Looking southwest from Paraparaumu Beach




Karapiro to Picton

Picton to Woodend


Christchurch to Ashburton

Ashburton to Fairlie

Fairlie to Awamoko

Awamoko to Middlemarch

Middlemarch to Clyde

Clyde to Invercargill

Invercargill to Bluff

Bluff to Te Anau

Te Anau to Arrowtown

Arrowtown to Wanaka (Twice)

Wanaka to MacKenzie Country

MacKenzie Country and Twizel

Twizel to Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier to Hokitika

Hokitika to Reefton via Karamea

Reefton to Twizel

Twizel to Takaka

Takaka to Picton

For extra photos, click on PHOTO GALLERY above. Autoplay or view individually.

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irrigation brake street mosaic part Mosaic material POP Geraldine Alice and swampy Helping with the lawns

Ashburton to Fairlie - 2/02/2012 to 5/02/2012

Our intended destination for the 2nd was Geraldine; being only half an hour from Ashburton we drove inland via Hinds, Arundel and Peel Forest to fill in time. Just like the previous few days we crossed over more of the Canterbury Plains. The landscape is repetitive and contrasting; one side of the road has paddocks of golden dry wheat crops, the other has green cattle fodder sprayed continuously by giant irrigation contraptions. Due to the nor'westers the wheat dries well. Unfortunately, so does everything else. Water is a major concern for farmers and thus canals, water races and reservoirs have been put in place. Even the rain and melting snow from the mountains can’t keep most of the rivers flowing; we saw many river beds, large and small, absolutely dry.

We selected a few geocaches to do on the off-chance it would take us somewhere interesting off the normal tourist route. Today’s interesting place, highlighting the water issue, was a enormous man-made reservoir next to a dry river bed, but not a drop of water in sight. My personal favourite geocache was in the Peel Forest township, with a population of not many and streets, even less. However on the corner of the main road and “Brake” Road was a cache.

Whilst geocaching, we noted a cacher by the name of “1066” and thought his swaps mysterious. On doing the gourmet walk around Geraldine to buy the obligatory Barkers' food products I saw a building with “Giant Jersey and 1066 Mosaic” on it. Curiosity got the better of me and we entered the front of the shop to see the Giant Jersey that won a place in the Guiness book of records. And for $2 you could go through to the back of the shop for a 1066 experience. Cacher 1066 has spent the past 25 years (and still hasn’t finished) replicating the Bayeux Tapestry from very small mosaics made from the teeth of knitting machine pattern discs. If you can’t get to Geraldine to experience 1066, Roger has bought the DVD of 1066’s life history and puzzles. [Ed - It had to be good to get me to fork out $50 !!!]

Thursday's well earned rest was just out of Geraldine at a park over property in a Walnut Orchard. Nice bloke, he was once the coach of the Timaru Girls High School rowing team and still follows rowing - you just can’t escape them!

For fear of getting to the West Coast and finding a sudden whitebait shortage, I shouted myself a whitebait sandwich breakfast in Geraldine. Perfect whitebait omelet, in the freshest white bread, served simply with seasoning and a slice of lemon, all for only $13.50. I couldn’t see those little fishes containing many calories, hence the reason to follow it by a ginger and pistachio slice. As the café was the same as yesterday's coffee review was done from, we also did another in Timaru. The smart people of the Pukeko café get repeat business by serving guilt free extras. Their apricot, citrus and white chocolate slice was served with fresh fruit salad and yogurt. Every time you put a bit of guilt into your mouth you follow it with a small piece of health and feel a whole lot better for it.

Our geocaching took us today to Winchester and Temuka (as in the pottery) and along the way we met a NZCMA member who told us that the Aoraki Salmon farm, operating in the canals, had a net failure and the canals were teeming with free salmon. So after guilt free dining we went to buy some salmon hooks only to find they had sold out as most of Timaru knew about the incident. Not to worry, we had other plans for the day and went off to live the Kiwi dream, South Island style.

In our parents' days the Kiwi dream was to own a quarter-acre section where he grew the vegetables for the table, she raised flower beds to make the place look nice and homely and the children played safely in the backyard. Actually along with the neighbours kids we played over the riverbank, several miles up stream, and floated down the rapids on an inner tube, unsupervised. It is nice to know not much has changed in the South Island, as we passed rivers with children swimming in waterholes, kids riding their bikes to school and playing rough games in the school ground.

Back to the Kiwi dream. Not one family we visited in Christchurch was not living the Kiwi dream, every house had the garden, the quarter acre and happy children.Alice I feel Auckland has lost focus in this respect. Due to immigration, infill housing, rising house prices and latte attitudes, many Aucklanders chose to live in large houses on small sections, committed to horrendous mortgages and either drive their kids to a park occasionally or have them inside, glued to square screens. Fortunately for us tonight we are staying with a couple who made a positive lifestyle choice for their family and fled Auckland in search of the Kiwi Dream.

Four acres on the edge of town, a self-sufficient vegetable patch, flowers and plants that serve as much as an educational tool to the young as they are decorative, hens, sheep and a pig providing produce as well (okay, maybe not the pig), a view over green rolling hills all the way to Christchurch and the Southern Alps. A neighbourhood where they all know each other, swap produce and help out with child care and property maintenance. They bake their own bread and biscuits, make jams and preserves. In fact, don’t tell the kids, but we ate Baa-baa-ra, she was a tasty wee hogget packed with flavour, none of that supermarket tasteless crap. Relaxing in the pure country air was so good we stayed an extra night. It was so nice to see a happy child running around in the garden, screaming and playing, enjoying nature. Thank god the Kiwi dream lives on in the South Island. Unfortunately the South Island’s very own form of child abuse of serving your kids broad beans for dinner still exists, luckily JB junior and senior were exempt.

On Sunday the 5th we left Timaru and went to Fairlie visiting, on the way, an old stone church at Cave and an old limestone kiln. The small, quiet, rural town of Fairlie has 500 very old trees planted along the highway, in and out of town to commemorate the signing of the peace treaty at the end of WW1. It is quite an impressive sight. 15kms from Fairlie at Lake Opuha they have several boat ramps and camping spots. The site is full of families, 20 year olds and old folk in NZMCA motorhomes, now plus two.

Next page...


HelpingHelping in the garden
Alice and friendsAlice, chooks and most of Swampy
Walnut OrchardWalnut orchard campsite
knitting wheelThe origin of the mosaic pieces
MosaicSmall section of very large mosaic
Brake RoadFunny name for a road!
IrrigationIrrigation in Canterbury