Pat from Canvey's blog

On the way back

Hello, it's us again. We made it up to Cape Reinga, the Land's End of NZ, and it is a suitably windswept and desolate place at the tip. 34 degrees south, and nothing north of it until you hit the Bering Strait. On the way back we called in at the massive sand dunes of Ninety Mile Beach, which is a bit of an exaggeration - seventy miles would be more like it. People actually drive all the way along it at low tide, they even run coach trips. Alas, rental vehicles are prohibited.

Today we called in on NZ's largest tree, a Kauri some 50m tall with a girth of 13m, enough to give the most determined tree-hugger the heebie-jeebies.

Coromandel to Orewa

Here we are at Orewa after travelling through Auckland as quickly as possible. We left Coromandel at 8.30am this morning because we had continuous rain and heavy winds for at least 14 hours non-stop. We took the scenic route here which involved about 40 km of winding roads going up and down hill and having to drop the speed to 25 km/h at most of the hairpin bends. We could see the sea, through the rain... who said the North Island was sunnier than the South!
We haven't taken as many photos here in the North Island mainly because there don't seem to be as many attractions, but I have a rather fetching one of John without his shoes and socks having to paddle to the electricity point to unhook the campervan before we took off this morning.


Here we are again. This is a small town on the west coast and we are in the internet part of a Chinese restaurant. We've come up SH6 via Te Anau and Wanaka, thence to the Fox Glacier where Dad forced me to trek up a very rough path to the head of the glacier. Lots of interesting geology and photos to follow once we get home.

We wanted to go on the helicopter trip - we'd booked the 40-minute one which covers two glaciers, Mt Cook and Mt Tasman, plus a landing on one glacier, which costs $325pp. Unfortunately the weather was against us and we could not fly. Better luck next visit...

Incidentally, tried to email Kat and Ed from Wanaka where we found a wifi place. However, when we hit send we got the dreaded 'page unavailable' screen, so I guess you may not have got the message. We'll try again if we find another place with wifi.


It's 10.50 here. We are in an internet cafe in Invercargill - so far we haven't found anywhere with wifi availability, however the laptop is still worth its weight in gold. We have 250 pictures saved so far, after four days. (We have also been playing pinball, before going to bed, together with something called Spider solitaire, which seems virtually insoluble apart from the trivial easy level.)

We've seen: Christchurch, which really is like you'd imagine an idealized version of Bournemouth; Timaru, an industrial town, where we stopped the first night after picking up the camper and heading south down the improbably empty State Highway 1. [The camper is easy to drive (apart from reverse, where you don't get as much practice) and all in all a very good choice -- we have a microwave, toilet, shower, cooker, double bed, enough storage space. Pictures will follow, no doubt at tedious length.]

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