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Top of Rocky Mountain, with Mount Aspiring in the background

The last thing I expected inn New Zealand was to use my French. But yesterday we met four people from France while sitting at a cafe on the main street in Wanaka. We were having a well deserved pint (or two, or three, or four) after hiking the Diamond Lake trail, which in turn includes the Rocky Mountain Trail for an exception view of the Mount Aspiring Glacier. We had also hiked the Outlet Trail that runs along the Clutha River.

We were at a table for six and they were at a table for two, so I asked in French if they wanted to switch tables. I actually noticed that they were rolling tobacco and didn’t want to get smoke in my face. The wind not as strong yesterday and had switched to warm northwesterlies. It was a perfect summer day, where you close your eyes and the breeze pushes your hair off your face (if you’re facing the right direction). Read the rest of this entry »

Sometimes things are not quite as advertised. That was the case with Ranfurly. The good thing was that we had decided to spend an extra night in Dunedin and Wanaka instead of two nights in Ranfurly.

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This morning we drove through south Dunedin to Tunnel Road for another visit to Tunnel Beach. When we did this walkway in 2005 I took a rather amusing photo of a sheep looking back at me. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized the sheep was relieving itself and watching me at the same time!

This time the suburbs had almost reached their tentacles to Tunnel Beach Road. Instead of farmland full of sheep a large billboard advertised a new suburb called Tunnel Beach. I hope when we next visit, the walkway will still meander down the hill through the tunnel to the beach. The walk is signposted as 20 minutes down and 40 minutes up. We made it down in 10 and up in 20, so either they’re changing the signposts to cater to not-so-fit tourists or we’re in better shape. The tunnel is built through the rock cliffs and ends up on a sandy beach where the waves come crashing in full force.It was a windless walk this morning, with the sun beating down on us, and I was happy that we’d brought along water to rehydrate. Read the rest of this entry »

We arrived yesterday afternoon in Dunedin under clear skys and are quite pleased with our room at the Bluestone on George. It’s large, has Sky Sports so we can watch Olympics, a washer/dryer and a nice big bed, plus a bonus couch. The only down side is the shower is awkward because it includes a jacuzzi so it’s difficult to get your head under the water. And I haven’t decided if being up from the road is a good or bad thing. You don’t hear the road as much, but it can seem like a long walk up. Read the rest of this entry »

Pics of Hanmer Springs and Oamaru are now up on Flickr. Also, don’t forget to check Life is Purrfect to see what Timmy II is up to. He got licked by a delk today!

In Dunedin now, and just finishing up laundry before heading of to the Speights Ale Brewery for supper on our way to a rugby game.

Oamaru Opera Building

I woke up this morning to see the sun’s rays casting the first light on the mountains. Another photo opportunity in New Zealand. We were on the road by 8:30 and stopped for another photo op, a rainbow appearing over the mountains. It was gone by the time I’d gotten back into the car. Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve been meaning to post this for some time, but keep getting caught up in the daily touristy stuff or hiking adventures.

There’s a game in New Zealand that you play on long road trips. It’s called the Possum Game and here are the rules:

  1. Games must be completed by noon.
  2. Game starts with the first person calling “possum” upon seeing a dead possum on the road.
  3. Points are awarded when the possum is still intact enough to see the head and the dead animal is between the white lines (basically the drivable part of the road).
  4. Double points are awarded for carcasses on the centre line when the caller yells: Double possum or Possum-double.
  5. Games can end in a tie, but must be finished by noon.

So far we’ve had two games. The first game, NosyNeighbour  won 5-2. The second game was a 2-2 tie. Looking forward to a game on the road tomorrow.

The hot springs are the reason why people have been coming to Hanmer Springs for 125 years. I’m sure they’ve evolved over that time, but the flags outside the entrance celebrated this fact.

So, after NosyNeighbour had grilled some porterhouse steaks on the BBQ (accompanied by rice and salad), we headed off to the hot springs. I have to admit it was my first time visiting hot springs, even though I’ve been to Banff twice.

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Before I get into today’s activities, here’s a warning for visitors to Hanmer Springs: the i-site is only open 10 to 5, and expect it to open late. This is a bad thing if you arrive after 5 because you need the $3 map to find the good hikes. And expect logging activities to interfere with hiking activities. I guess the forestry companies let you hike there until it’s harvest time. Read the rest of this entry »

We left Nelson fairly early this morning. It was a bit later than we had planned because we started to watch the men’s downhill race. Alas, no Canadian medals in that event.

From there, we headed south along route 6 towards Westport. We continued on to see the Pancake Rocks. The tide was at its highest point, but because the day was fine the sea didn’t have the needed swells to be able to see the blowholes.

Pancake Rocks, Punakaiki, New Zealand

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