Thursday, January 28, 2016

Post Christmas and New Year's Fun

Spent most of the day getting the bus ready. Went down to Waimea College and had a hit of tennis on the wall, it felt great being able to play again and to move with speed and grace. Washed the bikes and the bus, Christine took Bella to the Cattery for another 6 day spell. We left "The Lane" around 2.45pm and went onto Nelson to buy my Canon 700D SLR camera at Harvey Norman on sale for $799 a kit with an 18-55 lens. I also ordered a Tamron 16-300 at Noel Leemings, which was also 20% off.
This is with the New Tamron 16-300mm lens
The photo's in this blog were shot with the kit lens 18-55mm

 We headed towards Blenhiem and onto the Awatere Valley free camp called Briarich Bridge which was ok, though we were parked near some cracking high electricity lines, as other spots were taken by non certified campers.
This was on the road to the famous Molesworth Station and these rams in the paddock reflect this direction and environment!

Unpacking me new camera on the road...gee allot more bells and whistles..
Hours and hours of simple delights up ahead!
After a lazy breakie we packed up leaving around 11am and headed down the coast to Kaikoura, lots of seals out on rocks, saw some possible good places to park up but continued on to Kaikoura

The place was jumping, masses of people about, we sat in the cafe opposite the toilets and charged up my new Canon camera battery, after which, I did some busking, played the Saxes for a while, I noticed a cell phone lying on the ground, as I played I asked if anyone had lost a cell phone. I played on while a family with a 7 year old ish boy who has downs syndrome or similar stopped and the boy was transfixed, listening intently,  so I walked up to them playing quietly and got the boy to feel the vibrations and to use his finger to make a key work on the sax altering the note.......he was really connected......then he lunged for the mouthpiece so he could play it, but his father stopped him.
I still had the lost cell phone so I packed up and started walking to the information center to hand it in and was within 50ft of it when a couple approached who had lost the phone that I was waving about. The bloke threw a $5 note into my pocket, and off I walked back towards the bus. We drove down to the sealpoint then back toward town stopping to have a lovely swim in the sea, Deciding to check out the South Bay NZMCA at the Trotting club grounds, it all looked a bit pedestrian with "Wrinkleys" setting up their TV dishes at 3pm in the afternoon etc. After a nice stroll around the rocks taking lots of photos, we decided to motor on through on the inland Waiau Valley Road towards Hanmer parking up on free parking by the Conway River Bridge. Only one other car parked down nearer the river, but all good....and very quiet too!
Out of bed and walked along the river bed with the Soprano in the yoga tote bag and the new Canon camera on my shoulder. The Conway river was very low, I had to cross the river 3 times having to take socks and shoes off which got my feet cold and sore from the hard sharp rocks covered in dydimo.  After breakie we headed out through Waiau (what a lovely drive) and onto State Highway1
 Into Culverdon where we were unable to effectively use the free wi-fi. I also called into the Art Gallery there, which had some good stuff. At Rangiora we purchased an inverter so we could charge up our 240 volt technology. Onward through Oxford on the Scenic #72 Route.
Impresssive engineering under the bridge at Rakai Gorge
Motored on to park up at the Waimakariri Gorge, first we parked up the top near the anglers tents, then moved down nearer  to the river, cold weather and rain at night.
The mighty Waimakariri, very low even for this time of year!

Took off around 10am headed through the Rakaia Gorge then right up to Lake Coleridge, with the weather improving all the way. Christine used to live up there as a child ,a lovely drive in, we first found the tennis court and walked around the extension to the HE Hart Arboretum which was planted in 1935 with some unsual trees like the Woollemi Pine, 

Woollemi Pine cones...are huge!

Here is Christine taking a photo of the plaque stating this tree was planted on exactly the same day as her birthday how big its grown in such a short time! 
Upstream view of the Rakai River
One of the old/new Pelton wheel electric power generators.

The inside of the power station...amazing how they got all the gear up to this remote location in the early days with horses etc!
We had a nice walk along the loop to the cemetry and to the Powerstation, they have recently installed allot of tourist info about the area and the powerstation. Well worth the visit, with lots of walks to explore next time.
Checked out the motorcamp at Rakaia Gorge, too busy, so we motored onto Methven, had a coffee the temp was 33 deg.
New Years eve was fast approaching, so I wanted to find place with some "action" and Methven seemed to fit the bill, with a "Blue Pub" and across the road a "Brown Pub" I asked if they had live entertainment tonight...being Hogmanay (for Scotsmen), yes was the reply we have DJ's.....#$&%*^$.......was my reply.
This was the last meal in the blue pub, without any blue on the inside.
We sneakily parked up in the Domain near the back by the tennis was a very quiet New Year in Methven, however they started cutting the grass on the Bowling green at 8am am on Jan 1st, which happened to be very near our bus. The photo's below are going for a bike around and shooting the breeze. I went to the I-site information centre, which was also the local Art Gallery, and took in the display of Art and a Museum exhibition about the first world war and local history around the area also the local and very important irrigation schemes.
It's a winter time activities gate.
Out the back of the local engineering shed...
Man.... those are big saw blades
...the rust was 5mm thick!
Rajah was an Alsatian dog....Constable Robbie must have been amazing too!
Not every little town like Methven has one of these...wot no cat wash?
This was lake Clearwater, or so we thought until later, we read that boats and other motorised craft are not allowed. From this we deduced that we had indeed reached only Lake Calm as the place under this fabulous sky full of "Mares Tales" was bursting with power boats, water skiers and even kids on motocross bikes ripping around the lakes edge on circuits.
Still it was a fabulous place just to watch the sky stretch out!

On the dusty road east, back out towards Ashburton.
On the way out we stopped at Hakatere to view the historic building and onwards to Ashburton. 
Another fine Doc display at the Hakatere Station historic building.
This dog is just like my dog "Tan"...he never listened...just did what he wanted to do!
They don't build em like this anymore...IMHO
or this.....either!
Ashburton was only a Supermarket stop, Christine with some local knowledge wanted to go to Lake Hood which turned out to be quite something, with allot of jet skis and power boats buzzing around amongst the new houses development on little lakes and or canals. Next we tried to find a free park up at Rakaia Huts but got confused as the NZMCA book was unclear, so we went for a lovely drive to the nice little Rakaia huts settlement, but choose not to go into the campsite. At Southbridge we found a great place to stay, when I spotted the Southbridge Rugby Clubrooms and Squash courts sign from the main road. 
We parked up beside the sweetest little grandstand.
Southbridge is famous as the home of rugby star Daniel Carter, I could see another sunset coming and stood in the middle of the rugby field taking photos as this long sunset played out, till the final whistle.

I'm a sucker for sunsets...can't get enough of em!

Yes cycling is promoted as a healthy activity......and it is
... and can also be somewhat dangerous too!

We motored into Central Chch parked up and went for some lunch and to see what's happening in the centre, lots of new buildings.

Time is still half boarded up!

 Christchurch city centre  still has that desolate, broken, eerie feel, mainly tourists about, it was cold and wet. We couldn't find a coffee shop open (in spite of it being a Saturday afternoon) though there was plenty of food carts on offer we headed back to the bus and up to check out the Palms shopping centre, but found no place to park a motorhome. Drove across town again to finally hit the Yaldhurst Road and headed west getting water at the Kowai Pass domain, near Darfield, and parking up for the night at Doc 7688 (free) Craigieburn Forest Conservation Park well up into the Southern Alps mountains.
I had intended this blog to continue to Nelson but the rest of the trip 
(3 days) through Arthurs Pass, the Otira Hotel, catching up with owner/publican Lester Rountree, through the West Coast with stops at Te Kinkga (the other side of Lake Brunner from Moana)  a revisit to Motukiekie, Truemans Track and on through Murchison before getting home, so much happened and so many fab photos, I've decided that this is another Blog.
Till then, Be well........ Stay creative...... and..... Have fun!
 Jimu & Christine