Wednesday 5 June 2024

To Kaikoura and Waikanae - the last 310 kms

 First things first, the unremembered dog's name from the last post is Archie - sorry, Archie. We should have remembered that, as our lovely friends Robert and Glenn have a very lovely Archie too.

We were both interested to note that as we approached the end of the trip, we started to wish it was going to be longer, while also being happy to head for home. I guess what it signals is that we are definitely not ready to let the mh go just yet. In contrast to when we decided to sell nb Waka Huia where we were definitely ready to let it go, while still holding intact the lovely memories of our travels and the friends we made and the places we saw and explored and enjoyed.

I think the key factor for us both is that we didn't stay every night in the mh this time - we had a night in a motel in Alexandra and 2 nights in the Fiordland Lodge and 2 nights on the Fiordland Navigator. It's a learning we will put into place on our future longer trips - not such fancy and expensive accommodation as the Fiordland Lodge, mind you! But staying the occasional night in a motel allows us space to spread out, and to move around a living area without having to do the kitchen ballet, as I call it. And motel bathrooms are decidedly bigger...

We had loved staying parked up on the driveway at Megan and Forbes' place, in spite of D&F's bad and unsporting behaviour at 5 Crowns.

  • We headed for Kaikoura and it was on the way there that we had a phone call from our friend Robin to say that her partner Brian had died the previous day. Brian was a lovely friend, and he was the man whose villa we moved into temporarily here at Parkwood before our villa was ready. For the rest of that journey, we spoke about Brian and remembered him, his wry sense of humour, his kindness and his amazingly agile mind.
  • Hearing about Brian was a bit unsettling and we decided that we would stay one night at the lovely Top10 camp rather than the two we originally planned. I think we wanted to get closer to home as soon as we could. Weird, as we weren't changing our ferry booking.
Now, can you fault that as a view from a camp site? The Seaward Kaikouras.

It is just magnificent.
The view from our habitation door at breakfast.


  •  Shopping at the New World Kaikoura is definitely enhanced by the fabulous views of the mountains!
  • We added an extra night to our last stay of the trip at Marine Holiday Park in Waikawa Bay.
    • We arrived the night before Ann and Salvi did
    • In the morning, I made cheese scones in the holiday park kitchen
    • I used a large pot borrowed from the holiday park owners and made a veg and lentil curry that I cooked in the camp kitchen on a full sized stovetop - sensible, as I could have done it in the mh, but there wouldn't have been room for anything else!
    • I wanted everything to be cooked before A&S arrived so we could just socialise
    • And, as always, it was wonderful to see them
  • Salvi had made us a beautiful lazy susan, so it was imperative that we had naan breads, poppadoms and a number of chutneys and sauces to go with the curry- a replication of the feast we had (and that Gavin and Deb missed out on) at Dean and Phaedra's - but this time with a lazy susan to hold the sharing staff.

The lazy susan in action. A very successful and beautiful piece of construction, thank you, Salvi darling.
  • We played Crosshand Poker - the first time was a learning game for A&S and the second was serious stuff... I'm not sure why we haven't played this with Ann and Salvi before. (It's a game my mum loved and was immensely skilled at, and my sister Dee is skilled at it too, dammit. We played it a lot with Kirsty and Olek on our holiday with them last year having borrowed Dee's - formerly Mum's - set. When we got home I bought a set online - secondhand, as for some inexplicable reason, it's not longer in production!)
    • We used the lazy susan for the x-hand poker board so we could rotate it - it sort of helped, but if we weren't watching carefully, the place we had selected for our next killer move was lost in the shifting!
  • And we played 5 Crowns, and none of the losing on purpose stuff either!
    • and the guys wanted to use the lazy susan again for card games - it's a bit confusing, and it opens up the possibility of rotating it very hard so the deck scatters ... We know, cos we tried!
      The view from the verandah of Ann and Salvi's cabin with our motorhome just across the way and the hills beyond. Nowhere near as spectacular as Kaikoura, but those are only hills in the background.
      The afternoon was lovely, so we sat outside. ACP had a noisy sleep.
  • Day two we walked down to The Jolly Roger pub, David and I had a (non-alcoholic) drink, A&S didn't. Clearly we didn't walk for the alcohol, just for the exercise. Salvi went down into the marina area and checked out the yachts and boats - he is a sailor from a way back, and he took to steering the narrowboat with consummate ease when they came to stay with us in 2019. Although, while perched on the stern and leaning out, he did lose his phone from his back pocket into one of the Knowle flight of locks... Naturally, we never fail to remind him.
    • then we walked home along the bush path which was much nicer than coming down the road - which is also actually quite pleasant. But the bush walk was really lovely.
  • We had planned to have breakfast in a cafe on the day we were all leaving, but when I thought about finding parking for the motorhome in Picton town centre with roads closed and roadworks happening and rain falling, I suggested we have breakfast in A&S's cabin
    • scrambled eggs, hash browns, falafels, sourdough toast.
    • and I made a tomato mixture with red pepper and onion
    •  altogether, very nice and much cheaper, and it helped towards emptying our fridge and freezer - not much, but it was a start...
    David was just being silly by standing on the step...
      Our lovely friend, Ann, who is clearly so tall I need to stand on our step for a photo together!
It was sad to see them go, but it had been great fun, as always!
  • When A&S had gone, we drove down to Burnsco and bought some new ramps - ours are as old as the motorhome and well used. So we thought it wise to have a new set in reserve in case the old ones collapsed under load when we really needed them.
  • Once we had navigated around the roadworks on the way to the terminal and interpreted the signs, we happily lined up early-ish to get on the 1.30 ferry, and once loading started, it was funny to watch people who had clearly got into their caravans or the habitation part of their motorhomes for lunch or a cuppa, having to scurry when the vehicles in front of them had already moved off to be loaded.
  • As we had upgraded to the Premium Lounge, we knew we would be fed and watered and sitting peacefully once onboard, and after our substantial breakfast, we didn't need to eat prior to boarding - or even onboard, to be fair...
    • we had not booked the Premium Lounge on the way down; instead we booked the Queen Charlotte Lounge. Its only benefit is that it has no through traffic, but it's nothing to write home about.
    • we decided that we could upgrade to the Premium Lounge for the trip home and not notice the additional cost because it was so long since we'd paid the original fare that the extra wouldn't seem too much... Well, that's what we told ourselves - and it worked.
      • Excellent food: lunch, then afternoon tea, then fresh scones, then cheese and crackers - it just kept on coming!
      • Biscuits in the jars, lunch items in the bain maries. Very easy to overeat...
      • If we were into alcohol, we could have had as much of anything we chose.
    • The ferry left early because there wasn't a full passenger load, and we arrived in Wellington early too - yay!!
  • We drove home with the rush hour traffic, in the rain and the dark, and we went along the old coast road rather than Transmission Gully - given the dark and the rain, I wanted to be travelling at a sedate pace - I am clearly getting old!
  • It was great to get home - I parked frontwards on the lawn beside our place and inside we went - David did only the bare minimum of unpacking, i.e. the stuff we needed for the night and first thing in the morning: food for dinner and breakfast, pillows, kindle, earplugs, milk.
  • Our friend Kat was there - she had arrived earlier in the afternoon from one of her house/pet sitting jobs in Whanganui and after a couple of hours chatting with Janet, Janet had let her in to our place - the maintenance team had made sure to turn on the water at the outside toby, Janet had turned on the heating. Such kind people here.
    • I made toast and heated some of the leftover tomato mixture from breakfast for Kat and David - nothing for me as I had eaten plenty (i.e. much more than enough) on the ferry.
    • then I was off to bed - good heavens, being in our own bed was blissful!
Kat with 2 short old people.

David channelling Olek who likes to pull faces. Kat and I, sensible as ever!

Over six weeks away and over 2000 kms driven. The next trip is to Turangi in June for a Zero Degrees weekend and mid-winter xmas together. A tiddler of a trip - only 530kms return.



Jenny said...

That's a decent trip, 2000km and 6 weeks away. I sure you enjoyed every minute.

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Hi Jenny,

It was mostly really good. I did struggle in the first couple of weeks with a very sore lower back and sore neck which tended to limit how much I wanted to go out walking and exploring. But overall, the trip was great - excellent weather, we stayed in lots of lovely places, and we met lovely people. The highlight was the two day trip on Doubtful Sound - very worthwhile and so beautiful.