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South Again – Day 28/29

An overcast day with a little, thin drizzle. After a splendid breakfast at the Neighbourhood Cafe we set out for Lake Wairarapa.

The granola was amazing.

We followed the signs to Lake Ferry which turns out to be on Lake Onoke where it meets the Southern Ocean at Palliser Bay.

We were watching a stick being tossed about on the incoming waves when it suddenly grew a flipper. Eventually a young sea lion hauled itself up the opposite beach.

We had lunch on our balcony finishing up the last of our food. Then to the Margrain Winery where we first stayed in Martinborough perhaps 17 years ago. We bought a six pack of decent wine.

Nga Waka vineyard.

In the evening we ate in the restaurant, steak at last, then rolled into bed.

End of the holiday really (next day), one stop for a delicious soup on the road home.

A good cafe between Hunterville and Taihape.

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South Again – Day 27

Up at 5:45 for the Wellington ferry. Straight into the cabin and slept another 2 1/2 hours.

Hania had a lunchtime appointment so I had a KFC probably the last for a decade. Honestly I couldn’t find anything else in downtown Upper Hutt.

Over the Rimataka’s to Martinborough without incident unless you count the usual hysteria from my companion who really, really doesn’t like narrow, winding, steep roads.

We booked for two nights at the Martinborough Hotel and in the afternoon we both had huge hot baths.

We ate at Tonic Bistro, good food and wine and vegetarian. A variety of smallish dishes, very well presented.

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South Again – Day 26

Pretty uneventful day. Woke up to this view.

Loaded up the car and North to Picton. Whitebait fritters for 11’s.

Checked in at the Top Ten.

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South Again – Day 25

End of the campervan trip and back to the little car.

Then SH1 to Kaikoura. Not the most exciting trip but found time for cake.

Kaikoura was hot and sunny and we sat in the sun drinking, not the best idea. Nice waterfront hotel.

Booked into Picton Top Ten for tomorrow, then the ferry first thing.

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South Again – Day 24

We left Geraldine in rain and continued north towards Christchurch. I wanted to see Lyttleton and it’s harbour so we drove through the tunnel and looked for a nice cafe. Sadly the town is not large vehicle friendly. However the harbour is impressive.

We decided to go to the South side to a campsite and so drove around the shore – which is a narrow, winding, steep road. Just what Hania likes.

It was getting late by the time we reached Orton Bradley Park and no internet. I was too tired to take photos and anyway we were busy sorting out the van so we could transfer our belongings smoothly.

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South Again – Day 23

Morning at Lake Opua, the geese flying again, magpies, seagulls, herons, ducks, a bittern (?) and others I wasn’t sure about.

It is a great campsite for free camping. The fish were jumping too.

On the way out we stopped at a cafe on the main road (Farm Barn maybe) which had an excellent location with views all around.

At Geraldine again tonight, rain. Overall we have been lucky with the weather.

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South Again – Days 21 & 22

Round Bush Camp was still mozzie central so after breakfast we went to Twizel, the Hydro Cafe and Twizel Bookshop, where else?

Having finished 16 Trees of the Somme I’m now reading Bewilderment by Richard Powers.

After that we headed over to Lake Benmore and had more or less given up when Hania found this spot at Falstone Camp, pretty much the end of the line. Also no internet and no phone coverage.

I suspect we probably shouldn’t have camped there but no one said anything so we paid our dues and stayed.

We liked this sign on the toilet door.


Beautiful Benmore.

So breakfast in Twizel and more books.

After that I needed some exercise so we went to Tekapo so I could walk up to the observatory on Mount St John. Fantastic views of McKenzie Country on all sides.

We finished the day at Lake Opuha near Fairlie, a place with masses of bird life of which the most impressive were the Geese forming up presumably getting ready to migrate.

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South Again – Day 20

What next and where to go? We read about Maniapouri but it’s half a day there and another back, with a few days left it didn’t seem worth it.

We headed out to Twizel again for coffee and cake at Hydro Cafe. Also popped into the Twizel Bookshop (shout out – fabulous microbookstore). Umm, the store is small the books are normal size.

Don’t have a photo of Hydro Cafe

In the end we decided on Lake Ohau and the Round Bush Camp. Lovely site down by the shore but lots of bities (funny Judd didn’t mention that). All part of the experience I guess.

Seeing the weather forecast we wished we had stayed in the far South but then we wouldn’t have had a fab afternoon catching up with friends. C’est la vie. View from the van this arvo.

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South Again – Day 19

A walk in the gardens of Oamaru.

I can’t believe they have 12 grass tennis courts here, must be a lot of upkeep.

We headed up to Timaru to see old friends Judd, Jenny and Graham. A great lunch and an afternoon of lively conversation and, we must admit, a little gossip. The garden was in the English style and has been a long time in the making. We won’t be able to achieve anything as nice in our paddocks but we’ll work on it.

We were a bit late getting away so stopped at the large holiday camp in Tekapo.

Good to be in McKenzie country again with the late afternoon sunshine.

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South Again – Day 18

Aramoana, a dark name in Kiwi history, but we survived the night and drove to Port Chalmers and the back road to Waitati.

Memorial to the Scott Expedition.

We had coffee at Karitane which has a nice sandy beach with rollers coming in from the southern ocean.

After this it was mostly SH1 with a lunch stop at Moeraki Village and avoiding the boulders which we’ve seen too often already (twice).

And so to the Steampunk capital of NZ Oamaru. This once bustling then depressed port has found new life. The old wharves now host a wide range of arts and crafts.

It’s also home to Scott’s Brewery so one is obliged to sample.