A Travellerspoint blog

April 2012

Blenheim, Picton, Nelson

New Zealand

sunny 20 °C

Sit down this is a long one......

I forgot to mention just before we left Australia we bought a pair of trainers each with the intention of getting fit, yes doing some running in New Zealand and having all the utensils to be able to cook now in our camper it was also the perfect opportunity to start eating healthily!   Our drive to Blenheim was very picturesque and becoming a regular view although one you would never tire of.

We arrived in Blenheim and were told about the marvels of this town which is in the state of Marlborough, no not the cigarette one but the alcohol one you see because this is where all the best wines come from!  They have wine trails set up so you can drive around the different vinerys and taste the tipples.....now I found this abit odd....how can you drive around....drink the wines....theres a lot of them mind you....then drive onto the next one.  By the time you have finished you would be 'three sheets to the wind'. What does that mean anyway? Find out later!

We only intended to stay for a night so we found a campsite and parked up.   Having already told you of our health kick Chloe started to prepare herself a nutritious dinner and I decided to combine the two ....please bear in mind it's Tuesday....so I put on my trainers and told Chloe that I was going to get my dinner.  So stated to run along the long stretch of road heading for Dominos....yep....pizza ....come on it was Tuesday and every pizza fan knows about Dominos on Tuesdays.....Cheap Tuesdays!  How could I refuse that!    So....I'm running down this road for about five minutes and I am puffing like you wouldn't believe all I could think was 'thank god no one knows me here!'. I had all the right kit on but my body was struggling, I didn't give up though and kept on going with my jog, I think I could have walked it quicker.  I got about 15 minutes in and thought to myself "maybe its further than I thought".  You see I had driven past it and from the minute I drove past to the minute I parked the camper van all I could think of was pizza which must have tainted the distance I thought it was.    I paced myself by the amounts of roundabouts 'if I can make it to this one....I might turn back'. I kept on and then after my jog of what was about a good 25 minutes I saw it!  One thing I hadn't thought of was until this point was how I was going to get the pizza back....running?  I was waiting for the looks when I went in with my red face, sweating, still trying to sort my breathing out and ordering my pizza only to run off with it down the road.....very amusing!   I walked in and saw a large que of very overweight people....maybe I wouldn't have pizza....I looked out for the Cheap Tuesday deal and guess what.....they didn't do it!  There and then I made a decision to turn around and leave...like I had given Dominos a guest appearance from the UK.  Tell you what my run back was a lot easier, I felt quite inspired that I wasn't carrying that pizza box.

When i got into the campervan I could see Chloe tucking into her dinner and  I gave my speech of how I walked out of Dominos....little things aye!

Next day we left and had a drive toward Nelson which had been highly recommended to us by many people and ex residents that had moved on to Ozzy.  We had quite a difficult drive through the mountains which consist of miles and miles of winding sharp bends up steep hills and then back down again.  Picton is a small port where various tankers and yachts moor up.  When you get to the top of the hill there is a viewing point and you can look down onto the port and out to sea....beautiful!  It was raining and the windy roads were taking their toll with me and this large campervan.  We were doing about 35kil down to 15 kils on some of the bends and I had to keep the plates and bowls inside from moving around too much.   It was at this point, during the height of my concentration, Chloe decided to have a 'chat' about Michael Jackson.  Now.....I can't even believe I have put his name in our blog because I for one am not anywhere near a fan of the man....never was and definitely wasn't in last ten years of his life.   Chloe, however, thinks he is an iconic symbol of his time but we do not see eye to eye on the matter and neither of us will budge on it.  So whilst i'm negotiating these killer bends we start debating over bloody MJ!  I can tell you things got heated and I for one was getting really annoyed and was then taking these corners at 45kils and the plates started to make some noises.  In the end I shouted "I'm not spending anytime arguing about bloody Michael Jackson when i'm on the trip of a life time driving through these beautiful places.....he is not going to ruin it!  So leave it!".   It was over....thank god!  The plates didn't get smashed and we made it to Nelson in silence the rest of the journey.  If anyone wants to know what I think of him all i'm going to say is 'what was the name of the lads that 'had a sleep over' at his? So with this in mind I couldn't care less what influence he had on the music industry....the only good thing that came from MJ was the Bo Selecta version which gave me many hours of laughter!  "Heee.....heeee....Shamon!"

Just before we got into Nelson there was a beautiful stretch of lake running along side the road we were driving....still and tranquil.  The homes in New Zealand i noticed are mainly bungalow so when you look around you can see a 360o view of the area because there aren't hugh buildings blocking then view, initially I wondered why the sky was bigger!  The sky incidentally is a prefect blue and if there is a cloud it will be a lovely little white fluffy one.....sweet...as they say in New Zealand!

Nelson has everything you need and all of the well know typical shops/takeaways like the 'M' word and the 'KFC' you know what I mean!  So guess who else was there.......yep....Dominos!  So after my valiant retreat the night before this time Chloe convinced me to have one (save the fact they had an offer on you couldn't refuse!). We bought up and pitched up next to the lake, looking out of the window watching the sun setting behind the mountains scoffing pizza and chips.  What more can you ask for....this was what it was all about, travelling and seeing stuff like this.  

I wonder if people reading the blogs want me to talk about the towns/villages that we go through but to be honest they are much of much unless they really stand out significantly.  The towns in New Zealand are humble, pretty with lovely friendly people, it's a quiet place with few vehicles on the roads until you get to to the towns.  Some towns will only be a five minute walk though with a population of 300 people.   I think there are more sheep in New Zealand than there are people, I've never seen so many!

I was also taken aback by the sea shores, the fact that adjacent land hadn't been turned into typical sea side town resorts.  There was just green grass....parking bays for free so you could just stop, stay or do whatever!  Enjoy!  Amazing place.

It was here in New Zealand that I realised I could, once again, put toilet paper down the loo....you can't do this in some countries....see how spoilt we are by the simple things!

The second night we pitched up at a campsite as our battery was running flat, I was in the communal kitchen area washing up....yes me and not Chloe....when I was approached by guy called Rod curious of where we had come from.  We got talking and then were invited down to French Pass to spend a couple of days with his friends.....why not....so that's where we went next.  I did ask him if his friends called him 'Rodders' and he replied that he wasn't from some English sitcom, so even over there Only Fools and Horses are still alive!

By the way....Three sheets to the wind.....It's a sailor language....

Sheets aren't sails but ropes (or occasionally, chains). These are fixed to the lower corners of sails, to hold them in place. If three sheets are loose and blowing about in the wind then the sails will flap and the boat will lurch about like a drunken sailor.   The original  phrase was 'three sheets in the wind'. 

Sailors at that time had a sliding scale of drunkenness; three sheets was the falling over stage; tipsy was just 'one sheet in the wind', or 'a sheet in the wind's eye'. 

Posted by Vicky Bailey 20:19 Archived in New Zealand Tagged lakes beaches travel scenery dominos picton journey campervan mother_daughter blog blenheim world_trip back_packing michael_jackson chloe_bailey flash_packing Comments (0)

Kaikoura

Whale watching, dolphins and seals.

semi-overcast 17 °C

We drove along the coast toward Blenhiem and stumbled across a layby in the early evening which was right next to a quiet beach. There were not many homes and hardly any vehicles on the road either. I decided that this could be a good spot to park up, cook some dinner and get some sleep. We didn't see any signs to say we were not allowed to stay there, even though we had a prime spot of next to the sea.....unlike in the UK where a hefty parking fee would be insistent before you take the key out of the car! We fell asleep to the sea lapping onto the shore, a familiar sound. In the mourning we found we were in Koikoura a small town which boasted Whale watching tours and their own seal colony just up the road.

We set off to see the seals and another freebee....park up and there they were just off the road plenty of seals just soaking up the sun.....stinking of fish...but they were there and we saw them in their natural environment......amazing!

We decided to check out the Whale watching tour and it comprised a short boat trip for the afternoon and a guarantee of 80% of your money back if you didn't see one. So I paid up for us to go on the tour. We had a very nice boat (compared to the Thai boat journeys) abit of luxury taking us out to see and I was dubious of what we would see....in the sea! After a while and plenty of possible sightings, getting in and out of our seats there was an announcement "on the left side you can see a sperm whale" I looked out and yes there it was blowing water up into the air. A clear view of this creature ....a long shiney grey rubbery looking thing. It was unreal, you couldn't see the eyes just its back until we were warned that it was going to dive down. They stay on the surface for apx 10 mins then dive down for 40 mins. I got the camera ready for the famous tail in the water picture but when I saw the tail in the air against the empty sea I didn't press the button because it was the first time I had seen this and before I had got over the wow factor and was ready to take the photo he had gone.

We went back to our seats and I thought it was all over but was so content from what I had seen I couldn't believe it when they announced a second whale this time on the right. Again I saw and tried to take the photo but wasn't quick enough. Back to the seats for a few more minutes before I heard "theres a pod of dolphins now" I rushed out and I couldn't believe what I saw......pod....apx 100 dolphins leaping and spinning clear out of the water. I couldn't help think of the dolphin watching in Goa where I saw two jump out, these ones were a lot smaller but they certainly put on a show for us weaving around each other, around and under the boat now that was absolutey amazing and I will never forget. I could have watched them all day they were beautiful! On the return back to shore another announcement.....a humped back whale!!!!! How lucky were we!! What a day.....seals, whales and dolphins! We left with big smiles about New Zealand and how fantastic it was and we were only on day two!!

Posted by Vicky Bailey 22:04 Archived in New Zealand Tagged beaches sea whales dolphins kaikoura penguins journey campervan mother_daughter seals blog world_trip back_packing chloe_bailey flash_packing Comments (0)

Leaving Australia for Christchurch New Zealand

Earthquake aftermath, Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Hamilton Island, Sydney, Collangatta, Manley Beach

So completely cutting out Australia as in we only went to Airle Beach, Brisbane, Coolangatta and Sydney cutting our Aussie trip from anything upto 3 months down to 2 weeks is quite some decision making but believe me this decision is not one that I have lived to regret and to be honest if I did who cares! Why? Simple ......New Zealand is amazing! I can give you a run down of auz in a paragraph, yes I know I've issued out the best bits, yes I didn't give it enough time, yes......NO! Remember one thing here...I'm on a budget for two and staying in auz and not working is bloody expensive. Plus I have been there befo and I did like it, so it's not that I don't like it.....heres why........

Arrived in Brisbane and ended up in a really shitty backpackers hostel....yep....booked by Chloe....if you've read the porno set blog ....this one was like staying in a 12 year olds messy bedroom albeit was for one night so we could move one but it was a big curve for us as it was the first time since October we have had to shop and cook for ourselves. We had to buy a small cooler bag from Coles (same thing as Asda/Somerfields) to put our cold food in and attach a label with our name, room and date of leaving and only then was it allowed to go not the fridge with all the other blue Coles bags, don't forget where you put yours because then you have to search through 50-60 other blue Coles bags the same just to find your tag. We didn't get the bag for the first hostel to be honest, it was bad enough trying to get to our bed through the floordrobe that made us go out to eat. We couldn't even find Coles and I wasn't in the mood for looking for it, I was not feeling the love of Oz at all and couldn't wait to get to Airlie Beach where I remembered good times. We had to leave early the next morning and I cussed myself after having about 1 hr sleep.....mainly due to being in Oz I kept myself awake wondering why the hell I was there especially in some manky bedroom, anyway..... I got up having promised honestly the night before to drop the room key off to reception so that I didn't have to leave a depost of $20 and to my horror I couldn't find the key. I can only imagine I left it on the bed so we left with me worrying all day about the key that could only have been in the room.

Airlie Beach ....we stayed at the youth hostel which was very clean, we had been travelling all day and only just got onto the flight thanks to some lady who had clearly got out of bed the right side....thankfully. That night I was in bed half asleep in our 6 bed dorm and thought I could smell tuna, I opened my eyes and saw the bathroom door shut "perhaps thes someone in there eating tuna sandwiches". Is actually what I thought. I was being very understanding and even considered someone with an eating disorder...you know....too scared to eat in front of anyone....well I was half asleep remember. Next thing I knew was this moaning sound, which incidently soundly very ......sexually explicit......"ummmmm"........."ohhhhhhh"........"uuuuhhhhhhhhh". I did think one of the girls had brought a guy back and when I looked and saw no one I said aloud "are you alright over there?". I didn't get a reply from the girl but the others said that they thought she was drunk and that she had left the shower on. Let's go back to that tuna smell......yes ....not tuna sarnies.....as soon as they opened the bathroom door....tuna....she had thrown up all over the floor and the toilet. "Dont worry" i said "I know what to do". The puker was in no fit state to do anything and sat with another girls towel on around her asleep. I got one of the girls to stand in the bathroom and passed them the outside hose, I turned it on and instructed them to wash it away down the drain. Good plan aye.....well it would have been if it the drain worked....but it didn't....so it overflowed and spilt out into the dorm (which I thought was quite funny) unfortunately the girl holding the hose was very upset about this thinking it was her fault.....course it wasn't.....it was mine!

In the end we had to get the management in to clean it up. The funny thing of it was that whenever I had a shower after that if you got the water not enough....you could smell the tuna down the drain.

We had a trip to the barrier reef which was fun unfortunately the weather was bad on the way back and everyone except for me, Chloe and the staff threw up on the boat. I spent my journey helping an old lady bless her who couldn't keep it down ....bless her.

We had a great evening with the lovely Annabel catching up on stuff and having a few heart stopping moments......bank card....and lots of giggles. Also some great laughs with Mr Ross Leighton....who managed to keep his entire outfit on, which I'm told is very unusual.....bit i do have one incriminating photo of the WOW without the WW.....you know what I mean!! Not forgetting a night with Mr Henderson who tried to show his muscles in the punch bag machine but instead missed and ended up with broken fingers.....another good evening....lol.....muppet! X

So with all those events wrapped up nicely and the thought of not paying $5 for a bottle of water we left for New Zealand ....Campervan booked with luxury hot water and tv/DVD player.

When we got to Christchurch it was a it of a shocker, our plane was delayed by an hour and customes/passport control took about another 2 hours to get through...seriously. We were collected by taxi booked by our hostel and we given a guided tour through the journey by our driver who was brilliant. We were shown the devastation for the earthquake last year and even though I had seen it on the news I wasn't prepared for what was in front of my eyes. It was dark it you could still see hugh empty areas where buildings had been pulled down, roads all broke , barriers around blocks of houses. There are compulsary purchase orders etc on properties, imagine one day you just can't go into your home because it's too dangerous but it was ok the day before. It was the 4th deadliest disaster in new Zealand ever killing 185 people....imagine 185 people near you dying in one day....I mean one person is too many but these natural disasters that just wipe out people are not reported to us enough. They are still trying to rebuild their lives now ...a good year on....and still the road and barriers are up. It really opens my eyes to how fortunate we are, you know what the New Zealand people are really good people and very friendly, they are welcoming to new people and will do anything to help out. Its like a cruel twisting nature to deal this to them. Sometimes, a lot of times, I wish I had a magic wand that I could just wave and make it all better......but I expect a lot of people wish that too.

However, despite that most of Christchurch looks like its been in the blitz the people are amazing and we had a lovey time there for our one night before picking up our camper. So we are going to go back and go to the museum about the earthquake just before we are due to leave New Zealand. So far though......I wonder.....why doesn't everyone visit here....it's got to be the most beautifulist place in the whole world.....and I've seen abit of it already.

By the way...when we picked up the campervan.....we spent a good ten minutes in the car park because I didn't know how to start it as it was a mix of automatic and manual. I didn't want to ask and look dumb....so I spent ten minutes trying different techniques.....come on......what would you have done??????

Posted by Vicky Bailey 01:04 Archived in New Zealand Tagged beach christchurch brisbane journey mother_daughter blog world_trip airlie back_packing chloe_bailey flash_packing Comments (0)

Blog update

Hye People

Please bear with us as not been able to blog for a while, this is because the Internet is so expensive in Australia and new Zealand. We have many blogs to write as soon as we can get some free/reasonable wifi. Watch this space, by the way New Zealand is fantastic!!

Posted by Vicky Bailey 16:37 Comments (0)

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