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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)


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)

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