Notes from New Zealand - 1
It's slightly strange to have swapped the frigid winter of the UK for summertime and harvest here in New Zealand, and to be typing the at the tail end of a warm day knowing most of my readers will just be waking up.
To date I have always maintained that there are no canals in New Zealand but today I came across two. Not that they are navigable mind you, as they exist purely to transfer turquoise cold glacial meltwater from one reservoir to another.
We started our travels in Christchurch where we picked up our home for the next 25 days - a very new camper van based on a Mercedes Sprinter base, which is comfortable but not exactly nippy!
We will therefore be making a sedate tour of both islands heading South to the Mount Cook / Queenstown area before heading north up the west coast.
Christchurch was laid to waste a few years ago by a big earthquake and it was interesting to see both the ruins of the old cathedral and the temporary "cardboard cathedral" they have constructed. Christchurch is busy rebuilding itself but the shocking thing is he number of "bomb site" car parks, presumably built on the site of collapsed buildings.
We then moved south to Timaru in the hope of seeing Penguins. Sadly, there are just a couple of a very small variety who sometimes appear just after dark. In the event we skipped the penguins and chose to socialise instead!
Sombre stuff in Timaru
Then it was inland to the stunning Lake Tekapo, stopping at Geraldine on the way. Geraldine just happens to be the home of the largest jam producer in Australia / New Zealand and we were allowed to sample a wide range of their produce, and came away with some provisions and good ideas (Boysenberries) for inclusion in the Wild Side range. The sunset at Tekapo was stunning.
Lake Tekapo at sunset
Then it was on to Mount Cook. Sadly the cloud was down and to be honest the place had all the appeal of Wastwater on a dull day. Added to which it is Chinese New Year and a bank holiday so the place was rammed. We beat a strategic retreat and moved to Omarama where we found both space and sunshine.
The slightly forbidding valley leading to Mount Cook
I wont bore you with lots of words and will instead let the pictures do the talking.
This is a big country and somehow the only photos which do the scenes justice are the panoramas, taken on my humble i-phone!