Well Steve and I have finally finished work and have hit the road again, if only for a short while, but I'll get onto that a little later.
It feels so good to be finished at work, the last two weeks really have been spent doing the more manual of the farm jobs as Robin (the boss) wanted to get us to do a few things before we left. We pretty much spent the last week picking flowers in the mornings whilst spending the afternoons either digging up the land or shifting timber about the farm. Pretty droll stuff really but hey we're getting paid so I can't complain!
Nights in Sumner/ Lyttleton have also been rather interesting over the last few weeks. The Marine (the backpackers/ pub we're staying in) recently celebrated their 10th anniversary with a huge beach party, attracting all of the locals! Steve and I thought that we'd go a little differently to the norm of beach hats and Hawaiian shirts, as such we decided to don Victorian beach attire made by us. We went to the local $2 clothes shops bought some old white boiler suits, cut the legs and arms off to make a 'one piece' and painted huge red stripes across it. We unfortunately didn't have the knotted handkerchief but people got the jist of it. When we walked into the bar it was pretty apparent that we were the only people in there in fancy dress! It wasn't too bad though as it meant that everyone wanted to talk to us, I even managed to get 3 free pints for swapping my outfit with the local police detectives wife for 20 mins! All in all it was a bloody good night.
Robin and the gang at work have also really sorted us out on our trip round the south island. Robin gave us his key to his batch (beach holiday home infamous among kiwi's) on the west coast at a place called Punakaiki to use for effectively as long as we want (so long as there are no paying guests). Kerry has sorted us out with some accommodation in Twizel and down in Invercargil in another batch. Lauvaunne has given us the contact details of her friend up in the north island to stay with and Gary has given us the details of his batch down in Haast Pass to meet him for some Whitebait fishing! Sorted!
When we finally got on the road though we didn't make it all that far! Our first day on the road was miserable with rain and snow! We were driving some awesome gravel tracks up the side of a mountain to views of well nothing really as it was snowing, cool road though. First night was spent at Akaroa, the only French settlement in NZ, prior to the Waitangi treaty (when us Brits declared NZ as a colony). Quite a quaint little town, again spoiled by the rotten weather. We spent our first two nights out at Onuku farm, with a 1000 acres and 2000 sheep its quite big! Its great though as your allowed to walk all over his land, so Steve and I spent a day just meandering all over the place lapping in the views across Akaroa Harbour. The farm itself was a little strange, too quiet and it seemed like the place that you would get a telling off for putting your feet on the coffee table.
The second place we visit was Peraki Bay, amazing (look it up on google earth/ images) place, you have to ring before hand to get permission to pass through the farmers land. Driving there was just amazing, on the way we stopped off at Opawe Pa (Maori fort) which can only be reached at low tide, to get across you have to climb this razor ridge about 20 ft high, not great in flip flops! There wasn't much there apart from a few ditches and stone works but cool none the less. Back to Peraki though, this place was just too cool. In the middle of no where, we had to go through a few paddocks full of cows and sheep to get to the beach where we set up camp. As it was so remote and there was no light pollution the stars were unbelievable, I have NEVER seen so many stars before in my life, you could even see the Milky Way clearly!
Well after spending a night there we headed over to tops towards Camp Bay. The farmer would not give us permission to camp on her land and because our post (insurance docs for the car) hadn't arrived back in Christchurch we decided to head out to Craigieburn National Park. On the way out there we stopped off at Castle Hill limestone formations. Absolutely nuts, right out of Lord Of the Rings, huge towering limestone cliffs with an amazing mountain backdrop (again look up on google). We didn't hang around for too long as we had to set up camp before it got to dark. We decided to camp at the foot of Broken River Ski area and boy what a night we had! We spent the night drinking by a huge campfire with some real characters, an Aboriginal man who had been living in the woods for 3 weeks as his car had broken down and a Rhodesian man who had been living on the road touring NZ for the last 3 years, nuts I tell ya! boy did we get some interesting stories out of those guys! A good night though.
After a lazy morning we didn't get on the road again til noon and as it was only a ten minute drive down the road we were not too fussed. We parked up at Cave Stream donned our warm gear and flashlights and headed down to the entrance of cave stream. Its a 560m long cave that goes right through the centre of a hill and if the water is not high you can walk right through it! The water was bloody freezing though as there is quite a lot of snow melt coming down from the mountains! It started off with a wade through a waste deep pool and then it was a 200m slog through an amazing cave! Through channels, up little falls, at times when the current was really strong using the rocks to pull yourself up made for an awesome time. Unfortunately we had to turn back at one point because the water was too high and strong. After we made it back out we just sat there in the sun drying out for a while before getting on the road, only we didn't get on the road as such!
The blasted car wouldn't start we had to ask three other backpackers to give us a push through the car park so we could roll the car downhill to bump start it. We finally got back on the road and thought that it were about time that we got the car seen to as we didn't want this to happen when we were in the middle of nowhere!
So here I am sitting in the hostel writing this blog up waiting for the bad news on the car. Hopefully its not too bad and we can get back on the road, I have a sinking feeling that its not going to be cheap.
Anyhow I'll let you all know how it goes next blog update.