Saturday, 22 March 2014

Tekapo to Banks Peninsula to Akaroa

Our longest drive but more delightful scenery as we approach Akaroa.  As were staying for 3 days, we used Holiday Homes to book ‘The Glen’, a delightful 3 bedroomed home at the far end of Akaroa, well away from tourists and we couldn’t have chosen better.

Welcoming tree-lined road reminded us of the plane trees in France

View from the distant hills as we approach the harbour

An attempt at colourful boatsheds in Duvauchelle Bay
looking back across the bay at Akaroa
View from the deck of our lovely accommodation at ‘The Glen’
View of ‘The Glen’ from the lawn
French Sailing Wench mascot
at ‘The Glen’
looking from the lounge and beyond

Geraldine: More Than We Bargained For Or Will Ever Forget

It started on a glorious weather day as we made our way northwards from Lake Tekapo towards our destination of Akaroa.  We experienced some characteristically country things like …

being brought to a complete standstill for 20 minutes by a flock of sheep crossing the road
interesting patterns made by the hay making boys
and an irresistibly low price for top quality fertiliser


as we approached the delightful town of Geraldine, we noted a lot of activity and not only was there a Saturday morning market with craft stalls, but all the local farmers and busybodies were attending the highlight of their month – the “bring your oldest, crustiest, rustiest bit of farm tack  along and we’ll auction it” event.

we thought nothing else could be quite as riveting, but oh, I put it to you, just HOW wrong can two Jaffas be??    NOTHING prepared us for, wait for it, The Giant Jersey and the (Monstrously Manic) Medieval Mosaic (loosely translated as “the thing that has done both of our heads in and will probably never leave our memory”)

204b The Giant Jersey is 7 feet tall just to give you an idea of it’s size.  It was knitted my Gillian & Michael Linton in a matter of a week, on a manual knitting machine.  Wow.  It even has it’s own Guinness Book of Records Certificate.  Wow again.  What could possibly top that we are thinking. Well, as luck would have it we didn’t have to wait long for an answer to that question as we stepped into the rear of the shop only to be completely staggered by what we saw there …..

let’s show you this first – these are metal discs from an old industrial knitting machine.  Those little bits of metal just above the paintbrush are the teeth from said disks.
THREE MILLION NO LESS of said teeth have been removed, arranged, and stuck on to masking tape, then formed into bigger sheets, then rubbed with shoe polish to hide said tape. 
Why go to all that trouble??  A very good question indeed.  But one we will never be able to answer.


Over a period of 33 years, Michael has made a replica of the famous Bayeux Tapestry which tells the story of the Norman Conquest in 1066, except he has hand-painted the scenes with that very same little brush.  Gosh, he’s even added extra bits to the story because he wanted to.  Nothing like making your own version of history I say. 268b

Michael’s version of events takes up the wall space in an entire room, (partly shown in the background) and believe us when we say, this man could not believe his God given fortune when he found out that his Saturday morning casual guest is none other than a Medieval History256b lecturer at Auckland University who happens to know an awful lot about the Bayeux Tapestry.  After 45 minutes, I had to feign sickness and rescue Linz from his clutches or we might still be there.
We are still shaking our heads in disbelief and wonderment

Friday, 21 March 2014

Lake Tekapo

We had an overnight stay in Tekapo; enough time for a game of mini-golf on the course which our room overlooked.  For me it started badly with a score of 12 on the first hole.  Linz thought “yoohoo, this game’s in the bag” and that there was no way I could recover after that.  But, never say Di.  I managed to chip away at it (excuse the shocking pun) and took the trophy with a clear margin of 3 strokes in the end, much to Linz’s (still stunned) disbelief.

  The Long Drop

The view of Lake Tekapo
from our upstairs motel room
043bA tribute to the value of the Collie Dog – without them grazing of this mountain country would not have been possible

The parishioners’ view of Lake Tekapo from the interior of the church, not bad huh

Iconic Church of the Good Shepherd
on the shore of Lake Tekapo
Linz has a friendly chat to the (deaf) church gardener……
… and then proceeds to take over his job
 097b (1024x768)
Up state New Yorkers Joe & Anne whom we first met at Franz Josef in the heli-flight cinema and surprisingly again at a Japanese Restaurant in Tekapo 4 days later
096b (1024x683) This is crème bruleé Japanese style - OMG we didn’t need the extra candy floss, sugar heart & star, icecream, biscuit, pineapple, blueberries, grapes and jam swish!!! 034b
the first crack of sunrise
highlights the lake mist
and dawn photographers
(as was I)

Wanaka to Tekapo

Another fabulous weather day on our drive over the Lindis Pass, through the MacKenzie country and on to Tekapo.  The landscape is totally different here but stunning all the same.  Just a few images from this part of the trip…

124b (1024x683) Another impressive river, this time the mighty Clutha 142b (683x1024)
And as we arrive at the Clutha, what should we see but a souvenir left by the Kiev Chapter of the Ukranian Harley Club!!!
152b (1024x683)
One hell of a watering system in the MacKenzie basin
185b (1024x683)
Dramatic and quite different landscape in this area
209b (1024x683)
Clay Cliffs viewed from the side of the road (with sun shining straight at us)
On the Public Toilets door in Omarama – someone’s got a sense of humour around here212b (1024x683) On the other side of Lake Pukaki from where I’m standing is Mt Cook, but what am I photographing instead?   Yes, swirls created by the voluminous outlet of the dam250b (1024x683) 287b (1024x683)
Looking across lake Pukaki at Mt Cook– not a great shot due to the sun shining directly at us, but we missed seeing it from the Lake Matheson side

Thursday, 20 March 2014

You Want Me To Do Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

We didn’t get to do the heli flight over Franz Josef (so I didn’t think I would have to face my small aircraft fear again on this trip) but on a spectacular day in Lake Wanaka Linz made a snap decision to phone Aspiring Helicopters at lunchtime and organised a flight for 3.30pm the same day.

125b (683x1024)
James (why-do-you-want-to-take-my-photo?) our clever pilot
016b (1024x683)
James cleans my window
before we take off
048b (1024x683)
Aerial view of
Lake Wanaka district
055b (1024x683)
Heli skiing valley -
James said this about Australian skiing visitors: We drop ‘em at the top, we pick ‘em up at the bottom and we do that all day till they run out of money!
066b (1024x683)

We didn’t ask for this photo but James just took my camera off me and started clicking so here we are on top of the world
095b (1024x683)
a great view of the
Motukituki River
113b (1024x683) 
Photographic challenge
Capturing the rotor still spinning
163b (1024x683)
As we drive back to Wanaka, the beautiful Glendhu Bay comes into view
193b (1024x683)
If I had a caravan,
I’d park it there too

Around Town in Wanaka

022 (853x1280) This cutie rode past me on my “Orange” day (see below) and offered to let me photograph his helmet (with parental permission, of course).  Don’t you just want to hug him?  097b (683x1024)
Café Scene Wanaka Style and look at that gorgeous backdrop
Eat your heart out Aucklanders
086b (683x1024) This is ‘Crazy Carol’.  She was walking so fast I had to chase her.  She is a promo person for a skifield and said people send her toys (those ones in her hairdo) from all over the world.
At Puzzling World … I asked the really grumpy Pom on the left if I could take his photo and he said no.  He said he d094b (1024x683)oesn’t play games and was just sitting watching his mate. Half an hour later I went over again and he was trying to do a puzzle and I said “oh you are doing one then” and “can I take your photo” and he said no.  So I did.
040b (1024x683)
Puzzling World’s quirky frontispiece.  This place has tables set out with many puzzles on them and you can just go in and sit there for as long as you like and do as many as you want and the staff will help when you get stuck and it’s all free unless you got into the maze or the mirror rooms
This lady was totally engrossed in trying to do the Rope Puzzle.  In the end, she threw in the towel and said she wouldn’t give up her day job.
I asked the staff how to do the puzzle and if I’d sat there all afternoon, I still wouldn’t have got it out without help
060b (1024x683)