Heaading to the West Coast of the South Island, New Zealand

With not much of a clear goal in mind, we headed towards the West Coast. We couldn’t take the “short” route either.  The GPS told us to take a particular road that happens to be on our NO GO list provided by Maui.  We really wanted to take it too.  We actually met several people who drove on it VERY SLOWLY and said it was spectacular and one of the most insane roads they had ever driven.  (maybe it was a good thing to avoid in our giant moving house).  Even with the “Safer” route, we were not left disappointed by the drive.

Hairpin turns, switchbacks, cliffs, one lane bridges and rocky overhangs were a regular occurrence with the occasional reprieve of valleys and flats.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

NZ Day 11

It’s a Bug…

Easy Driving.

 

NZ Day 11NZ Day 11NZ Day 11NZ Day 11NZ Day 11NZ Day 11NZ Day 11NZ Day 11NZ Day 11

 

NZ Day 11NZ Day 11NZ Day 11NZ Day 11NZ Day 11NZ Day 11NZ Day 11

 

NZ Day 11

When they say go 15km/h they mean 15!

NZ Day 11

Netting to hold back the rocks from falling on you.

NZ Day 11

 

 

NZ Day 11

You can’t even see the road around the corner.

NZ Day 11NZ Day 11

 

Keeping Roland entertained on these drives can be difficult at times.  I find myself singing, a lot.  It usually involves silly things, what we see and what we are doing.  He loves it and frequently sings his own songs.  Much to Dan’s annoyance I frequently sing “The Bear Song” by Green Gelly. (As I write this I am finally listening to the song on my comuter, love it. Look it up!)

 

NZ Day 11

This is a river.  Can you imagine it full?!?!

This one lane bridge is so large it has two “Passing” sections where you can sit and wait for a car to pass you.  We’re still not sure on the actual etiquette on this so we just waited until the whole bridge was clear.  We might also be too large for such a passing place too.

 

 

NZ Day 11NZ Day 11NZ Day 11

NZ Day 11

We can now see OCEAN!

 

 

We decided to grab some lunch at a random spot along the way.  Turns out the Makarora Country Cafe was a wonderful and special place.

Cozy Fireplace, kids toys, room to crawl around.

NZ Day 11

NZ Day 11

This is NOT the fireplace being used today!

 

 

Good food, Flags, antiques all over the place. License plates from all over the world, even Canada and the US.  This money tree.

NZ Day 11

It was the atmosphere that made it more like visiting your family cottage more than a random stop on the road.

IMG_5466-15586(rev 1).jpg

We are so glad we stopped by!

Out on the ocean, we drove by spectacular sights.  There is a little place you can pull off and some great beach access.

There is also a lot of smooth white rocks.

NZ Day 11NZ Day 11

People have gone and written all sorts of messages and added them to a pile right on the beach.  There were half a dozen piles.

NZ Day 11NZ Day 11

We got as far as Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier as it started to get dark and called it for a night.  We liked the idea of viewing a glacier and that it just what we will do tomorrow.

NZ Day 11

NZ Day 11

NZ Day 11

Rainforest Retreat

The Rainforest Retreat has a variety of accommodations and even has a full-service restaurant!  The staff at Monsoons were fantastic!  The camping spots are set in the back of the park and surrounded by lush rainforest.  Just perfect.

NZ Day 11

Maui in the forest.

NZ Day 11

lol, not our camper.

 

Queenstown – New Zealand

Once a sheepherding town turned gold rush, now hosts thousands of visitors each day.  With the average stay of 3 nights, that’s a lot of people coming and going out of this mountainside town.

Situated on  Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by snowcapped mountains such as the remarkable, people flock to this area for skiing, fishing, hiking and jumping off of and out of various things.

We stayed two nights at Creeksyde (Queenstown Holiday Park & Motel Creeksyde)

 

NZ Day 11

There are so many large trees on the property.NZ Day 11

NZ Day 11

I just love this little wishing well they use for drinking water.  It is a very eco-friendly place.

NZ Day 11

 

This is a boiler.  Placed right in the middle of the main building.  It is covered in beautiful and interesting graffiti.  It was originally used for fire suppression back in the sheepherding days of the town.

NZ Day 11NZ Day 11

 

We took some time to wander around town by foot and we saw why people love this town.

From good coffee to Orange and Basil Sherbert, the food is wonderful and varied.  Something for everyone.

We hit the marina and admired the shark boat (know to make people vomit) but decided on the more gentle cruise with one of the several companies down here.  We hopped on with Million Dollar Cruses

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Roland took these two photos of our fellow passengers.

With lunch on the docket, we headed for another walk around town.  Roland is not always the best-behaved kid so we thought it a good idea to leave him in the stocks for a little while. JK.

NZ Day 10

We headed up the hill towards the Gondola with the plan to eat at the top with a view (assuming the clouds would finally go away)

We were greeted by this “little fellow”.  How would you like to drive around with this guy on your car!

NZ Day 10

Roland is really getting into the idea of having his picture taken in various places.  He loves saying “CHEESE” with the biggest goofiest grin on his face!

NZ Day 10

At the top of the Skyview Gondola, you will find a restaurant ($55/adult for a buffet) and (thankfully) a cafe with various things you can eat.  There is even a play area for kids.  You will find a typical souvenir shop and even JellyBellys both for sale and on the walls as art.

 

NZ Day 10

A view from the top

NZ Day 10

Looking Down on Queenstown

NZ Day 10

They like to jump off things around here.  It’s a drop and a view you will never forget.

At the top, you can also find this.

NZ Day 10

Luge Chair Lift

They will let you even take your toddler on this to get to the top and ride your way back down.  That’s 1.6km of GRAVITY-FUELLED FUN.  And, He Loved It!  (I was so scared with him on my lap on that chair lift though!)

 

These are the Remarkables.  You can see why they named them so.

NZ Day 10

There is plenty more to see and do in this town but we need to keep moving.  We found it better to pay for an extra night so we could walk the town, rather than drive and look for parking.  There is the feeling of a ski town to me.  A lot of focus on the outdoor and extreme activities with a younger crowd.   (took a while to even find a change table, there is one in the Mall near McDonald’s)

For now, we head off towards the west coast.

Driving to Queenstown – New Zealand

Today we are heading from Milford Sound to Queenstown (arguably the most popular destination in New Zealand).

It rained overnight in Milford sound and we woke to what can only be described as THOUSANDS of waterfalls.

Day 9

Day 9Day 9

Day 9Day 9Day 9Day 9Day 9Day 9

We took the time to have lunch in Te Anau.

 

Day 9Day 9Day 9

The rest of our drive was easy going with unforgettable views.

Day 9Day 9

Day 9

This sign reminds me of toothpaste.

Day 9

Day 9

He’s napping with his feet up on the table!!

Day 9

notice the zig zag lines the sheep use to get up and down the “hill”

Day 9

Kingston and Lake Wakatipu

Day 9

Lake Wakatipu

Day 9Day 9

Day 9

Lake Wakatipu

Day 9

The sun is starting to set on Lake Wakatipu but we actually got a picture of the two of us!

Day 9

What a road!!

Day 9

That is a big rock!!

Day 9Day 9Day 9

 

 

Day 9

Bridge work entering Queenstown

Day 9

Don’t get lost!

 

It was dark by the time we arrived in Queenstown and checked into the park late as usual.

The staff at Queenstown Holiday Park are nothing short of fantastic.  They were such a help with figuring out where we were going the next day and even got us a bathtub for the kids!  The amenities are great too.  The kitchen and lounge/TV area was comfortable and spacious.  It was nice to get out of the camper to cook and eat.  We like the place enough to stay the second night too.

 

 

Getting to Milford Sound – New Zealand

There are a lot of places to see in New Zealand and by far the most spectacular so far is Milford Sound.  A unique world unlike any other in the world, Milford Sound is also far off the beaten track.

On our way, we passed through Lake Manapouri and Lake Te Anau.  Both have great places to stay and beautiful views.

IMG_5083

These small towns are a great launching point for your 2 plus hour drive.  Take your time, stay the night and explore all of the beauty of the region.

NZ 8NZ 8NZ 8NZ 8NZ 8NZ 8

Once you leave Te Anau there are no gas stations, no stores and no towns along the way.  There are very few places to overnight as well.

You can find some campsites that are “self-serve” and even a few remote lodges.

Day 9

The drive is filled with spectacular sights so go slow, stretch your legs and gaze upon the views that are like no other.

Day 9Day 9

 

Day 9

Road conditions also change from day to day.  Check www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic every day before you drive.  You can have frost, rain, snow, avalanches, rock slides or pleasant sunshine. The weather also changes based on your altitude, on the day we traveled there was snow as low as 300m above sea level.  The next day, when we left, there were thousands of waterfalls caused by that night’s rain.Day 9Day 9Day 9Day 9NZ 8NZ 8NZ 8

This is the Kea

Day 9

The Kea is endangered and the worlds only alpine parrot.  It has sadly fallen prey to mammals and most notedly the Human.  The salt in our food will kill them as they cannot process it.  PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE KEA!

Day 9

They are cheeky little birds who will tear apart exposed parts of your car, wires, and rubber bits mostly. They are fun to watch and quite bold.

There are plenty of scenic lookouts and hiking trails along the way.

NZ 8

Open Fields encased by snow capped mountains

NZ 8

Dense forest

NZ 8

Glacial formed rivers

NZ 8

Clear Blue Water

NZ 8

Mirror Glass Water

NZ 8

 

When you get to the end of the road to Milford Sound you will find the information center/café and the harbor.

This is when you have finally reached your destination.

 

NZ 8

 

There is a lot to see and do here and only one place to stay.

The Milford Sound Lodge has various accommodations with everything from private bathrooms to a Resturant and Lounge.

Day 9Day 9NZ 8

 

 

Bluff – South Island, New Zealand

We slept in today.  I am amazed it is so late.  Usually, we have one of two kids waking us up at 7 am.  I don’t know what woke us up but this is what we saw at 8:23 this morning.

IMG_4959

Scarlet has definitely learned how to crawl over top of those cushions on her own.  Time to invent the next barrier to separate those two.

I think the ducks can be credited to the quiet toddler this morning.  You can see him looking out the window.  There are 4 large ducks hanging around the camp kitchen hoping for a free meal.

IMG_8630

In fact, it might have been the ducks that wake us up “QUACK QUACK QUACK”

Roland said we need to investigate these quacking birds a little further.

After completing a few necessary “to do” items in town we decided to head out to Bluff.

IMG_8978

We drove south.  We drove as far south as we possibly could.  The only way to drive any further south is in a submarine.

There are no roads south of here unless you count the roads in Antarctica.

The town had an old world feel to it.  Bluff claims to be the first European settlement in New Zealand. (PersevePerseverance arriving in 1813) As a deep water port, Bluff is quite a busy place. It’s known for its aluminum smelter and oil explorations. We missed their annual oyster festival by one day.

IMG_8965We were really surprised to find out about how much meat is exported from this place. There are thousands of cows and sheep everywhere, but there are also thousands of deer being farmed on the way to Bluff. There are refrigerated shipping containers for the ships to carry frozen beef, venison, and lamb to faraway markets. Not to mention fish, and oysters too.

IMG_8980

I recommend making at least two stops while you are exploring the town.  There is a look-out on Bluff Hill (870 ft high) and the terminus of the peninsula, Stirling Point.

Bluff Hill is a steep drive and at the top, you will be greeted with spectacular views.

 

IMG_8971

Everything we have ever know is to the north of us.

 

 

IMG_8973

Looking South, places we have yet to go.

The hill is topped with a spiral walkway that will take you through some of New Zealand’s History.

IMG_8968

IMG_8970

 

Headed from Bluff Hill to the end of the road at Sterling Point there are a few things to keep in mind.

 

IMG_4974

Glad I know how to get up Bluff Hill!

 

IMG_4977

With beautiful ocean views and a few places to park, it is a wonderful place to get out and stretch your legs.  There is even a short ocean trail.

IMG_4990IMG_4988

There was this interesting area out in the water where you could see allot of waves breaking.  After staring at it for a while I began to notice that some of the waves were actually going in different directions.  They would crash into each other and that was a large part of the turbulence I could see.  I’m still not sure what was causing it.

IMG_4992

 

After Bluff, we headed toward Milford Sound. I know we won’t make it there today, so we took our time and enjoyed the views along the way.

IMG_5005IMG_5008IMG_5027IMG_5049

IMG_5058IMG_5067IMG_5078

A world of chocolate and breathtaking driving – Dunedin, New Zealand

Straight off the hop, we headed for Cadbury World this morning, it is never too early for chocolate!

We got ourselves booked into the 11 o’clock tour and quickly found out that we couldn’t take any pictures for you to see.  Why? It’s not what you think.  It’s not about secrets.  Apparently, too many people have dropped their phones and had them shatter.  Since this is a working factory they would then need to close down the area to have it cleaned properly!  NZ Day 5

That’s right, this is a tour of the actual working factory.  We did not see any production lines.  Frankly, I think we just walked through shared hallways.  We did, however, get ALOT of chocolate.  Every time we entered a new room we had more chocolate to put into our goodie bags!  Roland LOVED this idea, much like Halloween.

NZ Day 5

There is a small museum area.  Roland loved waiting for the horse and cart to come around the corner and would stand there forever watching it.

Here you can learn about the origins of chocolate and the history of Cadbury as well.

NZ Day 5NZ Day 5NZ Day 5

There is a small shop and cafe attached to the factory and, naturally, I may have also bought a little too much chocolate to bring home…

While at Cadbury we learned that we have never tried ANY of their New Zealand favourites and that they have this incredible fundraiser where they let loose thousands of giant candy-coated chocolate balls, a large version of their Jaffa candy.  They drop these sweet treats down the worlds steepest street.

Naturally, we had to go see this street.

So after that happened we had to go find more scary roads to go on.

Now this in an OCEAN ROAD, you cannot get any closer without going for a swim.

NZ Day 5

Oh, and did I mention the crazy wind!  So strong it is literally picking up the water and turning it into spray.

NZ Day 5

It was spectacular and we had a purpose.

NZ Day 5NZ Day 5NZ Day 5NZ Day 5NZ Day 5NZ Day 5NZ Day 5NZ Day 5

Our purpose

NZ Day 5

We drove all the way to the end of the road where we found the Royal Albatros Centre.  It is also just past the Yellow Eyed Penguin place (Where I had intended on heading)

Did I mention the wind?

We got the kid inside (Roland has a thing about wind.  He doesn’t like it.  Not one bit.

We decided against the tour to see the nesting baby albatross and I just went for a walk.  Although beautiful, I did not see any big birds.  There are also little blue penguins that come in at dusk but there is a storm coming in and I just don’t want to drive that road in the dark with wind and wet.  No thanks. We even decided not to go see the Yellow-eyed Penguins either.

NZ Day 5

As Scarlet crawls around on the floor, she quickly gathers a fan base of other travelers who don’t speak English.  I have noticed both my kids garner quite a bit of attention from other cultures who are visiting here and they both love the attention. NZ Day 5NZ Day 5

This is the storm that I saw coming.

NZ Day 5

We had trouble getting the door to the camper closed, the wind was that strong.

Dan did see this on the way back and had to grab a picture.

With a quick search on Camper Mate, we chose a new place to stay the night, the Dunedin Holiday Park.  Still raining and crazy wind, driving through town, Roland pipes up about an ambulance.  We can’t see one or hear one so we start trying to figure out what he could be hearing that would make him think of an ambulance.  (even with the window rolled down we didn’t hear anything.

But sure enough, about 30 seconds later we heard the fire trucks coming from behind.

Now tell me, how can this kid hear a siren from that far away and yet not hear his name being called from across the table.

NZ Day 5

As we call it a night, Dan is reminded why it is best to shop at supermarkets and not little stores of convenience.  That’s $2 for 300ml!

Tomorrow we start our two plus day drive to Milford Sound.

gIANT rOUND rOCKS – New Zealand

We found $5 BREAKFAST and if you have any idea how much we have been spending on food you will know why we are so excited!  Not only was the food cheap, the coffee had a great kick. the food was delicious, staff was awesome and there were even toys for kids to play with.

NZ  4

The Village Cafe in Timaru definitely gets thumbs up from us!  It’s in a little plaza with a grocery and a few other shops, including a pharmacy and post office.

As I was chatting with another mom with a baby, Roland comes running in with a new hat. the kind to which I responded, “Well I KNOW you Daddy didn’t buy that one for you…”  Of he went and returned two more times with different hats.  We bought this one.

NZ  4

Whenever we leave in the morning we have a plan of where we want to go and what we plan on doing. Sometimes, however, we like to take detours on our way and if we are lucky we find some pretty spectacular things…

NZ  4

We have mountains on one side…

NZ  4

and ocean on the other.

NZ  4

They have coloured “marshmallows”

Our goal, today, was to drive from Timaru to Dunedin but we saw a giant sign for the Steampunk HQ and through that might just be a worthwhile drive-by.

It was.  The cafe on the water was also worth a stop.

There are always signs pointing out historical markers, points of interest and memorials.

Dan through he saw “Memorial Boulders” and off we went to see what exactly a “memorial boulder was”.  Dan tells it like this.  “Well you see,  a ship sunk and crashed into a bunch of rocks and they died.  So the other rocks got together and built these boulders to remember that tragic day…” or something like that.  If you know Dan, this makes sense…

I also got Scarlet a new bib!

NZ  4

Dan had a great time finding interesting signs.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We made it to our destination of Dunedin at a respectable 3:30.  We headed straight for the Cadbury Factory to go on a tour but missed the last showing.  So, we simply asked what next? and were guided to the Train Station around the corner.  Naturally, Roland had lots of fun looking around.  The building itself is stunning.  Opened in 1906 it was the busiest station in all of New Zealand.  At it’s busiest it was doing up to 100 trains a day!  The architect earned the nickname of “Gingerbread Gorge” for the ornate look.  The tile work inside is equally as beautiful as the outside.  Considered one of the worlds 200 must see places, we agree.

I also spotted this old house and if you know me personally you will know why I was so excited to see it.

NZ  4

We have checked into a Top10 holiday park here in town and Dan saw “heated Pool”

We had fun but we were still cold.  It’s dark and raining tonight too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tomorrow we will go back to Cadbury and try to see some penguins aswell.

Oh and we cant forget to add this one in for you.

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.

NZ 3 01

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 !!!!????!!!!

 

NZ 3 06

NZ 3 07

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

NZ 3 08

 

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.

NZ 3 13

 

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?)

NZ 3 14

 

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.

NZ 3 15

 

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)

NZ 3 20

 

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.

NZ 3 21

NZ 3 21

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.

NZ 3 23

 

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.

NZ 3 27

 

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.

NZ 3 29

 

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

NZ 3 39

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.

Antartic Center – Christchurch, New Zealand

Today we pick up our new camper and we still need to name this one.  Our last campervan was called “The Beast”  Any suggestions for this one?

I left Dan and the kids after a rushed breakfast.  Hopped in a cab and was off to Maui.  Where I waited. And Waited.  So I thought I would put the time to good use and called home to Mom.  It’s hard keeping in touch with family.  The time difference limits the hours we are all awake and I find those hours are when we are busy packing up to get going or already on the road.

So, a brief few words with mom and sure enough it’s my turn.  Oh well, next time Mom. (P.S. Happy Mother’s Day)

While I enjoyed a few moments of solitude Dan was out with both kids having some fun.

NZ 2NZ 2NZ 2NZ 2

 

In Australia, you can go pretty far rather fast and we know New Zealand is going to be different.  Any guesses on how many kilometers we can drive in 4 weeks?

Here’s our start kilometers

NZ 2

After picking up this motorhome I headed back to the Central Business District to get the rest of the fam.  We headed off to grab a few quick items of food (mostly for baby Scarlet and coffee for Dan). Our intended destination is the Antartic Centre.

NZ 2

This “COOL” place is part museum part playground for most ages.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Plan to spend a good half day here as there is a lot to see and do.

The best ages are 2 and older so you can take advantage of all the different activities (under 2 cannot ride the HAGGLUND RIDE )

NZ 2

When you purchase your tickets the staff will map out the best times to see the various different attractions including Hagglund Ride, 4D movies, Blue Penguin feeding, and Artic Storm simulator.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After getting a nice warm winter coat and some booties on you can head into the -8C snow filled room.  After 5 minutes they turn on the simulator that makes a windchill of -18C.  It is dark, loud and cold and not suited for everyone.  There is an igloo to hide in and a few other sport to get away from the wind but the noise can be scary for little ones.  And no, Dan did not wear a coat.

NZ 2

This, of course, is nowhere near the actual cold the research teams are experiencing at the moment.

NZ 2NZ 2

The center is home to several rescued little blue penguins.  Several have had various injuries and could not otherwise survive.

NZ 2NZ 2

The HAGGLUND RIDE takes you for a spin in the same vehicles that are used in the antarctic.  The ride showcases what it is capable of, crossing 1-meter gaps, driving through water, up and down hills and such.  It’s bumpy and can be scary for some little ones.

There are plenty of other spaces to explore inside as well with a wealth of knowledge everywhere you look.  Lots of things to touch and climb on too.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

With all these things to see and do, don’t forget to take a break.

There is a cafe-restaurant located on site and a gift shop to browse.

We had a lot of fun here and it is a must see in our opinion.

As it was getting late we simply grabbed Burger King and plunked ourselves down in the nearest caravan park for the night.

Despite not leaving Christchurch we still managed to drive 69 km today.

Australia Day 41 – We say goodbye to “The Beast”

How far can you drive a camper with two little kids in 6 weeks? The last picture will give you the answer…

Packing, no one likes it but it is a necessary part of travel.

One of the biggest reasons I wanted to travel by motorhome was so I didn’t want to pack and unpack every few days into and our of different hotels.

When we got our camper I unpacked everything and there it stayed for 6 weeks.

Well, it appears we have added a few items over that time and now it just doesn’t fit.

We started our Australia/New Zealand trip with just one suitcase a few backpacks, not bad Eh?

We are at the Discovery Park Easts Beach.  It is likely the largest park we have been in and it is FANTASTIC.  Children’s toilets, baby bathtubs, child size showers, playgrounds, space, beach, the list goes on.

Dan took Roland for “A Run” (as we have taken to calling it)

This way I could get some packing done without the little dude trying to undo everything.  Scarlet was a willing participant that did not complain too much.

Day 41

This little duck decided to visit.  Clearly, a local favourite as to hoe friendly and hungry looking it was.

I have the added bonus today of a 1-hour massage, booked by Dan and an anniversary/mother’s day gift.  And I need it!  My right shoulder has been killing me.  It’s not a new issue but certainly aggravated by the driving and child wrestling that has been going on.

My massage was fantastic!  James, a seasoned Iron Man triathlete gave a great deep tissue remedial massage.  As he put it “A good Flogging”

All packed up we headed north to the Maui dealership.  Before leaving town we took in a few sights.

Day 41

Discovery Park Easts Beach

Day 41

Little Blow Hole

On the way back to Sydney,

Day 41

We might have left it looking a little dirty compared to the clean and ready to go models…

We took a quick taxi ride to our hotel and made the quick decision to get a new duffel bag to hold all our extra stuff.

The hotel staff had suggested a local shopping center that was close walking distance.  Thinking I wouldn’t be long I headed off and left Dan with the kids, planning to bring supper home with me.  It was about 4:30.

The shopping center had a Woolworths, foot locker and some various other shops (including the Japnese version of a dollar store) but no luggage to be seen.

Chatting with the employee of Foot Locker, he suggested a luggage store located in the World Square Shopping Centre.  Not having a clue and not having any data on my phone, I headed off in that direction.  A “short ” walk through China Town and I found the place mentioned.  Their quality was second to none but so was the $400 price tag on a small duffel bag.  I do love good quality but I also have a budget I need to follow.  Lucky me, I found a “dollar store” downstairs and they had the cheapest looking bag you have ever seen.  This thing might not even make it to New Zealand (and I packed it accordingly).

Well, there was NO way I was going to make it back to the hotel within a reasonable amount of time.  I had several kilometers to cover in the dark and hoping I didn’t get lost.  Thankfully I did grab a paper map before leaving and grabbed a bit of free WiFi before heading off.

Dan and I could also text.  He ordered pizza and I worked for it getting back.

Scarlet is SOOOOO close to crawling!  It is such fun to watch her try and she want so move too.

Anyone know what our totak driving was?

Day 41

Oh, and today we only drove 132.6 km