Week 1 of lockdown 2

Here we are again in week 1 with a few hundred cases of Covid 19 – more than we had in lockdown 1 so delta shows its teeth. However, looks like we are not having exponential growth at this point.

Also all of the cases reported today are in Auckland and the total case load elsewhere is 14 (Wellington). So as long as everyone does the right thing it should not spread further.

Whatever overseas commentators may think 70% or more of Kiwis are happy with the government’s strategy. We don’t want to kill our citizens and our economy is still doing well.

Yesterday there was a call for protest in Queen Street, Auckland. One person showed up and the Police sent him home with a quiet word.

In our bubble we are walking regularly and there are new things in the neighbourhood, such as people working on their sections and growing animals.

Matakitaki Pá lies at the confluence of the Waipa River and the Mangapiko Stream.

Some people like to jump about.

I have the video in case I need it for TikTok.

With some rare foresight I ordered a few new jigsaw puzzles last month. Ana chose Jelly Bean Hill by Darlene Kulig (love Pomegranite).

We also baked this week and made a robot arm. Ana has schoolwork in the mornings via Zoom.

A move to Level 3 probable next week and if no community spread in this part of the country maybe Level 2 by next weekend.

Very satisfying aesthetic, only 500-pieces but it was fun just the same.
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South (no, North) Day 17

On our way at 06:30 AM. Roads are icy (its -4C outside) so slow going over the passes.

Ferry called to ask why we need to travel during lockdown (as 72 hour grace period has expired). We explain and are asked to get documentation.

Made it to Kaikoura and re-fuelled. On the trip we talk to Vicky and she gets Mike and herself to send emails explaining that we are needed at home for child care as both parents are working essential services full time (which is true I hasten to add).

Mike’s in particular is an outstanding literary work.

At Picton the ferry manager asks “What’s your story?” and then realises he had already spoken to us. We present the documentation, drivers’ licenses (and vaccination certificates) which are duly snapped with an iPad.

With that we are on the ferry. There are just a handful of people in our lounge area and no hot chips (but Hania made sandwiches so that’s OK).

Off the ferry and through Wellington. I refuse to stop the van before Otaki (!) where we fuel up again.

Now a longish trip to Pirongia with us sharing the driving every hour or so. Stop for a cuppa (never leaving the van) in Hunterville and to use the loos in Okahune.

Finally, 1AM Sunday morning and we’re home.

Sunday we spent sorting things out and Monday we returned the van without incident so we have a little credit to use for the next trip.

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South Day 16

The day starts cold and damp, raining again but clearing later, they say. Time for a bit of house-keeping.

We are in limbo still and won t know if we can travel tomorrow until later today. So far no cases outside Auckland or Coromandel but is it just a matter of time given the large number of locations of interest involved.

Dog Stream Reserve Panoramic

So the Lockdown will continue for 4 more days and we have 48 hours now to get home or risk being stuck in Hanmer Springs indefinitely, given that from Level 4 we still go to Level 3 anyway.

Ferry booked for tomorrow, leave here at 7AM, get into Wellington at 6PM and likely will drive straight home getting in in the early hours.

Holiday hasn’ t worked out exactly as planned but things could be worse and we have had a good time.

Better get the van in good shape to travel!

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South Day 15

Second lockdown day in Hanmer Springs. We went for a long walk in the Dog Stream Reserve just behind the motor camp. A pleasant wooded area.

We found all these little houses in the trees.

A quiet afternoon, weather remains sunny and cold. On our walk we also saw these animal carvings by Andrew Lyons.

The Anglican Church.

It is quiet in town, a couple of police cars in the main street but everyone behaving properly as far as we could see. Mask wearing in the supermarket, giving proper distancing on the footpaths and so on.

Most people still cheerful.

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South day 14

Getting used to our new bubble. Today we had our own personal toilet and shower allocated so that’ s nice. This Top Ten camp is really quite luxurious, the showers are clean and modern with undefloor heating, hair dryers and fold-down benches in the “staging area”.

The first day of the snap lockdown didn’t go too badly. A bit of housekeeping in the morning and a walk in the afternoon Hania to the shop for some chicken, bread and coleslaw and me to the top of Conical Hill.

Snow-covered mountains and distant rain.

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South day 13

We had a bad night, wind so strong the van was shaking and felt like it was drifting so after trying to sleep through the gale we decided to move it at about 00:30 AM.

That was better but still pretty noisy.

We headed south and over the Takaka Hill road which seems to take forever. We landed in Motueka where we found a fabulous French Patisserie – even the humble Kiwi Potato Top pie included onions caramelised in white wine. As for the raspberry tart, cheesecake and apple pie – out of this world.

We also found Toad Hall and the Townshend Brewery, makers of Blitzgreig a truly great West Coast IPA. Motueka and the Moutere Valley are the centre of hop-growing in NZ with many fine breweries.

The valley road took us through to SH6 and so to Murchison and, eventually the Lewis Pass.

Murchison had a 7.8 earthquake back in 1927 and left a 1 metre high scarp across much of the landscape which instantly brought into being the Maruia Falls. These falls have grown in height as they eroded back a large gully in the soft breccia.

We planned to stay at Maruia Hot Springs but they now close Tuesdays and Wednesdays so we were advised to head over the pass because snow was on the way.

Luckily we did otherwise we would surely be stuck in the middle of nowhere as the road out to the West Coast was also closed. We just about made it through flurries of snow and the temperature falling to 0.5C.

On the way down the other side we got the news about the lockdown so here we are in a motor camp in Hanmer Springs for at least 72 hours. At least it is a very modern motor camp.

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South Day 12

Early start today at 05:30 to go to Farewell Spit on the eco tour.

Got there just after sunrise.

We drove out along the beach stopping frequently to identify bird life. As many as 90 species of bird visit the spit though most of them in summer.

Note the “red socks” painted in honour of Sir Peter Blake.

Originally there were 3 keepers here but over the years technology has made them redundant. The light is a set of tiny LEDs and remotely operated from Wellington.

The original trees were planted by keeper Robert Harwood who also brought in soil from Collingwood. It made life tolerable for the families who previously had to dig their homes out of the sand every day. Once the trees were established then came pasture and eventually vegetable gardens, cows, chickens and pigs.

The Spit is famous for mass whale strandings on the Tasman Bay side (usually Pilot whales) which occur every few years.


We also visited Cape Farewell.

By the time we got back it was high time for an afternoon nap, a quick dinner and then to bed. High winds and rain to end the day.

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South Day 11

Another glorious morning. Sunday breakfast eggs and bacon. Then a walk on the beach.

Godwits maybe.

Leisurely stroll around town then seagull photography.

Two plastic chairs on holiday.

It was interesting that the loony lunch place was empty but the Courtyard Cafe was full. Typical RWNJs self-defeating. Obviously when the tourists come back they will all be vaccinated so won’t be welcome. Lol.

Late lunch with Musquats@Dawn, inevitable snooze.

After the snooze.

To the pub for a snack and then early night as we have to be up at 5:30 in the morning.

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South day 10

Sent a postcard to Ana.

The elder experience, Saturday morning pill sorting.

Aspirin to thin blood, clopidogrel to prevent clots, statin for chlorestorol, allupurinol for gout and metoprolol to slow heartbeat. Last sandfly that bit me dropped dead on the spot.

The weather looks changeable sunny first thing now a big storm on the horizon. Not so golden bay today.

After a bit of shopping for the day on Farewell Spit we hit Anatoki salmon farm. The hot-smoked salmon muffin was delicious, the doggy eyes irrestible.

We declined to go fishing for a salmon to smoke as we would have to take the whole fish and fridge space is limited.

On then to the famous Mussel Inn where we had, you guessed it, mussels again and, for me, a delicious pint of Captain Cook’ s recipe for home-brewed beer.

Near the end of the highway is Collingwood where we did not try to attempt to enter the local arty cafe because, well, nutters quite frankly.

Kooks Cafe sign warning vaxed persons to stay out – gladly.
It all makes sense now.

I just don’ t know how I missed all these connections, I have been blinded by my government.

This is one legacy of the Trump Disaster, suddenly kookery is mainstream and science is the enemy. Hundreds of years of progress down the toilet.

I understand it works in the USA, the UK and Brazil where politicians can’t be trusted to keep the general populace safe from a pandemic for reasons of their own but here in New Zealand where we have less than 30 Covid-related deaths? How bizarre.

ABs vs Oz at the Collingwood Hotel.
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South day 9

Google is now completely broken. I typed as a search term and got everything but this site.

Anyway today was a great day. Nice 4K walk on the beach then out to Wainui Falls.

Wainui Falls.

Following that we took the gravel road out to Totaranui for a picnic lunch. Bit of a disaster. Blood-sucking midges and Hania recalled that this is the road where she hurt her back last time we were here.

Pretty though.

Then we went to Takaka for a decaf and a brownie and to do some shopping.

I did visit the local pub and made some new friends.

Townshend is actually in Riwaka – a famous hop. Good beer.

Lamb chops for tea and more cheese and wine.

Holidays are hard work.