridge reorg. The contents were re-structured to within an inch of their lives - if they'd been human, they'd have been calling on HR as soon as I started ...
Cauli and broccoli were chopped into the appropriate sized bits to fit their designated containers, Cabbages (red and green) were quartered to fit, the bunch of celery was chopped in half lengthwise and consigned to two containers, ginger root and turmeric were consigned to a smaller square box, peaches into another larger container, tomatoes too. Then the stacking began. We had phoned David from the store to find out the dimensions of the shelf spaces (H, W, D) so we knew they would fit. By hokey, it looks organised and I have had no real fridge tantrums since. Of course, now that most containers look the same, David cannot find anything. But he couldn't anyway, so no change there! At least one of us has a pretty clear idea what is in which box and that is an 85% improvement, because I am the one who gets things out 85% of the time.
I'm going to stop here - I will write about heading for Collingwood in the next post. It deserves its own spot in the sun...