Archive for September, 2011


September 27, 2011

First a few comments and pictures of our stay at the Hot Tubs in Omarama.

Next door to the Hot Tubs were these large All Black supporters.

all black 2  all black

In the evening we were greeted by a brilliant sky


And those pictures you have all awaited with bated breath

herHer in tub

himHim in tub

throughthe steamView from Tub through steam

parked at hot tubsParked at Omarama


After waking late this morning, Monday (damn daylight saving), it was not long before we headed off over the Lindis through to Wanaka.  After a supermarket shop, a Laundromat visit, and a visit to the waste/water station we headed out from Wanaka toward Glendhu Bay in the hope that we would find a nice place to stay for a day or two.  With our trusty Travel Directory from the Motor home Assn in tow, we had a couple of likely stop over points lined up. 

Unfortunately, there are now no camping signs at all these spots, so unhook the RAV and head out for a wee explore to see what we could find.  First stop was at the Matukituki river mouth, which would have provided the perfect spot to stay, except for the very narrow and lightweight bridge to cross plus the no camping sign at the end of the road! 

farm road Farm road to the Matukituki mouth …

 tree tunnel … tree arch on the way in

matukitukiMatukituki mouth

Then further along to a DOC site that is listed in our guide, only to discover that that too now has no camping/campervan signs.  Damn these terrible people who litter our byways, foul our landscape and are able to rent non self contained vehicles.  They ruin it for the rest of us.

parkedFinally parked off the road near Treble Cone.

gneissGneiss rock in abundance in this area

Never to mind, we found a nice spot just off the road and will spend the night. 

After a lovely nights sleep under beautiful clear skies, we were up and off this morning back into Wanaka, to fill the RAV with petrol, buy some milk and check out a couple of shops, including the second hand store.  One purchase made – a new Samba pack (please note Anne & Paul!), before deciding to hit the road again.

This time we were sort of organised and had rung ahead to a POP (Park over Place) on the road between Luggate and Cromwell to make sure that we could stay.  We duly  arrived at a farm and have a nice spot on the farm well off the road so we have complete peace and quiet.  Once set up it was out with the washing line and all the washing done at the laundry yesterday hung out to dry in the lovely warm sunshine.   A roast of pork is planned for dinner tonight, with all the usual trimmings.  We plan to stay here for a few days to wind down and relax with the odd jaunt into Cromwell or perhaps a  visit to a vineyard or two located around these parts. Hic!

On a completely different note.  Ann was given a box of books which turned out to be a collection of Science Fiction works.  Having purloined a small part of the collection I have spent some time rereading the famous novels by John Wyndham.  I have completed The Day of the Triffids, The Kraken Wakes, The Midwich Cuckoos and The Chrysalids.  It has been around 50 years since first reading.   Of course there has been significant change in our perceptions of science fiction but these books and this author are still a good read.  In the books that I have there are several other well known (at least in my mind) authors Brian Aldiss, Fred Hoyle,  Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury.  I look forward to them all.

Hot tubbing…

September 26, 2011

The A frame could not be fitted to the RAV4 until Thursday, so we waited yet another day.  Then of course it could not be done until the late afternoon so it would be at least Friday before we were able to leave Oamaru.    After a slow start with a few jobs to get done, farewells to be said, we finally left Oamaru on Friday afternoon. Bernice spent some of the trip from Oamaru nervously watching out the back window to make sure that the RAV4 was still following us!!  Funnily enough, it was following closely along behind all the way. 


Mural at the racecourse


Attached at last …

its there

… and following closely

First stop was Kurow where we parked on a side road, unhitched the car and took a drive to see Michael & Bernadette.  More specifically, to see if we could negotiate their driveway with the bus.  We agreed that it would be a tight squeeze, so instead of staying with them for the night we headed off up as far as Benmore.  It was great to catch up as we had not seen Mike and Bernadette for some time.  Each time we tried they woulld be heading one way and we in the opposite direction, but we will get there one day.


Balancing act at the top of a peak

 different view

And the view down on the dam from on high

 spring 1 

Signs of spring

spring 3 

and “pussy willows” memories of youth


Early morning mirror on Lake Aviemore

We had a lovely visit from Ann and Toby on Saturday afternoon, old habits die hard and we could not help ourselves, we picked enough pine cones to fill up the back of Ann and Mike’s station wagon as well as a couple of sacks on the back seat to entertain Toby on the trip back to Oamaru.  Saturday evening we enjoyed watching the AB’s deal to the French. 

Sunday morning and the start of daylight saving.  What better way to celebrate than to wash the van and car.  Soon we were off again heading along the road.  Now one thing we both have to come to grips with, is to learn to relax and not head for a specific destination or travel long distances….we have to learn to chill.  With this in mind, when we reached Omarama (just a short 25 minute drive from Benmore) instead of turning left and heading straight for the Lindis and to further points, we took a right turn and headed to the Hot Pools just 500 metres from the turn off.  Here we are parked up for the night (free overnight parking), a hot tub is booked  for later in the evening as we plan to sit in the tub, watch the sun go down over the Southern Alps and perhaps even have a glass or two of wine!  Yep, we are fast learners at this relaxing stuff.

Our evening was somewhat shattered by the news from Simon that his best mate Brian died suddenly this morning.  We are just coming to grips with this terrible news.  We have extremely warm and fond memories of Brian, of the nights he crashed at our place, of the tramping trips – including taking Antony along from a very young age, to the thoughtfulness of his leaving present to us when we left Auckland.  We know he will be sorely missed.  Kia Kaha.

At Last

September 21, 2011

The promised photos are here!


Looking toward the front of the motorhome.  New kitchen on the left, movable seating on the right. New Flooring, carpets, blinds as well.


Relax (please note the beautiful cushions Bernice made!!)


New stove and drawers with the recycled two seater.  The table slides down behind the two seater for storage.


Kitchen area

corner 1corner 2

Turntable shelf unit making the most of a corner cupboard.

looking back

Looking toward the rear of the motorhome.


Slide out pantry

 hand basin   

New bathroom unit

office 2 office   

Office installed into the dashboard in front of the passenger seat

All in all, a fantastic job done by Steve at Inex Interiors with great ideas and wonderful joinery.  A first class job done.

We spent last Saturday with Jason & Erica, their 4 children – Dante, Rose, Theo & Andre, plus their 8 chickens, 4 lambs, 2 calves, 2 sheep, and 2 kuni kuni pigs.  A lovely day was had with them all.

 Andre Assisting

Andre assisting with planting in the orchardAugustus and Violet

Augustus and Violet the kuni kuni pigs

Rose and lamb

Rose and lamb


Feeding time

Sunday we finally left Helen & Don’s and headed off to stay at the Racecourse in Oamaru whilst we wait for the final piece in the puzzle, the A frame to enable us to tow the RAV4.  We arrived to find that the Spring Harness Meeting was in full flow.

races 1

Hannon Memorial Raceday

races 2 

And  they’re off!!!

The “A” finally arrived Monday afternoon, hopefully they will be able to fit it tomorrow (Wednesday), then, watch out, we may appear in a town near you!

Another week……..or is it two?

September 14, 2011

Another week, or two, have slipped by, and we are still out on the farm with Helen & Don……..we hope we are not overstaying our welcome!!! The van went back to the joiners for the office/desk area to be sorted. But of course, things did not quite go to plan so plan B, or was it C?, was put into effect. We now have a desk installed into the front dash. On opening up the dash, we found that we did not have quite as much room as we had anticipated, hence a quick rethink. It all looks good though, and I promise photos are coming. As well another few wee jobs were completed such as fitting the rear blind to the inside frame of the window, installing a towel rail, a grab rail at the entrance and putting the new table top on. The curtains are hung and the small couch is being recovered and should be finished this week. I have even made some cushion covers! Those of you who know my sewing skills should be impressed!

At the same time, the RAV4 went into get its electrics sorted for towing and we also sought & bought an A frame. This week, the van has gone into the workshop for an engine check, then its off to get its COF (Certificate of Fitness). It seems to be one thing after another but we thought that we should get as much as possible done whilst we can.

In between we have been kept busy with one thing or another, Roy has been busy with the business (IeSMS), we have helped out with a breakfast service at Pen-y-bryn, taken Mum to Dunedin for her specialist appointment, there always seems to be plenty to keep us occupied and out of too much mischief.

We had a lovely dinner courtesy of James & James last evening at Pen-y-bryn; a Chinese banquet of “real” Chinese food, with not a sweet & sour or fried rice to be had! It was a real treat and such delightful flavours, delicious, and a lovely evening. Next time I must ask for a doggy bag ;)~

There are a few other minor things to do on the van, but we can do those once we are on our travels. There is always going to be things to do and to sort out but once these major things are completed this week, we should be AOK to head off into the wide blue yonder, wherever that may be.

Next entry in a day or so WILL include photos.

PS. Happy 40th Birthday Jason!

Trial Run

September 5, 2011

Late on Thursday we realised that this weekend a motorhome rally was being held near Geraldine.  It seemed like the perfect opportunity to test out the improvements in the van before it heads back to the workshop for the final changes to be made.  We could test everything and make sure no adjustments needed to be made.  So Friday afternoon we left Helen and Don’s and headed off toward Geraldine.

The first stop was made just 300 metres from the farm when Roy noticed that the magnifying section of the wing mirror was dangling ready to fall.  A quick stop to remove it before it fell, and then we were off.  Next stop was the fuel depot to fill up with LPG, that done next stop was at the waste dump in Oamaru to refill the completely empty water tank.  35 minutes later we were on our way again.  Soon we were in Timaru and another stop, this time to put some petrol in the tank, and also to make a quick call to Helen to look up the book we had left behind just where the rally was being held!  That done, we were again on our way and soon reached the POP (Park over Property) some 5kms from Geraldine.

After negotiating the driveway (with a minor altercation with the gatepost!) we were ushered to our parking spot among the other 45 vehicles.  This rally differed somewhat from the previous one we had attended in the fact that the overall majority of vehicle were of the larger size, a fact that we were told was most unusual.

A lovely weekend was spent in glorious sunshine.  We met some lovely people and had a look at another couple of motorhomes/busses which is always good to get ideas, swap tales of good parking spots and generally chat.  We met a lovely couple from Auckland who are taking a year out to travel the country, the four of us escaped the “organ recital of the old folks home genre!” and beat a hasty retreat to our van to polish of the odd rum or two! We hope to meet up with Mark and Natalie on our travels later this month.

Sunday was back to Helen and Don’s for the final clear up before the van goes into the workshop for the office refit, then we will be off again.  Lets hope that this glorious weather continues..

The end of House-sitting

September 3, 2011

The past couple of weeks have flown by and our house-sitting duties have come to an end.  Whilst we have loved house-sitting, all those little “jobs” we had planned to get done in our rest time, it seems that very few of the items we had on our list have been crossed off!  Isn’t that always the way?  All those tasks will now have to either wait until we stop permanently but perhaps some will get done on our travels. 

We have taken delivery of the van/bus/motorhome.  Hmmm, what do we call it?  And what shall we name it?  The front runner at the moment is “Hotel Splendide” after a black comedy/weird movie that we watched with Steve & Les in Whangamata – you have to watch it to understand it! 

The van looks fantastic, we have a few minor details to finish it off,  next week it goes back to the joiner to have the desk installed into the front dashboard as he just did not get that done.  Photos will be coming once it is all completed.  But we have the new kitchen installed, our leather recliner rockers in situ, new carpet and flooring in, the bed is finished and VERY comfortable, bedside cabinet installed, new hand basin and vanity unit in the bathroom, two seater couch installed, drivers seat and passenger seats swapped over (so that the passenger has arm rests!!), new pantry installed, new thermal/blackout blinds installed and curtains for the front window. 

We have been through all our boxes of treasures that we thought would be essential for living in the van, with many items returned to boxes to be put into storage.  We have rearranged all the external lockers and made sure that what we have in these are all essential items.  Although one item is still contestable…..our guest wing aka the tent, however if it does not get utilised within the next few months, it will also be relegated to long term storage!

Helen and Don arrived home last Saturday and they have kindly allowed us to stay with them for a few days longer whilst we sort out all our gear.  By the end of next week we should be ready to hit the road again which we are both looking forward to.  We have no plans of where we will be heading or in which direction, I guess it will be a case of tossing a coin at the nearest intersection and see which way we end up going!