Of Stones and Birds

Of Stones and Birds

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The heritage listed building turns out to be quite a hurdle

It was the day before yesterday when we finally moved into the place which is supposed to be our home for the next six months. Three weeks ago, first thing after I had signed the lease was to order what should be the fastest internet connection available in Australia and the installation was announced for today. The heritage listed building turns out to be quite a hurdle for the installer, the place where the installation should have taken place in order to comply with the landlord, proves to be impossible. Without the consent of the owner we can not choose a different spot and as the owner can not be reached the mechanic leaves without having accomplished anything. For the last five weeks we have been struggling with the unbearable slowness of a mobile data plan and moreover have to pay a small fortune for it. Looks like this won’t change anytime soon.

My plan was to publish the continuation of our New Zealand travel log as soon as uploading the photos would only a matter of seconds rather than hours. But this might be just that final test of my patience that I have to pass to get rewarded with some superfast Internet?

However … back to New Zealand: Now that we have picked up Emilia at the airport in Christchurch, taken over the camper and stocked up on our supplies, we drive off and experience a Lake Tekapo in hurricane force wind. The next day we decide to continue our journey towards the southern coast due to the bad weather forecast.

At noon we arrive at Oamaru where we stop at an Indian restaurant. While we enjoy the excellent curry, a hail storm as I have never seen before pulls over the place. Within a few minutes the roads are covered in a five-centimetre layer of hailstones. The Nepalese waitress who has lived in Oamaru for the past eight years is ecstatic, it is the first hail she has seen in her life. Somehow we seem to attract weather extremes lately.

Here we see our first New Zealand dolphins

Continuing our way we stop at the Moeraki Boulders. Here we see our first New Zealand dolphins as they swim past us, not fifty meters from the beach. In the evening we reach our destination, a nice campground by the sea in the city of Dunedin. We eat and take a walk on the beach before we hop into bed.

 

It seems as though the Kiwis don’t care much for guard rails

The next morning, we look forward to a hot shower, but quickly realise that we forgot our towels in the dryer at Lake Tekapo. So we make our way into the city to buy new ones. We find Dunedin very likeable, after an extended exploration of downtown we treat ourselves to a light lunch in Gaslight Café and then take the spectacular twenty-kilometer  coastal road to Harrington Point. In some places a strip of only twenty centimetres of asphalt separates us from the sea. It seems as though the Kiwis don’t care much for guard rails. As we arrive, we book a tour at the Royal Albatross Center where the world’s only mainland colony of albatrosses can be found. Together with two Dutchmen, we watch the introductory film and listen to a short presentation by an ornithologist, who then accompanies us to the observation bunker. There are one-way windows, to protect the nesting albatrosses from any disturbance. For the next hour we observe the albatrosses circling over the cliffs right before our eyes while we talk to the friendly guide. Time goes by way too fast, we find it hard to leave the scenery. With a wingspan of up to 3.5 meters albatrosses are the biggest birds capable of flight.

When we come back to the parking lot after this experience, we watch a cruise ship depart the natural harbour of Dunedin through the narrow channel out to the open sea, an impressive sight.

 

 

It’s raining and we pay a visit to the shopping malls and cafes

The next day we spend in downtown Dunedin again. It’s raining and we pay a visit to the shopping malls and cafes. I treat myself to a massage to finally get rid of a tension in the back, which I have had since sleeping on the unspeakably bad mattress in our last house on Hawaii. The young New Zealander knows his stuff better than his two fellow masseuses and a chiropractor, which I had already consulted back in Honolulu. He manages to free me permanently from the unpleasant pain. (Thank you so much Matthew of Muscle Mechanics.)

Back in the camper we enjoy an Italian snack consisting of prosciutto, Finocchiona, Taleggio and ciabatta, accompanied by a bottle of excellent New Zealand Pinot Noir, all purchased from a well-stocked deli in town.

Heavy rainfalls wake us the next morning We make our way to Queenstown and soon realise that our motorhome has several leaks. Since there is a branch of the rental company in Queenstown, we call them and arrange to come by before they close at 4.00 pm. Due to the continuing heavy rain we are making only slow progress so we only have one brief stop to refuel. We manage to arrive just before they close and the mechanic sets out to find the leak. After  an hour we continue our way, hoping that the leaks are eliminated for the rest of our journey.

The campground is almost full, a marathon took place and the whole city is teeming with visitors. Luckily we find a table in the very nice Captains Restaurant and enjoy being spoiled with culinary delights.

A peculiarity encountered on all New Zealand campgrounds is the variety of mandatory and prohibition signs. The choice of words often is quite brisk and fortunately disproportionate to the usually very friendly nature of the Kiwis. One of the signs that never lack, demands you to check out before 10 am on the day of departure. We are no early risers at all and enjoy having plenty of  time for a long breakfast. Moreover it just takes its time before four ladies are done with their morning routine. Since most guests do not arrive before 5.00 pm and unlike a hotel, where the room has to be done after departure, this rule does not appear very important and useful to us so we ignore it at first. After being met with a skeptical frown several times when leaving, I soon get into the habit to mention  that we would leave around midday when checking in.

we continue our way across the Crown Range on New Zealands highest paved road

This morning, however, we already leave at 10, mostly because of the crowded campground  and its very small campsites. We prefer to have breakfast in a nice rest area just outside of Queenstown. Then we continue our way across the Crown Range on New Zealands highest paved road. We arrive at beautifully situated  Lake Outlet Holiday Park at Lake Wanaka shortly after noon and take a long walk along the banks of the river that drains the lake. The next day’s highlight is a cycling trip along the stunning lakeshore. We buy some groceries in the local supermarket and return to the campsite where we fire up the bbq, have  some steaks and enjoy the pleasantly warm evening.

 

 

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