This is it, the last day on the road, after nearly 4 months on the road.
We drove from Franz Joseph after trying to find a dog friendly walk and also a bush walk where there is no 1080 being used. Alas it was not possible to find either, and at the risk of my dogs getting poisoned on their last day I was not about to take the risk.
Therefore we drove the most picturesque, but often daunting winding road, past picture postcard lakes.
When we arrived in Hokitika it felt like I had arrived home. In fact this is the first time we have been here since we went unconditional this past week, so it really did feel real, and I was heartened to see a road sign showing and arrow to a lodge, not just any lodge, but MY LODGE!!
Yesterday I drove from Wanaka to Haast. A beautiful drive past lakes Hawea and Wanaka.
I stopped at Makarora to meet a lady who runs the Makarora tourism site and accommodation where a friend of mine (Jo) from nursing days after school, worked in the early 1980’s as a cook for the Contiki tours. Rhonda is lovely and showed me around and told me how she has been there for 40 years, if that happens to me I will be retiring at 95!
Haast was a tiny boon dock town that makes Hokitika look like a Metropolis. I finally found out why camper vans have screens on all the windows, the sand flies there were big, black and sucked like mad on one’s flesh, so down came those screens to keep the critters out as it was like a summers day and we needed the breeze.
The drive today wound from the depths of the forests to the coast with gorgeous views like this at Knights point lookout.
Today we left for Fox and Franz Joseph glaciers. I walked to Fox glacier, through areas that state, do not stop walking for 400metres as there could be an avalanche of boulders! Even going uphill, I was fleet footed and even overtook people when my lungs were burning! There was no boulder that was going to take me out leaving the dogs in the camper to starve. Or more precisely I remembered the last time I left Daisy in the camper she started ripping the plastic wrap off the Super Kazak rug which is to go into the reception area, and I was really worried she would damage the rug!
There is a constant hum of helicopters as that is the best was to see it now that it has receded so far.
What a lovely day in a great location, walking the edge of lake Wanaka, shopping for the last two pieces of furniture for Rimu lodge and wine tasting!
We were going for our afternoon walk when I spied this sign.
It seemed like a fine way to end the day. So up we walked.
And sampled some lovely wines. I bought the 2013 Riesling.
What a lovely drive through the gold trails of Otago and Southern Lakes.
We stopped at Alexandra, had a nice walk through town. Overnight it had snowed, and as a result the temperatures had plummeted to almost Winter temperatures again. It was 6 degrees in Cromwell when we arrived, but oh my was it a very pretty and old historic town. It’s so heart-warming to see old heritage buildings being saved and transformed into viable tourist ventures.
Finally, we arrived in Wanaka, it seems to have grown since I was last here! It is pumping and extremely prosperous, and I do believe it has a better cool vibe than Queenstown.
We did a great walk along the country lane and down past Rippon vineyards and back into town before heading back up the hill to the holiday park.
I specifically came here to visit one antique importer, she specialises in Chinese antiques which I have a penchant for, and the store has not disappointed. I have a choice of pieces and need to be aware that I will not get a chance like this for another year to go and shop.
We started the day with a lovely walk to the St Kilda beach, what a stunner of a beach with lovely soft fine sand.
I then drove 12km out on the peninsula to Larnach castle. It has an amazing history dating back to the gold rush period in the 1860’s and a sad back story, with Mr Larnach losing 3 wives to death and the first and second wives were sisters! The castle took 12 years to build and is absolutely spectacular in design and craftsmanship.
It was a long day on the road, with us driving towards Wanaka and stopping short of Roxburgh at Pinders Pond (a freedom camp site), and gold mining excavation site bordering the Clutha river (NZ’s fastest flowing river). We have been travelling the gold mining trail, where the cycle trails were set up by John Key (NZ Prime Minister) as a way to encourage tourism in the last recession, smart move, they are exceptional and I see many cyclists every day bringing in money to the regions.
A lovely start to the day walking through the stunning botanic gardens in Oamaru.
Monty as always is in love with the birds on display, and we also came across another rabbit which was of major frustration for him as he was on the lead. I was told that only last week the fire brigade had to come out and dig up the gardens to retrieve a small dog who went down a rabbit hole! Now that is not something I had considered before!
We drove to Dunedin, which is not a huge drive, only a couple of hours, but lengthened with stops for walks, and attempts to find parking near Overton house. Overton is a gorgeous Victorian house which I last visited with my parents when I was all of about 12 years old, so I would like to get to see it tomorrow morning as we couldn’t get a large enough parking space for Flash Harry today.
I visited a few galleries and antique and junk shops today in Dunedin, but only managed to find a set of 4 port glasses to go with the decanters that I got at the antique fair in Christchurch a week ago. Everything else I looked at seemed expensive after Christchurch and Oamaru.
This is us finishing our 10km round walk to St Kilda to look at a trader’s store, alas no bargains to be found.
We walked into Oamaru from the motor camp through the beautiful botanic gardens twice today. Over the Chinese gardens bridge.
And past this gorgeous ‘Wonderland’ sculpture.
The first time was to meet with the trader at Oasis to confirm which purchases I wanted.
I got a rice cabinet, ironic that I already own a noodle cabinet, I must have a thing about furniture which has been made to store carbohydrates.
I also found two of these pieces, which I have to admit I had no idea what they were for; as it turns out they are machete sheaths for the workers in the fields.
Added was a lovely old ginger jar, and a fabulous old Asian blue plate, and an Andrew Van der Putten vase with a gorgeous glaze which is the colour of the Hokitika gorge.
I also found this fabulous shell lamp, which I love when it is lit up.
What a spectacular drive from Christchurch to Oamaru, through Temuka where I found the Temuka pottery store and got two chocolate brown platters, to replace one I broke a number of years ago, the colour is so stunning with Japanese or light coloured foods.
Oamaru was one of my favourite towns in the South. The last time I was down here, about 15 years ago I fell in love with it! My, oh my, it does not disappoint on the Sue-Ellen scale of towns to love. The architecture is so utterly stunning, all the sandstone and Victorian architecture that they are preserving and rightly so.
On the way into Oamaru, I thought it was time the dogs had a walk, and had spied the Whitestone cheese factory, so I parked about a kilometre away so we could stretch our legs and go visit the award winning cheesery. (Yes, it is a word!). They won the first NZ award at the WORLD cheese awards, in fact they came 3rd, for their aged soft blue, and I tasted it! Spectacularly good!
There is an entire precinct in Oamaru that is dedicated to the tourists and is full of fabulous stores that any large city would be proud to have. One happens to be a mix of Javanese and antiques, I had spotted it on line and have made a specific trip here to find it. And just like Oamaru, ‘Oasis’ has not disappointed, it is full of spectacular pieces. And the lovely owner who I had emailed to ask if they are open on Sunday, recognised it must have been me who emailed and he has been most accommodating and has provided exceptional customer service.
To add to the charm of this wee town, is the botanic gardens, which I am informed is one of the first botanic gardens in NZ. And at this time of the year with the spring bulbs and blossom out on display, it is just gorgeous.
Well that was a fun day, the antique store I wanted to visit was finally open, and what a treat it was!
On the way in, a lady was coming out to the paddock the antique store sits next to, and there was an orphaned black lamb named Lloyd who had his bottle. He liked being patted, and is going to be kept as a pet now.
Thanks to a very knowledgeable and helpful owner, I managed to get a lovely French Cherrywood 19th Century server.
2 French pottery vases, in the colours of the Hokitika river, which I want to be the basis of the colours of the lodge interior accessories.
A pointer dog, a calvados bottle, and an oak trug.
I feel as if I am starting to get a look which will come together nicely.
With the information of the Antique fair in hand, I had a lot of visions in my head that I would of course find stunning items and could short cut my shopping expedition.
Alas no, as soon as I walked in I could see it was mostly ceramics, pottery, and jewellery.
I did however find some stunning cut crystal port and whisky decanters. As the current lodge owner serves port and whisky I figure I should continue with it. And the pieces I found I am very happy with.
But more than anything I am thrilled that I found a Jacobean looking English oak piece which is a good looking original Victorian piece which will look spectacular with the port and whisky decanters.
Next stop was Briscoes, on sale this weekend, and I needed some good fry pans for breakfast, for the bacon, eggs, French toast, mushrooms. I also wanted to get some stunning jam dishes to serve my homemade jams, and some wee ramekins for the compote with the French toast and possibly crepes as I bought a crepe pan.
What a successful day in a city I don’t know; where all I can do is put the addresses into the GPS and hope the place I want to visit is a place near where I am.
Along the way I found The Tannery a cluster of shops installed in what was the Woolston tannery, a glorious setting, with Victorian tiling on the floors and a lovely glass ceiling.
I have to give accolades to a city with the most spectacular gardens and as the daffodils, tulips and blossoms are out around Hagley park, wow, long arcades of blossom. Simply spectacular.