On our way to Europe for a couple of months, we stopped for a couple of nights in Tokyo to break the trip. We were very lucky to have a fine sunny day, which we spent walking through some of the city’s parks.
Continue reading Tuesday in Tokyo
A few kilometers down the Clutha River from Millers Flat there is an old ghost town named Horseshoe Bend. At the height of the gold rush in 1863 it had a population of several hundred people. Today there are only a few signboards to mark its existance. Continue reading Horseshoe Bend
In between the town of Monowai and the South Arm of Lake Manapouri is a 45 km 4WD road across the Hunter Mountains that was built in the late 1960s to install power pylons connecting the Manapouri Power Station to the National Grid. At the far end is a campsite from which we hoped to launch our kayaks. Continue reading Borland Road and Mt Burns
Directly inland from Dunedin is the town of Lawrence, just outside of which is an area known as Gabriels Gully. Nowadays it is a DOC reserve in a pretty tree-lined valley, but its claim to fame is that in 1861 a bloke named Gabriel Read discovered gold there, and the Otago gold rush began. Continue reading Gabriels Gully
A little way south of the Catlins River is a place named Jacks Bay, which has a spectacular blowhole. We set off to visit it straight after breakfast while the tide was high. Continue reading Jacks Bay and Nugget Point
Because the weather was forecast to be wet, we planned to head out for a day trip and return to Curio Bay, but we changed our minds about mid-afternoon and ended up at Pounawea instead. The motor camp is on the edge of the Catlins River surrounded by mature bush, and there is more bird song than we have heard anywhere on our trip so far. Continue reading Catlins Coast to Owaka
If I had been asked a week ago where the southernmost point of the South Island was, I would have guessed Bluff, but in fact it is a place called Slope Point, a bit further east on the edge of the Catlins. Continue reading Waipapa Point and Curio Bay
At the top of the Matukituki River, which runs into Lake Wanaka, there is a track up to a lookout where visitors can admire the Rob Roy Glacier. The local tourist information center claims it is “one of the best half-day walks in NZ”, and I reckon they are probably right.
Continue reading Albert Town and Rob Roy Glacier
If you travel north from Kaukapakapa on SH16 heading towards Wellsford, you pass some huge and unusual structures on the coastal hills that form part of Allan Gibbs’ collection of super-size sculptures. As it is on private property, you can’t just turn up when you want, but this weekend was a fundraiser for the Auckland Art Gallery so we purchased a couple of tickets. Continue reading Gibbs Farm Kaipara Harbour
On both Thursday and Friday I noticed that the sea down at Long Bay Beach was absolutely flat, so I thought conditions might be right for a kayak trip to Kawau Island in the weekend. We looked for the closest place to camp, and discovered that self contained vehicles can stay overnight at Scandrett Regional Park, so we drove up late Friday afternoon.
Continue reading Scandrett Regional Park and Brick Bay
On the southern side of Kawhia Harbour there are some interesting rock formations that we have been wanting to kayak to, and this weekend we thought the conditions might finally be right. Felicity needed to visit the local doctor to discuss student placements, so she arranged to meet him late on Friday afternoon. Continue reading Kawhia Harbour and Lake Ngaroto
Part of Felicity’s job is to recruit and encourage doctors to help train medical students by giving them real world experience. We’ve spent the last week touring around Coromandel in the motorhome visiting many of the region’s general practitioners. Continue reading A visit to the doctors in Coromandel
This weekend we’ve been out on the West Coast again. Early on Saturday afternoon, we launched the kayaks at Cornwallis Wharf and paddled north along the cost towards Laingholm.
Continue reading Whatipu to Pararaha
In between Pataua and Ngunguru is a river called the Horahora, on the NZ topographical map anyway. On Google Maps it is confusingly named Waitangi, despite the fact that there is much better known river with the same name in the Bay of Islands a bit further north. Continue reading Horahora River
For the first time since our return from Europe we’ve spent a weekend in the motorhome down in the Waikato. Felicity had an appointment at midday Saturday in Hamilton, but we hit the road early on Friday morning, and as usual she worked with her Surface Pro on her lap all the way down the motorway.
Continue reading Karapiro and Matamata
There is so much to see in Firenze, as the Italians call the capital city of Tuscany, that we are spending a couple more nights here before leaving Europe. Getting here from Siena wasn’t as straightforward as we had hoped, because our train unexpectedly terminated at a place called Empoli, and we had to take another 20 minute train ride to get into the city. Continue reading Return to Florence
Siena is very similar to the other Tuscan hill towns we have visited recently, just ten times the size. There are many thousands of tourists jamming the narrow streets, which also allow cars, trucks and even buses, not to mention maniac Italians on motor-scooters. It is not a relaxing place. Continue reading Siena
On the last day of our walk through Tuscany we have covered about 15 kilometers, because we made a detour along the way to visit the hill town of Monteccheillo. About half a km outside of Pienza we had the option of an alternative road because the GPS waymarked route can get muddy – not much chance of that today! Continue reading Pienza to Montepulciano
The town we have walked to today used to be named Corsignano, but in 1405 a bloke named Enea Silvio Bartolomeo Piccolomini was born. 53 years later he was elected Pope Pius II, and decided to embark on a programme of urban renewal in his hometown, which from then on was called Pienza – the town of Pius. Continue reading San Quirico – Pienza
Today’s walk passed through the thermal spa town of Bagno Vignoni, one of the most interesting places in the Orcia Valley. As we walked down towards the river after breakfast we had some fantastic views of Rocca d’Orcia behind us up on top of the hill. Continue reading Rocca d’Orcia to San Quirico