Friday, September 30, 2011

ON OUR WAY TO CHRISTCHURCH




Friday evening.

We began our drive to Christchurch about 11 am yesterday. The weather stayed fine so we were able to get our last minute laundry, sheets and towels, on the line early and dry enough to fold and leave in the hot water cylinder cupboard to thoroughly air. We steadily worked at all our last day tasks and I was happy we left the house in good order for guests who have booked the house for Labour weekend, 23-25th October.




We did have a few more things to do than was ideal but we'd spent the previous day with Mum, not arriving home until after 8 pm.

Packing the car is an art and John did a great job considering there was so much stuff we thought we would need. We expect to be away 6-8 weeks so need clothes for snow or freezing, swimsuits! ... and everything in between. It's a pity our bus is not roadworthy. That would have made packing a lot simpler. We even have the breadmaker!!! I promise we did not pack the kitchen sink but I did fill the back seat of the car with a heavy case of books which my daughter-in-law is going to help me sell on TradeMe.




We stopped briefly at Mum's to drop off a couple of forgotten things then stopped again at Colenso, a roadside cafe with awesome food and coffee. It was just on 4 pm when we got to Rotorua and found Greg at the Community Centre where he has recently become a volunteer. We met some of his friends and had BBQ sausages, steak and pork with a variety of Korean style salads. The only thing I liked was a pickled vegatable which might have been cucumber and onion salad in a sweet sour dressing spiced with chilli. We were tired when we finally were able to go to bed at Greg's in a comfortable bed.

Crossing the Thames at Kopu on the old one way bridge controlled by lights. This bridge is 500m long, built in the 1920s. The centre span pivots to allow tall boats to navigate. The new bridge alongside is almost completed.

Greg and his Chinese flatmate
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We stopped briefly at Mum's to drop off a couple of forgotten things then stopped again at Colenso, a roadside cafe with awesome food and coffee. It was just on 4 pm when we got to Rotorua and found Greg at the Community Centre where he has recently become a volunteer. We met some of his friends and had BBQ sausages, steak and pork with a variety of Korean style salads. The only thing I liked was a pickled vegatable which might have been cucumber and onion salad in a sweet sour dressing spiced with chilli. We were tired when we finally were able to go to bed at Greg's in a comfortable bed.

This morning there was more time to talk to Greg before he headed off to an appointment with his ACC, Accident Compensation, case manager. Today it's 19 years since his motor bike accident when he sustained a serious back and less serious head injury. I'm guessing that in another 10 years injuries such as Greg's will be repairable. He had a crush and fracture at T12 and is termed a partial paraplegic because there is some muscle recovery and some nerve response but apart from being able to stand with crutches he is for all intents and purposes a paraplegic living from a wheelchair.

First we went to the supermarket and bought salad and rolls for lunch. There was enough for our tea tonight and still salad for tomorrow. It was about 11 am when we left Rotorua. It's been a beautiful day following a good frost, only a few fluffy clouds in the azure sky. We enjoyed driving on good roads with light to medium traffic. It was a pleasure after our narrow winding Coromandel roads. The mountains, Ruapehu, Ngarahoe and Tongariro were well dressed in gleaming snow, as were the Ruahines to the east of us. The atmosphere was so clear the mountains seemed almost close enough to touch. I think it was one of the nicest drives I've had across the Central Plateau. We had intended to stop along Lake Taupo for lunch as there are so many beautiful scenic spots but we were making such good progress we decided it was too soon to take a break. Finally we stopped at the Waiouru Military Museum. Plenty of parking. beautiful timber tables and seating, sunshine, mountain background and conversation with an English Rugby World Cup follower/tourist all made it a good stop for lunch. Our rolls were fresh and crunchy and yummy as we filled them with our personal choice. We didn't have time to go into the Museum but we have been before and can recommend it as it covers all of New Zealand's military history from the first settlers to now. This is our National Military Museum and being a small country other museums only have snippets of stuff.

We continued our drive and finally stopped for the night in Palmerston North where we booked into a Motel in Fitzherbert Street. There is a group of Georgian Rugby tourists and anther smaller group from Argentine. New Zealand is in the grip of World Rugby cup fever and although we are not "Rugby Mad," we aare lying on our comfortable bed watching Samoa play South Africa. It's a hard game but the score is all going South Africa's way.

This is a great way to end a wonderful travel day. We've had a soak in the spa bath and showered washing hair and now it's nearly time to go to sleep. We still have 2 hours to drive to Wellington tomorrow to catch the Ferry to Picton. It takes about 3 hours to cross Cook Strait and we are hoping for more good weather. On Sunday we will complete our drive to Christchurch. We haven't driven down for four years so while very familiar it all seems very fresh. Spring is springing and the green paddocks are decorated with ewes and lambs, so cute, and cows and calves. Willow trees are delicately green and blossom trees show off in pinks and white. Other seasons can be stunning but I think spring is the prettiest.

I never travel in New Zealand without being in awe of our landscape. We are truly blessed. It's been wonderful that our weather has been mostly good whily Rugby World Cup followers are touring. Makes one feel proud to be a Kiwi.

I'm sorry this is not up to my usual editing standard. It's taking too long to sort out.

1 comment:

Malone said...

Editing be gone. It is wonderful to read about your travels across the country.