Pulled the plug in time?

Pulled the plug in time?

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Too bad, we particularly wanted to get to know this part of New Zealand

The weather forecast for the southern part of NZs South Island is pretty bad. Stormy winds and heavy rainfalls for several days. Too bad, we particularly wanted to get to know this part of New Zealand better, but in this weather that wouldn’t be fun.

Spontaneously, we depart after breakfast. We pass by Lake Tekapo again, this time coming from the west, and ask at the campground if our towels have been found. They have not, and the staff there doesn’t really seem interested in our needs so we continue our way to Ashburton.


Lake Pukaki



twentyfive degrees at 8pm remind us of Hawaii rather than New Zealand

When we arrive the temperature is unnaturally high, 25 degrees at 8pm remind us of Hawaii rather than New Zealand’s South Island. The next day we drive to Kaikoura Peketa campsite. The weather is great, the campground is beautifully situated on a long sandy beach, we park our camper a few meters away from the sea and enjoy the unclouded sunshine.

In the late afternoon, a school of dolphins joins us and, much to our delight, they play and leap into the air, one higher than the other. It is always amazing to see how touching these wonderful creatures are. Unfortunately, my other camera with the telephoto lens is in the camper.



Feeling disappointed, we try our luck at Ohau Point Lookout.

The next day we drive to Kaikoura and visit the local seal colony, which is located only a few hundred metres outside the city. There are only four seals present, the many tourists make their lives difficult here. Some annoy the animals in such obnoxious manner that you sometimes wish the seals were less indifferent.

Feeling disappointed, we try our luck at “Ohau Point Lookout” about 20 km away, there are many seals and a few tourists. We remain one and a half hours and watching them play, fish and relax doesn’t get boring. It’s so funny how awkwardly they sometimes move on land. However, as soon as they get in the water, they are in their element. There is no stopping and you wouldn’t believe  it’s the same animal.

Then we take a walk through dense rainforest to a small waterfall. If you come here at the right time of year, apparently you can watch the young seals play under the waterfall. Back at the campsite we spend the rest of the beautiful day on the beach.



This morning, the results of the end-of-year exams will be announced

The next morning we all wake up already anxious. This morning, the results of the end-of-year exams at Emilia’s University will be announced. She logs into the Uni-server at 11am with very low expectations and cannot believe the good results at first. What a surprise, we all rejoice with her!

Right after that we make our way to Picton where we want to take the ferry to the North Island the next day. In the afternoon we visit the Yealands Winery, allegedly the most sustainable in the world. As the first wine producer ever Yealands was certified as carboNZeroCertTM from inception. And the wines are absolutely impressive, in 2014 Yealands was selected as New Zealand Winery of the Year at the “International Wine and Spirits Competition” in London.

Although I have visited many wineries, I am very impressed. I have never seen so much innovation and creativity in any of them. For example, there is a beautiful road through the vineyards, several lookout points have set up rest areas where you can enjoy a picnic amidst the vines to classical music.

In order to reduce emissions, it has over 1,500 baby doll sheep and miniature pigs that graze in the vineyards, to keep the grass short while fertilising the soil. The animals are not large enough to reach the grapes. This figure is expected to increase in the coming years to 10,000, and eventually replace all mechanical mowing. Yealands was founded in 2008 and is now the sixth largest wine producer in the country. The majority of the required electricity is produced by a solar system that was switched on in 2013 and was, at the time, New Zealand’s largest solar photovoltaik System.



No problem, as long as you pull the plug at ten!

Picton welcomes us with our second New Zealand hailstorm, it seems there’s crazy weather all around the world. After we have dinner at a nice pub we set out on the search for “Alexander’s  Holiday Park”. Unfortunately, we hadn’t looked at the reviews on the internet, when we arrive we find a quite run down campground. Since it is already dark, we have no desire to look for an alternative.

When checking in, I see, once again, the obligatory sign “Check out before 10.00”. Our ferry will leave Picton at 1pm tomorrow, so I ask the owner of the campground if we could stay until 12. That would be no problem, he says, as long as we pull the plug of the power supply at 10. At first, I still believe that he’s joking with me. Our RV consumes electricity for at most a dollar in two hours. However, by the look on his face, I soon realise that he really is serious. My first thought: get into the camper and quickly leave the place, but that would make little sense, given the fact that I have already paid for the night. So I decide to refrain from further discussions and to ignore his statement.

In the middle of the night the camper suddenly starts rocking wildly.

Making matters worse, the place is also crossed by a railway bridge. In the middle of the night the camper suddenly starts rocking wildly. Our first assumption is that it’s an earthquake, nothing out of the ordinary in New Zealand. However, only a moment later a freight train crosses the bridge directly over our heads with a deafening noise. The whole spectacle repeats itself two more times before dawn.

After a leisurely breakfast and the intention to consume as much electricity as possible before departure, we make our way to the ferry. Goodbye South Island!

Translation by Cosima Wieser

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