NZ South Island (North & West Coast)


Arthurs Pass
Waipura Vineyard
Maruia Hot Springs
Nydia Track
Abel Tasman Walk
Farewell Spit
The West Coast
Dragon Caves

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Arthur's Pass

Thursday 28th - Friday 29th November 2002

Aren't I cute!

Our motel in Arthur's Pass. Mike is still getting the hang of the camera here - so expect some odd photos!

A day walk up Avalanche Peak.

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Waipura Vineyard, Near Christchurch

Sunday 1st December 2002

Whilst Alex, Mike and I were happy amusing ourselves with wine tasting, the kids (Lucas, Kimmy and Matthew) were busy playing in the sandpit and rolling down the grassy banks. This, says Matthew, is especially good fun when some muppet (Jane!) is prepared to carry you back to the top, so you can roll down again!

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Maruia Hot Springs

Monday 2nd - Tuesday 3rd December 2002

View from the balcony of our luxury hotel of the Japanese Baths. We had set ourselves a budget, and on our first night out of Christchurch we blew the budget big time!

This is the river behind the hot springs complex, apparently there are hot spots in the river - but sod that! We were quite happy with sitting around in the Japanese Baths looking out of the picture window across the river. We spent as little time as possible outside - the sandflies (an insect we had not encountered before in our sheltered lives) were more than happy to eat us alive!

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Nydia Track

Wednesday 4th - Friday 6th December 2002

The Mussel Boys restaurant in Havelock. I love the Mussels on the roof.

A couple of pictures of me looking like Indiana Jones on the Nydia Track. The vegetation was really lush. Notice the chest strap on my rucksack, which is cutting off the circulation to my boobs - later Mike fixed it for me - but I'd been walking with it like this for months! (I did't even know it could be moved up!)

The view of Nydia Bay from Kaiuma Saddle. This is the first view we had all day - despite climbing up a long way (I was knackered!) the vegetation was just so thick that we could see nothing.

I'm afraid I got a bit obsessed by unfurling ferns. This is probably the NZ eqivalent of the Canadian maple leaf - although NZ haven't designed a new flag yet. Once they do, I have no doubt that you could travel around NZ taking photos of the unfurling fern emblem everywhere!

The manky old truck belonging to the Hippies at Nydia Bay.

This is me collecting our dinner off the beach at low tide - we had a feast of green lipped mussels planned. There were just hundreds of mussels on the beach.

Mike and I enjoying our feast of mussels (collected by us) and oysters (collected by Reinhart and Nicolaus).

If you look at this picture carefully, you can just make out a massive eel in the water. This is a nice swimming hole - but funnily enough Mike and I didn't fancy it once we saw the eel in the water!

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Abel Tasman Walk

Monday 9th December 2002

This sign amused me intensely - "warning penguins crossing!". We have nothing in the way of road signs in the UK to even begin to compare with the road signs in NZ. Each and every road sign is carefully and lovingly crafted to reflect exactly the road conditions. If there is an s-bend, with concealed entrance joining at 45 degrees to the left, with a road to the right and a level crossing, that is exactly what the sign will show!

This photo was taken within 200 yards of the carpark. We thought we'd found a rare and unusual bird. The photo doesn't show too clearly that this bird is royal blue in colour, and the beak and legs are bright red. We later found out that the pukeko is not very rare - but is a beloved bird by NZ artists; it is regulaly depicted on ceramics and textiles in odd poses (when it walked, it did a sort of goose-step, and flicked it's tail as it moved its legs). It's certainly a nicer looking bird than the kiwi!

The day walk we did from Totranui to Wharangi bay took us over several headlands, and gave us lots of stunning views out across the little bays that make up the coast in this part of NZ.

Along most of the beaches we saw oystercatchers. The final photo here was actually taken at Farewell Spit - the oystercatchers here started to fly at us to atempt to ward us off!

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Farewell Spit

Tuesday 10th December 2002

New Zealand farmed deer. This has a special name in NZ - but we can't remember what! Something like vermin!

The beach at Collingwood on the way to Farewell Spit.

Whale beachings are very common here at Farewell Spit - hence the necessity for a whale rescue kit... the skeleton is a warning of what happens if you bugger up the rescue!

Lupins are a native plant in New Zealand - these yellow ones are wild flowers. In many places, however, you see pink and blue lupins (christened blupins and plupins by Mike) these are not wild flowers, but have been sown by nutty New Zealanders!

Some scenes of the beach at Farewell Spit. Farewell Spit is a 22 mile long sand bar. On the day we were there, it was very windy, the haze in a couple of these photos is sand being blown around by the very strong wind.

Some wild lilies in a pond.

These sheep were giving us the evil eye! Funny, sheep here in NZ seem so much cleaner and nicer than British sheep. Don't know why!

I've always been obsessed by black swans ever since my Granddad brought me a picture of a black swan back from Australia years ago. I was quite excited to see this many of them.

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Wednesday 11th December 2002

These are the first photos I took with the camera - and I kept saying "oh, did that take a photo?" of course, it didn't occur to me to delete any of them!

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The West Coast

Wednesday 11th - Thursday 12th December 2002

A beach on the West Coast of NZ, near Greymouth. (When I was typing that, I mistyped "West" as "Wets" which is a lot more appropriate! I have rarely seen rain like it!)

Punakaiki rocks. (Puna means Spring and Kaiki means in a heap) This name has been anglisised to Pancake Rocks - because they allegedly look like stacks of pancakes. Sounds like cobblers to me - but then there's no spring here either, so the Maoris aren't so smart either!

This is a very impressive 'blowhole' at high tide. Naturally, we didn't see it at high tide!

One of the great things about having a digital camera is that you can take documentary shots - this is the story of Punakaiki Rocks.

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Dragon caves

Thursday 12th December 2002

This is a group photo of us with our fellow cavers. Before this photo was taken, we'd spent ten minutes painting our faces with some handy mud. We each had a stylised unfurling fern daubed onto our faces - this apparently lets the resident Taniwha (Maori mythical creature which lives in rivers. There have been several high profile instances recently of bypasses being rerouted to prevent offending a resident taniwha) know that we are alive and that he cannot eat our mortal souls (or something similar!)

Mike was clearly inspired by the face painting and is pretending to do the Haka - hence sticking out his tongue! (Sadly the effect is ruined by the fact he is dressed like Commander Ryker from Star Trek!)

Our fellow cavers were (from the left) Big Bren, Mike, me, David (the pschopathic lawyer from the States),Cheng and Jan (or Michelle, depending on whether you took her first or second answer) from Taiwan, and kneeling in front is the person known as Stupid. (She managed to fall down a very deep hole before we'd even gone into the cave! The hole is the one Mike is submersed in, in the final photo. Like I said, quite deep!)

Awwwhhh, cute! Notice the special bright acetylene lamp on my head. I was the lucky person!

Floating down the river on an inner tube, watching the glow worms in the ceiling.

Mike being pushed into a hole!

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