Friday, 23 April 2010

West Coast Once More

After an enjoyable stint with the pigs for me and a great girls weekend for Sarah we met at Christchurch Airport and headed off to Mount Thomas and then Arthur's Pass once more. Here the walk in to Casey's Hut provided a memorable night and an excellent walk out the following day before we headed to Lake Moana and the coast.

The west coast has a substantial gold and coal mining history which made for several fascinating forays to Waiuta where we spent the night on the former bowling green, Denniston with its steep inclined coal tramway and the Charming Creek coal mine with several relics spread throughout the gorge. The famous pancake rocks were well worth a visit and the young seal pups at Cape Foulwind were a delight.

Greymouth and Westport provided museums and shopping before we headed north towards Karamea stopping a couple of nights at peaceful Gentle Annie's.

Currently we are at 'The Last resort' in Karamea enjoying the space and comfort of a self contained cottage for a night prior to reaching the end of the road and the start of the Heaphy Track where the Oparara limestone area should provide some good walking and even a bike ride on old logging tracks.

Photos at the link

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Half Way

We are now around the midway point of the New Zealand trip with the last four months spent on South Island which has exceeded all expectations. Signs of the approaching autumn are all around and we intend to head north to warmer climes in late May after visiting the far north of the West coast and then Marlborough and Nelson including Kahurangi National Park.
We left Westland to travel over Arthur's Pass where the change from wet rainforest to dry mountains was rapid and dramatic. Avalanche Peak provided a memorable day walk before we went our separate ways at Christchurch as Sarah has gone on a girls weekend to Auckland and I have spent several very relaxing days ( but frosty nights) near Ashburton keeping an eye on the pigs and enjoying the views across to Mounts Hutt and Somers.

The van passed its WoF (equivalent to UK MOT) which was good news as we have travelled many miles on rough and dusty tracks and it recently passed the 200,000 mile mark so we are now clear to the end of this leg. Preventing the ingress of dust has been an ongoing issue with extra mesh installed behind the fridge and cooker gas vents and the application of some double glazing sealant to the rear doors where slight gaps around the seals allowed the fine powder in.

Meanwhile I have been researching the complexities of taking the van to Australia where the various states and territories seem to have very different and not necessarily reciprocal arrangements.

We meet up again tomorrow and will head to Mount Thomas and Oxford Forest Parks where we hope to get out on the bikes again as they spent six weeks in storage during our Westland foray.