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Sydney to Haast

Whats green and purple and goes vroom vroom? The snot wagon

sunny 20 °C
View The Grand Tour on steve-les's travel map.

On Wednesday we went to Bondi Beach. We’d heard so much about it being so fantastic and everybody spending Christmas day there that we just had to go and see what all the fuss was about. What a disappointment!! It was no better than any other beach we had visited; in fact Manly Beach that we had been to the day before was a lot better. Bondi’s only saving grace was an amazing sculpture festival which ran along the coastal path towards Coogee, another suburb of Sydney. The sculptures were very good and a lot of hard work had gone into some of the exhibits. I wish I was that clever!!

On Thursday we were up bright and early for our flight to Christchurch in New Zealand. The flight was uneventful but okay nonetheless. The view over New Zealand as we flew in was truly spectacular. We flew over the snow-capped Southern Alps and lakes. I expect we’re in for a lot more spectacular views like that. While we were in Christchurch we walked along the Avon River to the Botanical Gardens. The gardens are truly wonderful and it was easy to understand why Christchurch is known as the “Garden City”.

On Saturday we picked up our “Campa”. It’s more of a people carrier/space wagon. The firms’ logo is all over it and you couldn’t miss us in a mile (or kilometre)! It is lime green and purple!! Very compact and bijou but we are getting used to being organised. The bed is really comfortable and it is nice to be warm at night, because the nights here so far have been quite chilly. It would be unbearable in a tent!

We decided that from Christchurch we would travel over the mountains, via Arthur’s Pass to Hokitika on the west coast of the island. WOW!!!! What truly spectacular scenery. As soon as were into the suburbs of Christchurch we could see snow topped mountains in the distance. And as for going through the mountains…… well I was absolutely “gobsmacked” to say the least. And so was Steve, due to the fact that the camper broke down in the middle of the mountains! We were covered with a roadside recovery, but we could not get a mobile phone signal! (Even when Steve climbed halfway up a mountain!) When we realised that we could be stranded, Steve decided to have a look under the bonnet. He found the problem, quite quickly. The negative terminal on the battery was loose. So out with the trusty Gerber multi tool and we were back on the road.

We got to Hokitika or Hoki as the locals call it and found the campsite. Hokitika was a gold prospector’s town in the 1800s. The township at the time was filled with hotels and various other places for the prospectors to lay their weary heads before they set off for the goldfields. There was also a busy harbour that could take up to 40 ships at a time. But unfortunately now that the gold rush is long gone, there is nothing left to see, the harbour is all silted up and the jetty has disappeared except fort a few capstans along the shore. There is a Glow Worm Dell just outside Hokitika, which we visited at night to observe the Glow Worm larvae light up to attract their prey. It was like watching tiny little stars. It reminded me of the trip up the Mekong River when we saw Fireflies dancing in the trees. What a romantic I am!!

On Monday morning we left Hokitika and headed down the west coast towards Haast. It was very misty along the coast and there wasn’t much to see. Although it was misty I had another WOW moment, at the Franz Josef and the Fox Glaciers. We just saw Franz Josef from a viewing platform but at the Fox Glacier we walked as close as we could to the face of the glacier. I’m glad I had my hat and jacket with me because as we neared the huge lump of ice that had been there for millions of years it became colder and colder. The Glaciers seem to be receding with time and I expect if global warming carries on there’ll be nothing left of them, but I expect it will take a few thousand maybe billions of years for that to happen.

By the time we got to Haast, the mist had disappeared and we were lucky enough to have a very warm and sunny evening at the campsite. We fed on a barbecue and a few beers, and then the midges and black-flies fed on us! Somehow they managed to get into the camper, even though all the doors and windows were shut.

We left Haast after breakfast this morning and headed towards Queenstown, stopping a few times on the way to take in the breathtaking scenery. We are staying in Queenstown overnight and then heading down to Milford Sound, but we are hoping to do a couple of days walking and bush camping on the way.

Love to everyone, see you in six weeks !!!!

Posted by steve-les 13:56 Archived in New Zealand

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In Vegas. My has it changed since 1990!!!

Briliant tour of the US of A. Make sure, when you gte to Frisco you take the tour to Alcatraz and do the audio tour. It was fab.

Speak soon
Vince and Rachel

Flying home tomorrow :(

by vincester

Hi Guys,
Just to let you know we are back. Having had a wonderful time in USA,great tour taking a lot in now need a holiday. Early christmas present, IBANEZ 20SMENT. Which is a limited edition one.only 600 made. Retailed in states at 799$ Although I paid $499. Found the same model n uk site limited to 600 made(£499) bargin. The guitar came back virgin first class,in one of the lockers. We sat at the back! San Francisco as the biggest guitar shop I have ever seen just over the road from the Holiday inn where we stayed. I bought mine in Vegas. Got to put it away for xmas know:(. speak soon Vince Rachel.

by vincester

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