Getting out of Christchurch – New Zealand

Last night we stayed in a little park that is conveniently located near the airport and major campervan pickup locations. Also conveniently, there was a Burger King and Gas station within walking distance (might have taken me 2 minutes)

Since we had no real food in the camper we headed off to breakfast.

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North South Holiday Park

There were a few silly shenanigans waiting for food this morning.  Roland loves watching this video. This may have been Micheal Jackson’s Billy Jean. ( I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it but absolutely everywhere that music is playing here, it is playing songs from the 80’s. Songs that we all know and love. It’s really odd like every radio station is an oldies station and every store seems to have raided their old record collection. But we love the music so it’s okay.

Dan was so impressed with Roland’s singing that he decided to teach Roland everything he knew when it came to singing. Which is not very much by the way. No LOL! Our daughter, however, thought that she would join the fun too, so we had a little bit of singing with our breakfast this morning. She seemed to be a little embarrassed at first to be caught on camera.

 

There are some pretty unusual chip flavours here. Like LAMB and Mint flavour. And PEKING DUCK. And PARSNIP !!!!????!!!!

 

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And check out these massive 10-pound sausage-like rolls for dogs to eat? What’s up with that?

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So we got our camper yesterday. It had troubles. The GPS wouldn’t charge long enough to power up let alone give us directions. We couldn’t use a USP connection to charge our phones because there was no power coming out of it. So our two ways of navigating in this foreign country were only as good as the charge on our cell phones. The microwave had all of its screws that secure it come lose over the couple hours of driving we did.

The car seat rules are different here. I guess I’m a little difficult because I actually want the seats secured to the vehicle and my children secure in the seats too. I don’t know about you but that seems pretty reasonable to me. This was the only smile on my face for the couple hours we spent at Maui getting our GPS, USB and car seat situation sorted out.

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Well, maybe not. I’m having some fun with my little girl. Scarlet is starting to learn how to crawl, and for someone who can’t crawl she is getting around pretty quickly anyway. But she is so close to getting it. I try to give her every chance I can to crawl. I know how important this particular period of time is to her development. Besides, it’s kind of fun.

So like I said we had to wait for our motorhome to get fixed. It was really only a couple of hours, but it was right when both kids are normally sleeping. Roland gets a sudden burst of energy during these times and usually becomes a total maniac. There really wasn’t anything to keep him entertained during this period of time. But he found a few snacks to eat and he and Dan played a good game of “Chase the Toddler”. What Roland really enjoyed was watching the coffee machine. (Something about this kid and coffee?)

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Roland is two and Scarlet is only 8 months old. He really wants Mama’s attention sometimes, so it’s hard to tell if he is trying to help his sister crawl or get Mama’s attention or if he just wants somebody to play with.

This is the magical coffee machine that Roland liked so much. Coffee was free and there was a lot of people in and out of the building while we were waiting. There was probably another fifty, maybe a hundred other motorhomes in the parking lot waiting for people to rent them plus who knows how many people were out on the roads with them. It was a busy place. And so we waited and waited and waited.

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Finally, we were on the roads again. Fortunately, there were reminders to drive on the left-hand side of the road. I thought the cars and truck driving towards us were good enough to tell us that but the signs served as a pretty good reminder. Seeing them again miles and miles out of town after having driven on the left side to get there seemed pretty odd to Dan.

 

There is something else odd in this country. Besides the 80-‘s music everywhere and the really odd chip flavours, they like their tree fences. There are like hedges made out of trees. It’s a fairly even split whether they are manicured like a rectangle hedge or not. But there are hundreds of kilometers of massive hedges of trees along the main roads, the side roads, dividing fields, they are everywhere.

You can drive by them for half an hour at a time without a break. Maybe for a driveway or a side road but they are always there.

I think the trees are there for a windbreak or a property marker. In some places the hedges are so thick you can not walk through the trees and they are four and more trees deep in some places. They are not small trees either! In some cases, they are absolutely massive monster sized trees.

It’s interesting to us, we think they are called living fences. (Dan says the Australians were too lazy to put up fences and the New Zealanders/Kiwis just planted trees instead)

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We arrived in Christchurch, about halfway down the South Island and after our delay with Maui to fix our motorhome we started to drive south towards the southern part of the island. The Pacific Ocean is on our left side as we drive, sometimes we can see it far away and sometimes we can’t. We are driving in a massive flat area, famous for farming.

Way off to our right side we can see the dim outlines of mountain ranges and in places we can tell the mountains have snow on the top.

As we head into the New Zealand fall the weather is getting colder and wetter. With enough time the weather will lead to snow on the high points of almost all of those mountains. About six months from now that snow will melt and will run down the mountains like a freezing and raging river.

We have crossed over dozens of bridges that are incredibly long that cross almost dry rivers. They are constructed to allow raging rivers to flow towards the ocean without wiping out the road. The rivers are created when the snow melts every year, they are kilometers long in some places.

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And the colour of that melting snow, or glacial melt or rainfall or whatever it is, is so blue. Blue doesn’t really describe to colour. The picture doesn’t really catch the colour. It’s mesmerizing. Ir’s stunning.

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On your left side is the ocean, on your right side is a mountain range, with many other mountains beyond. You are driving on a two-lane road with the odd passing lane, traffic is fairly light. There is a train track that shadows you everywhere you are driving.

As you drive, you begin to notice that the mountains are not so far away anymore and before long you will be seeing those massive mountains up close and personal.

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Timaru is a city with about 28,000 people. It is a major port city that has been built on rolling hills created by the lava flows of the Mount Horrible volcano. There must be millions of cut trees waiting to get loaded on ships. Meat, cows and sheep, dairy, agricultural and fish are sent out on the massive container ships here.

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Dan wanted to check out the port, so we took our motorhome touring around the docks. This port has been shipping things since the whalers harboured here in the 1830’s. A truck driver- “Truckee” unloading a shipping container with a remote unit saw us driving around and assumed we were lost he gave us a friendly point towards town. I assume he thinks we are idiots.

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It’s hard to tell without a ladder and binoculars but the next piece of land is Chili in South America. And if we were to turn around walk to the other side of the island, some 400 km away, we would be able to see Argentina. The southern part of South America is the only other land massive this far south in the entire world.

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This is also a free camping spot!  If you have a self-contained camper you can sleep the night right on the ocean.

It looks as if Roland has been working on his photography skills and has actually taken some pretty good pictures of Dan. None of those are in the last few days. As he plays with one of our cell phones he takes action shots of his dinosaur, his feet, and his hat.

The weather has been quite cool, with more rain. It’s sweater and or jacket weather, but the scenery is unparalleled and makes up for any hardship we have faced weather wise.

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