Thursday, February 21, 2008

Day two, 10th Feb

Up bright and early, and decided to walk into Hokitika to buy some breakfast at the supermarket, forgetting that it was Sunday, and it wasn't open until 9 a.m. So, we had to go to the Cafe Paris where we had hot croissant and lovely coffee. What a pity Andrew decided to stay in bed.

Next, off to Greymouth to get Andrew sorted out. We met Rebecca, the administrator at the college, who despite being slightly hungover from a good Saturday night, was on top of things, and layed down te law to Andrew, Fred and another lad while showing them their rooms. The rooms were quite disappointing at first, looking bare and scruffy, but the room had a double bed, a TV, bathroom and fridge, as well as a wireless broadband connection, so life wasn't all bad!

As we had brought quilts and bedding for a single bed, we made a quick trip to the Warehouse for some bedding, and then to the supermarket for food and cleaning materials. The room looked quite nice once the bed was made.

We left Andrew to get to know people and explore Greymouth, while we went back to Hokitika to have a bit of time resting and thinking.

We went for a quick walk along the beach in one of the dryspells of the day, enjoying the fresh air and the howling gale! There are some very creative people in Hokitika, this was one of many examples of art we passed.

Finally, back into Greymouth to get a meal with Andrew, but he was a bit subdued possibly because of the travel, or the idea of living on his own, so after the meal, we left him to watch the Simpsons, and we went back to get a nights rest.

Day one 9th Feb 2008

A simple day, down to the ferry terminal in Wellington by 7 a.m. Had a coffee at the New World Supermarket in Wellington Railway Station, then onto the Monte Stello for the 3 hour crossing to the South Island. I didn't like the Monte Stello as much as the Santa Regina, its sister ship, but it was still a pleasant crossing.

Off the boat at Picton and fish and chips for lunch sitting on the quayside, before a long drive to Hokitika (350 kms) via Blenheim, St. Arnaud, Murchison where we stopped for a coffee and a slice of cake, Reefton, and Greymouth, where we too a quick peek at Tai Poutini Polytechnic, where Andrew is to spend the next 9 months or so.

We had a room booked at 252 Beachside Holiday Park, where we have stayed before a few years ago with my mum and Lynn's mum on a tour of the West Coast.

Had a pizza at Fat Pipis, delicious cheap pizzas from a 'shop share' enterprise, where the premises is a bakery business during the day, and a takeaway Pizza place (different business) at night!

And back to the Motel for a good nights sleep!

Monday, February 18, 2008

SKI Holiday

This blog covers a short holiday we took in the South Island of New Zealand, in February 2008. Those of you who are good at geography will know that there is not much skiing of the snow variety at that time. You may also not that the name is capitals, it should more accurately be S.K.I. holiday.

The main purpose of the holiday was to drop our son Andrew off at Tai Poutini Polytechnic in Greymouth, where he is starting an Outdoor Recreation course. This means we will not be seeing much of hime for the next few months, effectively he has left home. As he is the third and final child of ours to leave the nest, this means we are now "Suddenly Kids Independant" according to Brian from the Hokitika holiday park we stayed at. It sounds like he gets a lot of similar couples of a certain age taking 'SKI holidays'!

Anyway, this blog will be written as a number of posts, one for each day, covering the highlights of the trip, including all the lovely walks we found, and some of the 320 photographs we took.

Our plan was to spend 3 nights in Hokitika, making sure Andrew was settled in to his accomodation, and finding a few nice things to do in that area. We were then going to go further down the west coast to Franz Joseph and Fox Glacier area, including a planned walk at Okarito Lagoon. We then planned to use the Haast pass to get to Wanaka, to see what was available there. Out next destination was over the Lindis pass to Mount Cook, where we planned some more Glacier viewing for a couple of days, and finally back over the Arthur's pass to Greymouth, to do a final check on our son, before heading home. As the whole trip had to fit into 9 days, it was always going to be abit rushed.

We bought a new tent for the trip, just a two man pup tent, and planned to camp as much as we could after we left Hokitika, but were very aware of the West Coast and Southern Alps weather tendencies!

Ferries were booked back in December, and we were using the Bluebridge service, as we like the friendly way the ships are operated.

Thats the reasoning for the trip etc covered, let's get stuck in!