Wednesday, 23 December 2009
After a week away in the hills we are now back on the pig farm to enjoy a quiet Christmas as the Kiwi's all get away en masse to enjoy the hot sun and beaches - sorry snowbound UK!
The Southern Alps that provide the spine to South Island also provided us with some memorably remote spots around the huge sheep stations of Arrowsmith and Erewhon both lying many miles up gravel tracks and surrounded by snow covered tops.
A couple of fine walks in the area and over at Peel Forest have left us ready to enjoy a day or two relaxing before we head south to Mackenzie Country and eventually the Otago Rail Trail which will give us a few days cycling before we reach the Catlins and finally Invercargill in the very south.
We wish all readers and bloggers a Happy Christmas and successful New Year - pics again at the link.
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Monday, 7 December 2009
A walk up to a DOC hut gave us a chance to check them out as we hope to start using them frequently having bought Back Country Hut Passes - very much like the British bothies but on a more formalised basis.
It is the 8th of December and we are in Christchurch to submit our application for visa extensions to 12 months which was a bit involved as we needed new photos, copies of bank statements and so on in support but we are hopeful that we will get a positive reply before Christmas - it would be the perfect joint present.
After a visit to friends near Ashburton we will head in to the hills for a few days, return for the visa verdict and then head way down south for the busier Christmas period - very odd to see Xmas decorations everywhere in bright sunshine with people wearing T shirts and shorts. Still we will get used to it and in the meantime wish all a very Happy Christmas and New Year should we fail to post in the next couple of weeks.
As usual a link to pics below - gluttons for punishment are welcome to email us for free Yuletide Logs - the extended versions of these musings with pics downloadable as a PDF - just ask!
Sunday, 29 November 2009
However this is all in complete contrast to the last month which has been generally fine or hot and seen us finish exploring the remote Coramandel Peninsula and enjoy a swim and snorkelling in the Pacific at idyllic Waikawau,stay with a friend of Sarah's in Omokoroa and then stay in the Tongariro area.
Here we successfully completed in superb weather the Alpine Crossing including a very tough side ascent of Ngaurhoe a snow capped and occasionally active volcano that involved some arduous scrambling on steep loose scree with a very strong wind. Sarah was remarkably tough and rose to the challenge and we were both rewarded with superb views, aching limbs and sunburn.
A few days in a very remote corner of the Ruahine Forest Park on an empty backwoods Department of Conservation site was sublime with the added excitement of a rather precarious cableway to cross the river, no other visitors and some excellent walks.
We have only used 3 'proper' sites so far as the DOC ones suit us better being generally empty, well away from anywhere and providing the necessities of a loo and water. At Broken Hills we saw glow worms and wetas in old gold mining tunnels, parrots were flapping in the trees and kingfishers were as common as starlings back home.
The van seems to trundle on reliably with fuel around 50p a litre and an mpg usually over 40 even after the slow going on the many miles of gravel roads we have covered - dust everywhere after these but they do get us to the quitest spots.
Contact with home has been maintained - sounds like the weather has been its usual if not worse autumnal self.
Yesterday at Feilding we saw a range of old British car makes in a vintage rally and met an old kiwi guy who last year took his 70 year old Austin round Australia and 5 years ago had toured Europe including Pembrokeshire ending up in Fishguard! Plenty of inspiration there.....
A week ago we celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary so lucky old me - for Sarah perhaps the jury is still out!
More pics again at the following link :
Sunday, 8 November 2009
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
Sunday, 18 October 2009
Our journey now continues with a flight via Sydney to Auckland where we hope to retrieve the van in a fortnight or so - until then we are very much looking forward to meeting Sue and Danny (longstanding friends of Sarah's) who will be our hosts.
Another link to a few more pictures appears below - Japan is well worth a vist as I hope they show :
Sunday, 11 October 2009
Sunday, 4 October 2009
Thursday, 17 September 2009
Got talking to a group taking 3 Land Cruisers to Egypt for a month in the desert - each vehicle carrying 700l of fuel and 300l of water (apparently diesel is 7p a litre over there.............)The lashing crew would be in charge of stowing the van in a 20' container, chocking and securing the load ready for placing on the Kuala Lumpur Express curently lying south of the Isle of Wight and due in on Saturday.
Monday, 10 August 2009
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
One of the many pleasures of living in Pembrokeshire is the proximity of the spectacular coastal path. Having walked it many years ago it is a bonus to be able to join local kayak enthusiasts for a seal's eye view.
Memorable evenings have been enjoyed courtesy of http://www.haverfordwestkayakclub.co.uk/
and www.mikemayberrykayaking.co.uk and Sarah will no doubt extract her revenge when I resume horse riding lessons later this week.
Saturday, 18 July 2009
NZ quarantine regulations also dictate that all gear and the vehicle must be cleaned and disinfected prior to clearance after which we need to arrange a Warranty Of Fitness ( MOT effectively) for the van not us! Then its pay insurance, join NZ AA - breakdown cover not booze issues, buy a NZ/Aus sat nav, arrange for local gas cylinders to be connected and set off.
Our expected arrival in Auckland is the 20th of October after two weeks in Japan with the van arriving on the 23rd having left Southampton 6 weeks previously - place your bets now on the likelihood of all this actually coming together!
In the run up we now have to do a few dummy packing trials to come up with lists for Customs, replace the radiator that got bashed in Portugal some 8000 miles ago, carry out a full inspection and service of the van, redirect mail to my parents in Coventry, 'lose' credit and debit cards so they can be reissued with longer expiry dates (don't ask me - it's a crazy system), pay a year's rent in advance and sort out other financial matters - online tax returns for example, place our other vehicle with someone for safe keeping - Haggis if you are reading this it could be you.......
Sarah meanwhile will be busy helping all summer at the stables and preparing for her trek and ride in Peru in September. During that month I will be assisting with the Beacons Mountain Bike Event - any offers of assistance over the weekend of the 13th would be gratefully received http://www.breconbeast.co.uk/ has all the details
Saturday, 11 July 2009
Also thank you to everyone who joined us at Penlan last week - it was a great opportunity to catch up with people. We hope to do something similar over the last weekend in September when Sarah is back from Peru and before we go to Japan.
Thursday, 2 July 2009
Monday, 29 June 2009
It is all rather new to us so any advice guidance or feedback would be welcomed !!
Watch this space