While Felicity is in Mexico, and the autumn weather is still benign, I decided to head south in the van for a few days to explore some new trails. I had to meet a client on Monday morning, so I didn’t leave Albany till mid afternoon, but I was early enough to be ahead of the rush hour traffic and arrived on the outskirts of Hamilton just before 5.00pm.
I grabbed my tablet to check the Campermate App for parking spots, and discovered to my horror that the charging lead was missing. This device is not only my main navigator, but also what I intended to watch movies on at night so this was a minor disaster.
Continue reading Waikato River Trails
This weekend Felicity flew to Minneapolis for a meeting, and since I had to pick up a kayak in Hamilton, I decided to stay down in the Waikato and do some mountain-biking.
Continue reading Pirongia and Te Miro
Our plan for Anzac weekend really only extended as far as visiting Felicity’s cousin for dinner and spending the night outside his house near Parua Bay, just north of Whangarei. We were only a couple of kilometres away when there was a terrible vibration and smashing noise from the rear of the campervan, so I pulled over to the side of the road just opposite the yacht club. All the rubber tread on one tyre had de-laminated and was lying on the road about 20 metres behind us, so it was obvious we were going to be a bit later than expected.
Continue reading Whananaki
The Motutapu camp at Administration Bay is an ex-WW2 military facility that is now used mostly by school groups for outdoor education. When it is not full of school kids, members of the public can book the old barracks for group events. One of Felicity’s colleagues has a great love of the island, and decided to hold a weekend party to celebrate her 50th birthday.
Continue reading Motutapu Outdoor Education Camp
A friend of ours rented a holiday house located right on the shore of Lake Rotoiti over Easter, and invited a dozen of us to celebrate her forthcoming 75th birthday. We loaded our kayaks on the roof of the campervan and left early on Good Friday morning to beat the traffic. As we had hoped, the motorway was clear, so exactly an hour after leaving home we were stopped on the bank of the Waikato at Mercer eating breakfast.
Continue reading Easter at Rotoiti
Even though we knew there was rain forecast this weekend we decided to spend a couple of nights at Awhitu Regional Park and go for a kayak.
Continue reading Awhitu and Manukau Heads
Out trip across Cook Strait was quite a bit rougher than the previous trip, but the combination of a sea-sick prevention pill and finding a strategic position in the centre of the boat meant that I didn’t suffer unduly. Because of the wind, the captain was forced to take a longer course and we were an hour and a half late docking in Wellington, but this gave me the opportunity to watch two complete movies, which distracted me from the sight of the horizon moving up and down alarmingly.
Continue reading Lake Maraetai
After lunch in Kaikoura, we had a wander along the beach and over the rocky foreshore. There is a seal colony here, but the seals were heavily outnumbered by tourists. We had considered going for a kayak, or perhaps even a snorkel, but the weather was overcast and windy, so the sea was not very inviting.
Continue reading Kaikoura – Picton
I drove into Christchurch city on Monday morning to catch up with a long-time associate from a father’s support group I am involved with. I was a bit concerned about rush-hour traffic, but by Auckland standards the streets were practically deserted.
Continue reading Mt Grey
On our way to Christchurch we stopped at Oxford for a night to visit our friends Jeremey and Noeleen. We spent a very enjoyable afternoon and evening catching up, then walked over the road to the local farmer’s market in the morning.
Continue reading Bridal Path to Lyttelton
After a couple of hours spent parked in the main street of Geraldine using the internet and eating lunch, we headed inland along a gravel road to a DOC camp-ground at Orari Gorge.
Continue reading Huatekerekere – Little Mt Peel
In the town of Moeraki, just south of the famous boulders, we found a commercial camp-ground overlooking the wharf. If the weather had been a bit clearer we might have been able to see the boulders as well, but the view was limited by the low cloud.
Continue reading Moeraki
It started raining again as we left Central Otago and drove out towards the coast. We parked up for a while in Ranfurly where there was internet available, but we weren’t tempted to stray far from the van.
Continue reading Trotter’s Gorge
All the way across the Haast Pass it continued to pour with rain, so although there were numerous interesting-looking places to explore, we didn’t stop. When we arrived in Hawea, we finally had cell-phone reception and internet again so while we ate lunch at the edge of the lake we caught up on emails and blog updating.
Continue reading Cromwell
By the time we re-joined the highway at Fox Glacier we were ready for lunch, so we sat in the hotel carpark eating and doing a bit of work while we had internet available. There is no cellphone coverage south of Fox until you reach Hawea on the other side of the Southern Alps.
Continue reading Lake Paringa
20 kilometres along a winding metal road out of Fox Glacier is Gillespies Beach. When Felicity was a teenager she and a friend rode all the way out and back on bikes, which is very impressive because this would be a big mission for me now. She has wanted to return ever since, so here we are.
Continue reading Gillespies Beach
It is only a short trip from Okarito to Franz Joseph, so we arrived in time for lunch, which we ate parked in the main street. We did some shopping while we were there, and visited the information centre to ask about guided walks on the glacier.
Continue reading Franz Joseph
At the crack of dawn we leaped out of bed, scoffed some breakfast and headed for the boat ramp at Okarito wharf. The sun was just rising over the distant hills, and as we had hoped there was almost no wind.
Continue reading Okarito Lagoon
There was a little bit of rain overnight, but by breakfast time the sun was shining and the sky overhead was mostly blue. We spent the night at a DOC campground at the north end of the lake, and were parked close enough to the boat ramp to be able to unload the kayaks without moving the van.
Continue reading Lake Mapourika
Heavy rain forecast for Friday made us decide to hang around Hokitika so that we could get some work done using the wifi in their public library. The Motor Caravan Association has a campsite just across the bridge from town, so we found ourselves a spot there.
Continue reading Hari Hari