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On route to Mount Cook

March 31st, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 12-New Zealand - (1 Comments)

We couldn’t visit the south island without a stop off at mighty Mt. Cook.  The drive there was so beautiful it warranted a post of its own.  We stayed a night by Lake Tekapo which was lovely and the next morning visited an observatory where we took a picture of the mountain through a telescope.  Although it seemed close in the scope it was around 200 kilometres away.

About half-way we stopped off at a different section of Tekapo for our weekly wash.  The background scenery was just incredible but the water was the coldest we’ve ever encountered, melted snow from the mountains.

Who wouldn’t enjoy scenery like this!

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While roaming

March 30th, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 12-New Zealand - (1 Comments)

Just a quick post to keep the flow going.  These are random scenery pictures in the south island.  Driving around is an absolute pleasure and each corner brings something new.  It is a beautiful country and the people are incredibly friendly.

Most of these were taken down the east coast from Marlborough to Christchurch and then Dunedin.

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NZ Fur Seal

March 29th, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 12-New Zealand - (0 Comments)

Within an hour of leaving the dolphins we drove a for a wee bit and spotted a colony of NZ fur seals. The coastline around Kaikoura is well known for its postcard-perfect pictures of whales, seals, dolphins and crayfish.

The seals weren’t hard to spot.  As we got closer to Kaikoura their numbers increased dramatically and they were spread all along the coast.  It was really special to see the cubs running and jumping about in their pool just like children.

We also stopped in the town of Kaikoura where you can sign up for a number of tours but mainly all based around whale watching.  We met up with the German couple that sat by our fire the previous night and they had just come back from a helicopter tour.  They were told by the operator that they were almost guaranteed to see whales so they parted with $480 for a half hour spin but saw absolutely nout, not even a dolphin.

It would have been great to catch a glimpse of a whale or two, but a bit of a money spinner when it’s out of season.  We just moved on.

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An evening by the sea

March 28th, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 12-New Zealand - (3 Comments)

Late one evening on route to Kaikoura we passed by a lovely quite beach packed to the rafters with driftwood. Both of us said ‘campfire’ immediately so we turned back and set up camp.

I got the fire going while Sam prepared sausage casserole which we cooked over the fire (Tom, you would be proud).  We were the only couple there when we arrived but having seen our fire from the roadside many more campers pulled in and joined us for a beer or a glass of wine.  By 10pm – and even though we had the fire going full blast – the cold was unbearable so we headed for bed.

The next morning we went for a quick stroll along the beach and were mesmerised when we seen dolphins jumping in the water.  By the time we went and got the camera the action had died down but Sam still managed to catch the two photographs below.

We both said the next morning how much we enjoyed sitting around the fire and the company of other campers, most often than not it’s the simple things in life that give you the most pleasure.

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Marlborough Wine Region

March 27th, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 12-New Zealand - (4 Comments)

Marlborough is NZ’s biggest, and one of the New World’s leading wine-producing areas (Lonely Planet).

We spent a full day touring and tasting and although driving felt rather tipsy by the end.  Around 106 wineries blanket the Wairau Plain around Blenheim and Renwick but we only managed to tour a few.  There was free wine tasting in all and complimentary cheese and biscuits in some. 

Apparently, the sunny days and nocturnal sea airs creeping in from Cloudy Bay create the perfect microclimate for cool-climate grapes: famous Sauvignon Blanc, plus gewurztraminer, riesling, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir – can you tell it was copied from a tourist brochure.  Here’s some more brochure info for you wine lovers:

  • Marlborough has 106 wineries, 428 grape growers and 11,475 hectares in grape production.
  • Produces 113,000 tonnes of grapes a year.
  • The industry generates more than $400 million.
  • Contribution to the local economy in terms of flow on effects is more than $120 million.
  • In winter helicopters circle the crops regularly to circulate the air and to ward off frost.
  • Each vine needs about 10 litres of water per day when fully-grown and bearing fruit.
  • Some of the more famous wineries in the area include: Clowdy Bay, Montana, Matua and Isabel.

Driving through the area was nice, so very quite and peaceful but not not quite as picturesque as we were expecting.  We had imagined it to resemble the French or Italian wineries, but it wasn’t to be, but still a great day out!

 

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