Sunday, October 29, 2006

Picton – Abel Tasman National Park – Barrytown – Hokitika – Franz Joseph

Well – we are getting rained out all over the place. We are currently in Franz Joseph where it’s stopped raining for about 20 minutes of the 20 hours we’ve been here! Because of the rain we have opted to leave the heli-hike for now, and hopefully we will get back here and do it next time. We also left the kayaking because of the rain – by the time we get back around it will be in December so the weather should be better. Should. Hopefully.

So that’s what we haven’t done, but we did managed to do a few things too, we had a nice two day stop in Barrytown which is in the middle of no-where on the West coast. There’s only one good thing to do in Barrytown and that’s make your own knife. It’s an all day affair and you start with a rusty piece of steel, a few brass bits and a lump of wood – after hand forging, grinding, shaping and sanding you produce an awesome knife. So far we haven’t had much use out of them, though I can say mine slices a tomato very nicely!

Birthday in Barrytown! :)

Cold forging the knife...

Sharpening and shining..

Half done...

Starting kit and end knife!

Sunset from the restaurant..

After Barrytown we stopped in Hokitika to visit Steve’s Dad & Frances – their B & B is lovely! We spent a few days doing nothing, eating some good food and drinking a few bottles of red. One of the days we headed to a local guy who carves jade and carved ourselves some jade things – took all day and by the end of it most of us had totally crossed of ‘jade carving’ as a potential job! Much harder than it looked, and so much harder than the bone carving we did in Christchurch. On our last night in Hoki we had a nice Indian meal and followed it by a trip to the cinema to watch ‘Snakes on a plane’. The most ridiculous film ever made, without a doubt. Hoki is a small place so we were two of four people watching it! Like having a private cinema!


A whitebater catching his (more likely other peoples) dinner....

And now we are waiting for the bus to take us down to Haast for the night before heading to Queenstown tomorrow. The weather has to get better for us to attempt any of the walks we have planned so fingers crossed everybody!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Christchurch - Kiakoura - Picton

We are currently in Picton – work has finished (yes!) and we’ve had the obligatory drunken leaving BBQ and said our goodbyes to friends made while we’ve been in Christchurch. We are just waiting for the next Stray bus to take us to Abel Tasman national park! We are hoping (weather permitting) to hire out a kayak and camping gear and kayak around the national park for a few days.

So far the bus has been fine – today on the way to Picton we stopped at a ‘secret, just discovered’ seal nursery that I distinctly remember from the Magic bus six years ago – maybe secrets last longer in New Zealand?!

We spent the last few days in Kiakoura walking walks, seeing seals and watching whales. The seals were at the seal colony just out of town, lots of seals lazing around on the beach having their photos taken! We went twice and the second time did the coastal walk around to the other side of the headland and back over the top – very nice walk, with the normal spectacular views New Zealand seems to offer everywhere we go. The whale watching was great; we got to see two whales (sperm) and then a bunch of Dusky dolphins, which made the trip - not that the whales weren’t amazing, but they aren’t the most active of creatures!

We took part in a pub quiz on Wednesday night and managed a respectable joint-triple-second and last night we wandered down the campsite and had a few drinks with Nathan & Mel who are staying in Kiakoura for the long weekend (labor day or something).

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Team Rock Paper Scissors 2006..

A big thank you to Duncan, Helen, Jono, Maxi, Rob, Joseph, Andy, Katie and Steve for coming along to the bar for the last three weeks and joining in the rock, paper, scissors contest on Rob's behalf!

A special thanks to Duncan, Helen, Rob & Steve who came along every week! Even though after the first week, Duncan was so sick he had to have a couple of days off work (must of picked up a bug, couldn't have been anything to do with the beer, right Duncan?!!).

We will hopefully be back in Christchurch in about a month of so to catch up and bore everyone with photos and stories of the South Island! :)

Day trip to Rakaia Gorge...

At the weekend we headed towards Methven and Mount Hutt to walk up the Rakaia gorge - it was a great walk, a little introduction for Rob and I for the planned walks we have when we leave Christchurch. The scenery was really amazing, the mountain with the snow on and the blue sky and the brilliant blue of the water - a great walk.

This week is my last week in work - I finish tomorrow (Friday 13th... oooOOooo)! Very excited about that! We have a leaving BBQ on Sunday at Steve's (we've got the Pimms and gin & tonic!), and then a couple of days to get ourselves sorted before we hop on the Stray bus on Wednesday morning. We managed (3rd time lucky) to win a second bus ticket for Rob, well - we didn't actually win it - despite three weeks of practice and trying our team only made it to the quarter finals, but the girl who did win it didn't realise you couldn't sell it and therefore had to give it away and I was the first one there! A huge thank you to her (far too excited to actually remember any names!) for that. So we both got free tickets around the South Island! Great news as that's a saving of $1600!!

Wednesday we head off to Kiakora for the weekend - and then it's around to Able Tasman National Park to do some kayaking & camping. Photos of everything to come, of course.

The sun is just about to come out and Rob is just about to realise that his jumper on the fence behind him is in bird poo! :)

We stopped here for the view, an apple and a banana...

The Rakaia River...