New Zealand · 24 Days · 38 Moments · February 2018

Retrotripper's Road Trip in New Zealand

26 February 2018

Last day in NZ today! Went down to the waterfront, checked out the fab boats and had coffee. And cake. Nearly went on a America’s cup experience - but decided against it. Might have been the wrong decision! Instead we went on a free 20 min dingy sail around the harbour. Tame, I know, but meant we got on the water at Auckland! Found a bar with a live musician on stage - who was really good so had a beer. Had fun looking around the new Volvo range (sponsors for the sailing race) and took in the race exhibition. Unfortunately the boats don’t come in until tomorrow. Pity. After lunch we walked up to the Albert Park and found it was crawling with freshers. We were definitely the oldest dudes around. Disappointed that the art gallery charged non ressies and no discounts for old folks. Wandered around , found a whisky shop where the owner was a big Liverpool fan from America. We eventually found a rooftop bar doing a happy hour and pizza 43 cm for £10!! No brainer so we had spare ribs too!

25 February 2018

Well, Sky Tower meal was great and very reasonable especially if you consider that you would have to pay just to go up. Food was excellent too. Scallops, tortellini, Duck and steak, puds and cheese , biscuits with honey, nuts & quince jelly. All as the sun went down! Spectacular for our penultimate day. Our apartment is just at the end of Judy’s nose on one of the pics!!
Off to Auckland today via Wendy and Johns retreat at Gulf Harbour. They are ex farmers from Lincoln and spend 3 months a year at their harbour front property - compete with mooring and super views - to avoid the GB winter. They showed us around their golf club in the buggy - five scotches George- and we walked along the front for lunch at Cherries. We met Johanna their daughter and Georgia their granddaughter. Jo had been living in Perth and now in Delhi and working for Rio Tinto. A lovely day. We had to leave and zoom off to Auckland city as we had a 28th level apartment to check into and dinner at the Sky Tower tonight at 7:30. Looking forward to that. We have stunning views over the harbour and the Sky Tower from our rooms. What a way to celebrate a 4-1 win and second place in the premiership. Come on you Reds!

24 February 2018

It was called Pavlova House. We thought about it but decided too much. However a smaller property for a few UK winter months, that would be a different proposition! So, we sauntered back for happy hour in the Salt Dog (dodgy) pub and bought F&C and ate them on our balcony as the sun went down. We’ve got Netflix here so we had better use it.
We had a lovely day today. Went for an early morning walk along the front before anyone was up. Breakfast then off to the Makakana Market - which I have to say, would give Willunga a run for its money. The atmosphere, design, stalls and its setting was brilliant. I met the lady who ran it and she explained 10 years ago it was a wood yard and the market was part of the owners vision. It was very busy but not overcrowded and no car parking fee! We drove to Omaha beach and discovered holiday properties to die for! These were not on the map 10 years ago. We swam on the surf beach, gentle even consistent waves, wish I had a board! Went on to Algiers’s Bay, good for families, then onto Martins Bay, great for a camper van, then onto Scott’s Landing.. what a discovery. An 1800s farmstead on a small secluded beach, think Devon flooded valleys, with very interesting geology and 200-300 year old trees. Idyllic. Found a house for sale $4.5 million dollars, infinity pool etc blah blah, etc.........

23 February 2018

We enjoyed Russel very much and our accommodation was excellent so we were sad to leave. We drove the twisting coast road until we came to Helena Bay Cafe and sculpture park. This was perched on the hilltop and had lovely food (and coffee of course) with lots of jewellery and beautifully made furniture and glass object d’art - stuff to buy in other words. Outside they had created a small tropical garden with sculptures. We had arrived with the Riley Owners Club Rally so had lots of cars to look at. On to Walkworth for a little supermarket shopping then Snells Beach. Our house is right on the beach with stunning views across the bay. Looks like we are going to enjoy this one too! Fresh fish and prawns on the barbie tonight.

22 February 2018

Some of my fave pics from the beach walk.
We decided to take a boat trip to Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island. The journey was beautiful in sunny weather and we arrived to find a cafe and large grassed area in front of the beach. There was a party of children canoeing on a residential trip to the island - bit like Arthog with sunshine and warmth!!! We found the island had lots of walking routes, but poor map with no scale, so we set off for Sunshine Cove. This was very pretty but we decided to keep going to Cable Bay. You could camp here in perfect isolation. Had to go for a swim! Walked back for lunch in the cafe and back to the mainland. When we got back to our lovely apartment we had a nap then went down to a different beach at the end of our road and explored before heading back to the spa pool then a barbie with some sausage Rob and I bought at the supermarket. Great day.

21 February 2018

Slept well - must have been after our hot tub on the cliff top as the sun went down last night. We checked out Russell, helped an old sea dog moor his boat, then after coffee we headed for the ferry to Paihia. We noticed in the news we had managed to dodge the latest cyclone Gita. Lucky. Wandered around the town and had ice cream and drinks and watched life in the harbour. Headed back via Long Beach and was very tempted to go for a swim but decided against it as we were going to the Marlborough Pub before ordering an Indian. Met a friendly couple who had moved to Brisbane nearly 40 years ago. Just waiting with anticipation for our curry delivery then probs another hot tub!

20 February 2018

Leaving our last home at 7.30 !! We made the long journey up to Russell in the Bay of Islands only stopping for coffee and a cake and a trip to ‘New World ‘ for supplies! Oh and to take a pic of my next venture! We had intended to take the ferry across to Russell but the road was closed to the ferry and we had to take the mountain track in rain so heavy we could hardly see, NZ has had another cyclone today but once again we have managed to only get the tail end of it! It has all been worth it as our air band b is beautiful and looks down onto the beach! A stunning location with birds of paradise flowers and mandarins growing in the garden and a hot tub!! Bar b cue tonight and then ...................Zzzzzzzxzzz zzzzzz

19 February 2018

On our last day at Hahei we decided to take the one and a half hour walk over the cliff to to Cathedral Cove. Lots of beautiful views of our beach and the ones in between. The vegetation was very tropical and stunning but it made it very sweaty! Just as well we were prepared for a good swim and explore at Cathedral Cove - massive sandstone cliffs, a chamber and stacks stretching out into Mercury Bay. Took the ferry back and had lunch. Drove up to Cooks beach then took the ferry over to Whatianga for a lovely fresh mixed ice cream. Unfortunately the local winery was shut so we just chilled before getting ready to visit our fave pub The Pour House and fish and chips on the beach.

18 February 2018

Very hot day today. Early morning swim at our beach then drove to Corimandal Town via a farmers market and an unsealed track across some of the unspoiled terrain of the region. Had a fab lunch of Thai green lipped mussels. Delicious. Had a look around the town then drove the coast road to Hot Water Bay. A geo phenomenon. In a certain area of the beach you could dig a hole which would fill up with 60 degree water. Sometimes even hotter! It was a bizarre scene. Hundreds of people digging holes in the beach and wallowing in the puddles! Difficult surf too. Strong tops and the life guards made two rescues. Pleased to say I wasn’t one of them. Home to The Pour House for a pizza. Yummy.

17 February 2018

7 hours drining today between Haumoana and Hahei via Rotaroa. Checked out the mud pools and hot pools for free as we only had and hour or two to look around. We drove up the coast on very windy roads to Hahei. What a lovely unspoilt village. Beautiful bay and fab pub/brewery. Had a compulsory G&T and craft beer. Checked out the beach then bbq. We were all tired so early night in a lovely cottage.

16 February 2018

It was Art Deco Day in Napier today so we thought we’d go along. Napier was rebuilt after the quake in ‘31 so most of its buildings are from that era. Everyone dresses up for the weekend, vintage cars take to the road and aircraft to the skies. Great day people watching and learning more about the quake. Went to Elephant Hill Winery late afternoon and met a lovely lady (72 but you wouldn’t know it). As we couldn’t get a table at the winery restaurant she asked if we would like to join her. Of course! She was a professor of Ed and former Dean of Detroit Uni. (Carolyn Sheilds). Spends her time travelling the world visiting schools and giving lectures and presentations. I had met some of her colleagues when in Canada. Lovely evening.

15 February 2018

Up early and packed up ready for the long drive to Napier - well Haumoana really. Stopped off at Woodville for coffee and cake in a quaint little coffee shop selling antiques and Daimlars! Also good to be able to follow the Liverpool game on line. 5-0 a good win. Stopped again at our favourite supermarket in Hastings New World, it really is very good - to get stuff for the bbq. Arrived at Haumoana about three, walked on the pebbly beach - we are 50m away and then walked along till we found the shop , take-a-way and pub. Thought we’d better have a swift half before heading back to prep our dinner. It was yummy, steak, chicken, sausage and ribs with salad. Red wine was good too!

14 February 2018

Today was the day to look around Wellington - and get a haircut. Then off for coffee down on the wharf. Then we walked along the waterfront and along to Oriental Bay. On our way back we stopped at Cornes for lunch and a beer. We then spent the afternoon in the museum. This was really very good. The Gallipoli exhibition, which Dick recommended, was excellent. The figures were several times larger than life and had detail such as body hair and even beads of sweat on the face. Very moving. Saw lots of other museum stuff - 1000cc Brittain motor cycle, Mauri stuff, Geological stuff relating to NZ, wildlife and all in a fabulous building. Met up with Rob and Di for drinks the pizza at One Red Dog. Met a waiter from Brum who was partnered with a waitress from Maryland. They were getting married in Ledbury next year! Aww. Walked back and Judy and I visited the Garage Project for some craft beers. Enjoyed meeting our barmaid from Boston who reminded us of the beer festival in Faversham in Sep..
......will we be anywhere near there then?. And a few more pics. Cuba Street was a really trendy street with bars , cafes and vintage shops. I know this cos one shop had a sheepskin coat in the window!!!

13 February 2018

A few more pics of the shoes and evening!
We set sail across the Cooke / Tasmin Straights at 9am after a two hour early morning drive over the mountains. The sea was flat and it was warm for our 3 hour sail. Picked up our new hire car and settled into our new accommodation. Time for a walk down trendy Cuba Street - check out the shoes! - and then we went on the cable car up to the botanical gardens for Beer and ice cream, delicious. Walked down through the beautiful gardens and sculpture park which were really good. Met with Rob and Di and had a fantastic meal of chicken wings and a delicious paella. Rob and I dropped into the Garage Project a craft beer brewery. 20 interesting ales many of which we sampled - hic - before heading home.

12 February 2018

Drove directly to Nelson just stopping for a coffee. Had a sandwich in Nelson and found our property. On a sort of Housing Estate and a building in the garden. It is so well finished and appointed and just £20 per person is brill. Hope we can make Katie’s shed as good - after all this House is called Kate’s place. Not sure what we are doing tonight but up early to catch the ferry. Cheeky beer at Matpua and Chinese take away - calorie free!
Been off grid for a couple of days. Drove up from Hokitika and stopped off at the pancake Rocks - think 12 Apostles Ocean Road Oz. Great differentiated weathering on limestone and mudstone. Headed up to Westport in the pouring rain - amazing how the weather changed last night. The storms from last week left their mark on the coastal road with bits washed away. Drove along the coast to Westport and onto Cape Foulwind (named by Cpt Cook himself). Our house was in a spectacular position. A balcony ran the length of the property overlooking a perfect bay with long surf breaks. Walked around the headland and to see the seal colony from the distant cliff. Walked back along the beach, chatted to Mark the surf teacher (who judged at Fistral Bay in 86) met the owner as she was taking her teenage kids for a surf lesson. I couldn’t resist a body surf as I had no board even though it rained. The sea was so warm at 6:30. Lovely Geen lipped mussels, fresh corn on the cob and chicken wrapped in bacon

10 February 2018

First venture outdoors was a walk along the beach to Hokitika. En-route we spotted an elderly lady (about our age) in the sea having a swim. At first I thought it was Diana but then remembered she was doing a face time to the family. It emerged, as she did, (the lady, not Diana) that she was walking home from the market and decided the sea looked so good that she just jumped in! She lived further along the beach and couldn’t be bothered to go home and change. We had an interesting chat, in her underwear. Walked on to the market - what a joke. A few guys doing old clothes and a some garden veg! Coffee, lunch and the a visit to the Hokitika gorge, waterfalls and a swim in the lake. Even managed to get a jump in from a floating trampoline! Home for Fish n Chips and whitebait pattie Urg! Still, a little red wine took the taste away. We also had a little play with the clothes from the dressing up box. What fun eh, eh, eh, eh. If you’ve access to our Instagram page you will know what I mean
Just picked up our new hire car on North Island!

9 February 2018

We were sad to stay goodbye to Archie’s Place as it was so atmospheric. But head off we must, so we drove North, stopping for - a tea towel! (You thought I was going to say coffee then didn’t you). Everybody laughed at me for buying a tea towel especially the lady in the shop. Well I liked the colours! So then we had coffee! We found another little beach, God knows where, and went for a walk and found Jake the Peg. Eventually we rocked up at Hokitika. Lunched, wandered around the town, found our Air bnb which was right next to the beach. So a birthday swim was required. Sea was supposedly unsafe for swimming so I just splashed about in the waves. Surprisingly warm. Just having a beer before we go for a - you guessed it - Friday night Birthday curry! What a lovely surprise. And now we are going to look for glow worms - I kid you not!!!

8 February 2018

After our flight we had lunch and then stumbled on a lovely village on the coast. Okirito, which had lovely ice cream. Then onto the quaint and lovely traditional homestead of “Archie’s Place”. The owners had left a sort of photo family history and their story began when they first arrived and settled at Okarito. Fab sunny night to sit out on the verandah with good company and a complimentary bottle of bubbles from the owner - very kind! Di cooked a fab lamb roast chops and veg. Great with an Oz Shiraz.
Just had an amazing flight over Franz Joseph and Fox Glaciers! The views and weather conditions were perfect and we enjoyed a landing on the glacier itself. Truely awesome. More when I get better WiFi!!! The flight was spectacular up through the clouds and climbing over the river, where you could see the remains of the storm flow. We were so lucky to have good weather. We came up 6000ft before landing and were able to photograph Mt Tasmin and Mount Cook at 3700 m. It was surreal to land on the ice floe and it was so warm. You lost the scale and perspective until you could see another copter or the climbing hut. The crevasses were up to 50m across and the pilot was telling us that there are generally a couple of deaths per year. We flew over Fox and landed on Franz Joseph before making our decent. Look out for the video!
..........we went back home and sat on the verandah - think emu, Halls Gap Kath and Ian - but no emu’s! Spot the venue for Bills next holiday!
We said goodbye to Queenstown and headed up over the Conawara Pass and wound our way down to Wanaka on the side of the lake of the same name. What a beautiful little town! Set amongst the the mountains and with a lovely on the lakeside. We thought we’d better have coffee!! Met a lady in a gift shop who’s partner was from Kinver - well I never! On we went taking on some waterfalls and stopping to walk to the Blue Pools via the forest walk and suspension bridge. Thought I might go for a swim, but bloody hell, the water was cold.! So, I paddled until my feet went numb. We drove onto Haast - last weeks cyclone has swept massive boulders onto the road and they were still clearing up. You had to marvel at the engineering that created this road back in the 30s and 40s. We arrived at our motel and sussed our the beach restaurant and popped down to the beach. And what a beach! 5 miles of sand and dunes with large tree roots and drift wood swept up onto the beach. Guess what.........

7 February 2018

.........we went back home and sat on the verandah - think emu Halls Gap Kath and Ian - but no Emus! Spot the venue for Bill’s next holiday!
We said goodbye to Queenstown and headed up over Conawara Pass and wound our way down Wanaka on the lake of the same name. What a beautiful little town! Set amongst the mountains and with a beautiful beach front on the lakeside. We thought we’d better have coffee! Met a lady in a gift shop who’s partner was from Kinver - we’ll I never!! On we went stopping for lunch and taking in some waterfalls, stopping to walk to the Blue Pools via the forest walk and over the suspension bridge. Thought I might go for a swim but, bloody hell it was cold! So I paddled till my feet went numb. We drove onto Haast - last weeks cyclone has swept massive boulders onto the road and they were still clearing up. You had to marvel at the engineering that created this road back in the 30s 40s. We arrived at our motel and sussed out the beach restaurant and popped down to the beach. And what what a beach! 5 miles of sand and dunes with large tree roots and drift wood swept up onto the beach. So guess what.....

6 February 2018

A long day. Up at 6 and onto our 600 Km journey to Milford Sound. We drove around Wakatipu Lake (350m deep) and had a stop at Ta Anau. We then drove into the mountains, taking photos of the awesome gorge, tunnel and glacial valley - a geologists dream. Our bus was air con, wi-if and a glass roof. The road took over 20 years to complete and was finished in the 50s. We reached our journeys end and boarded the Milford and had lunch and cruised from the sound onto the Tasmin Sea. As we returned we saw basking seals and a fantastic display from a pod of dolphins that swam and kept alongside our boat for several minutes. A great day and a long a tiring journey!

5 February 2018

Bit of an Extreme day today! Rob and Di left for Invercargill to meet some farming friends. We went to a breakfast bar called Yonder to meet Chris, a pupil Judy used to teach. He’s now 6ft 5 inches and twice as old as when she last saw him! Great to catch up and to get a recommendation for a curry tonight. After a bit of wandering we booked the Shotover Jet. It’s a 60mph white knuckle ride over rapids and through a Gorge over 7-8 km. Great fun and pretty scary as the pilot screams toward cliff faces then performs 360 degree turns. We then set off on the cable car to climb aboard the Luge. This is a sort of downhill go-cart controlled by handle bars to steer and break, then back up on a ski lift to go again. This took all afternoon, just giving us enough time for a roof top drink before heading to the Taj for a curry. And what a curry! Fish and chicken, great service from a farmer from Portsmouth - pity Robert missed it! Even better, we had a bottle of Pepperjacks Shiraz from Barossa!
Ian would have been pleased we found a Pepperjacks! Below are a few pics from the Shotover Jet Ride. Did you spot the Royals, William & Cathrine?

4 February 2018

Enjoyed a trip to the town to get our dinner and have a few drinks. A great buzz at the waterfront and listened to a local guy play piano. He wrote all of the music and had rescued the piano from the tip. He’s self taught but did become a concert pianist until he decided to give it all up and busk. He rescued the piano , learned how to repair and tune it (took over a year) and now earns a fair bit playing live in the area. Brilliant! And guess where the piano is from? LIVERPOOL! Oh and I forgot to mention - we discovered chocolate liquorice. A match made in heaven!
Had an early breakfast and set off South to Queenstown. Stopped off for coffee and cake ( of course) and then on to Arrowtown via Lindis Pass. Great little town very green and lots of little shops in a typical street. ( oh, I nearly forgot the wine tasting from a vineyard in what seemed a pretty inhospitable valley. (The owner had sold his vineyard up north several years ago to the Chinese. I think by the time we get back they will have bought the whole island!). Anyway a good lunch with draft beer - you don’t get that in Oz, it went down well. We drove onto Queenstown and our air bnb has the most amazing views. Nearly forgot Shrek the sheep. Only sheep to be shorn on an ice berg. He’d managed to escape sheering for six years and consequently went blind with the wool in his face. To raise money to successfully keep the local school open, he was taken by helicopter to the iceberg and shorn. NB check out the crampons, don’t tell Babs! Long story - I’ll tell you when we get home

3 February 2018

Arrived at Twizel and found our first air bnb. It was great- two bathrooms and 10 beds!!!! We didn’t try them all but we had a good session at the pub and bought a great Thai take-a-way and sat in the sun with a bottle or two. Not quite Oz Shiraz but it will do!
Our first night was in the Ibis in Christchurch. We set off after breakfast knowing we had about fours hours driving. The landscape changed from flat plains into rugged mountains as we approached the Southern Alps. We arrived at Lake Takepo, saw Mackenzie’s Dog and had a mooch with the pooch. ( The dog being a symbolic tribute to all of the dogs that helped Farm the area). The lake had the most stunning turquoise blue colour and looked so inviting in the sun. We went into the observatory at St Johns which had stunning 360 views into the mountains, the lake and plains. We drove onto Twizel and got some stunning shots of Mount Cooke mountain. Thought Godsy might appreciate the van paint work!