WINTER 2015

Happy As Larry!

Larry is set up and ready for his trip. 

He likes going on his little jaunts around this big beautiful world of ours, and has warned us that this time – he might just be hogging the camera a bit. 

It seems that his mates (Hamish, Molly, Dusk & Blaze) don’t really believe him when he sprouts off about the amazing things he has seen on his travels – so he’s aiming to provide evidence. Or so it seems…. We’ll see…

  

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WINTER 2015

At the ready!

The Parentals are busy working out what stuff they need for the trip. Jeans, boots, jackets etc etc etc

I was getting a bit concerned, as the short one kept saying things to the tall one, like: “you don’t need that!” “go put that back away, its unnecessary”, & “leave that at home, it’s too heavy”.

So – I figured I’d best make very sure I don’t get left behind. I’m at the ready!!! 😃

  

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WINTER 2015

Journeying!

So its been a busy few days since we left the great AU.  I was strapped in on the plane, and I’ve got to say that it made me feel a lil green around the gills, that whole take off business, and there were some clouds that i thought were marshmallows, but the Parentals told me different!!


Once it was all smooth sailing, I was allowed to have a hot chocolate, and that made me feel a lot better 🙂

And I had a lil nap, so that i was super ready for whatever adventures lay ahead….

We arrived at our home-away-from-home of Russell, up in the Bay of Islands, rather late at night, and we were tired, so the parents left me in the room, while they ducked out to let some friends down at the Waterfront, know we had all arrived safely.

Seems they were happy to see the short & tall ones again!

Had an easy dinner, one of our very favourites when we are travelling actually, of hot&spicy noodles and toast, and then climbed into bed for some very much needed sleep. (the Parentals made me a bed on the couch, out in the lounge-room, which i thought was a bit cruel. They had a pile of fluffy pillows and doonahs, and I just had couch cushions and a cover!)

Next morning was beautiful and sun-shiny. Gorgeous morning! So we decided to go and have breakfast at Sallys – as we do!
Yummy, scrummy, Eggs Benedict, for the tall Mumma and Bacon & Eggs for the short Mumma – and i just got a bit of each of ‘em 🙂

Ohhhhhhh but what a view.


Happy Happy Larry i tell ya!

What a privilege to wake up to this each and every day…

Yesterday we went for a drive to KeriKeri, and then had lunch back at Piahia, where I was allowed to play on the park piano.
It was soon much FUN!

I had a bit of a hard time getting the lid open to start with, but then the tall Mumma gave me a bit of a leg-up, and some help with the lid, and I was on my way to entertaining the masses!!

 I got a lil embarrassed at being watched – so I went in and hid in Mummas bag.

Today – the wind and rain came in overnight.

It was really quite heavy and blowy through the night – and the tall Mumma slept right through it, but the short Mumma got up a time or two through the night.

She tells me it was to check i wasn’t scared (and i pretended i wasn’t), but i think that she really just wanted to pee!!!

(Ive never known a woman to pee as much as that one does…..

Anyways – tonight we are staying at our lovely friends, Ian & Idas place.

Last time the Parentals had a sleep over at their place, rumour has it that it got loud and messy.

Lots of drinking, eating, dancing, singing and merriment to be had – so i’m looking forward to it, and preparing myself.

 Depending on what we are up to tomorrow, Ill let you know how it went – at some point 🙂

See ya when I can next sneak the use of one of the Parentals phones !!!!:))))

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WINTER 2015

To South of the North.

Wellllllll…… We note that Larry has been at the computer once again, and has been doing a bit of blogging on his own, but tonight he is laid up in bed, with a bit of a cold, as we have been in Napier since yesterday, and its cold enough to freeze the…..well, lets just say Larry is a bit cold and grumpy.

  Its been a little bit of an up & down, since we arrived in Russell.  On our first full day, we went to see our block of land that we planned on buying – only to find a big nasty red SOLD sign on it! Our hearts dropped into our bellies, and we may both have had a lil cry (along with being a tad angry that the Agent hadn’t kept us in the loop!), but after a quiet morose half hour, we pulled up our big-grrl panties, and soldiered on. There was another block we had briefly looked at, but when we had spotted the now-sold one, we didn’t look at it any further. So, we went back to have a proper look, and spent a good half hour wandering over every part of it, and seeing if we ‘felt’ what we needed to.  And as luck would have it – it was a waaaaay better block than we had initially thought (we hadn’t gone over it last time – just looked on a drive-by.) Smaller than the first, but still a good size, and could easily meet the requirements we have!!! Outside of all that happening though, we got to spend some really wonderful quality time with some very special friends, Ian & Ida.  We had two lovely nights staying at their place at Orongo Bay, and got to relax, eat, drink, chat lots and just generally be happy campers.  Larry got up to a bit of mischief on our first night there – a lil too much Shiraz perhaps – and it would seem he ‘scored’…        Monday we awoke to drizzle and it was a bit blowy, but it was time to head south.  We had planned to spend the the night in Hamilton, as there is a beautiful old ‘grand dame’ of a hotel, that we stayed in last year, and we wanted to not only stay again, but to revisit an Italian restaurant we’d really enjoyed.  Thankfully the restaurant was open, and we had a most fabulous meal – and left there so full we could barely move! Freddie & Lani had fed us to the hilt once again! Delicious!! The next morning it was off to Napier. The drive through the pass was really windy, with huge gusts at some points.  Had to stay alert that’s for sure!! On the way, we passed through Taupo, and went for a drive around the steam parks. They’re really quite an amazing site, and an engineering feat!    Today we went to the National Aquarium of New Zealand. Saw lots of really pretty fishies, turtles, fairy penguins, eels, sharks, stingray, alligators – a whole truckload of marine life!! Got some quite good photos too, which we will try to get more of, posted, once we get some good reliable free wifi 🙂    The winds have been really full on in parts, and the night before we had arrived in Napier, they had had an overnight snow for the first time in a lot of years.  By the time we got here, the snow in town had thawed, but can still be seen up on the mountains.  One of the really amazing things on this trip, is that every single day, we have seen rainbows.  Makes us both smile 🙂 It’s supposed to be 0º tonight again, and we are heading further south to Wellington tomorrow, hoping to catch the ferry across the strait to the South Island on Saturday.  A few of the ferries have been cancelled in the last couple of days, so it’s fingers-crossed that we make it over!

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WINTER 2015

OMG!!!!

Ya should a been there!!

That’s all I can say – YA SHOULDA BEEN THERE!!!

Today was almost the most fun I’ve had all trip!

The Parentals decided it was a great day for a walk. Now me, I’m not into walking so much, but I do soooo like site-seeing, so I snuck into the tall Mummas bag once again, and off we went.
First stop – and this was the best part – was at the cable car, up the hill, to look over Wellington.

The Parentals went up last time they came here, and enjoyed it so much they wanted to do it again. I missed out last time, so I wasn’t going to miss out this time!!

So, once we were on the cable-car, I popped out and made myself known, and just enjoyed the ride.

When we got to the top, the Parentals let me have my photo taken sitting in the railing with Wellington in the background.

Wellington in my rearview mirror!

Wellington in my rearview mirror!

The tall Mumma even helped me by being a step, cos I could reach up to see through the binoculars, and I really really wanted to do that!!

Looking out on Wellington

Looking out on Wellington

When we were heading back past the cable-car, the driver asked if I would like to have my photo taken driving it, as he didn’t have to leave for a few minutes!!!
Oh ma gawd, oh ma gawd, oh ma gawd!!!
I was SOOOOO excited when the Mummas said I could!!
I think I might even have wee’d a lil bit on the dash, in my excitement when I was allowed in there ALL BY MYSELF!!

I DROVE THE CABLE-CAR!!!

I DROVE THE CABLE-CAR!!!

After that we went a few other places – like the museum and stuff, but nothing is going to be as exciting as that was.
Nothing ever ever ever….!

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WINTER 2015

A lotta drivin’s been done!

Its been a busy week, and we’ve driven a long way.

We stayed two days in Wellington – a city we really quite like.

Went for huge walks around the port, piers, marinas and waterways, and again went in the cable-car, and visited the Te Papa Museum.

The museum is such a huge place, over many different levels – and even if it wasn’t ever-changing, there is so much to see that you could never accomplish it in a full day.

But we spent an enjoyable couple of hours there, then walked back to our unit.

Cold, exhausted, but happy.

The ferry across the Strait between the North and South Islands had been cancelled a few times over the previous days, due to bad weather, really high winds, and rough seas – so we had been crossing our fingers that when our turn came, it would all smooth out, calm down, and be running safely.

Thankfully, although the day dawned overcast, the wind had dropped, and the seas calmed – everything was running on schedule, so we lined up along with a zillion other cars, and waited to drive onto the ferry.

It’s a three hour trip to the South Island, but it passes really quickly. And for those who aren’t very keen on boat travel, one never at any point loses sight of land 🙂

There are a number of eateries on board, a couple of cinemas, and a gift shops – all very reasonably priced, and we enjoyed a combination breakfast/snack, as well as a wander round. It’s good that you can stretch and wander whenever you like, and aren’t at any point confined to a particular seat.

Larry was thrilled to pieces when he spotted a pair of NZ gym boots in the gift shop, which we eventually have in and bought for him.

He’s a very bit big keen on them, and has refused to take them off, even when he goes to bed.

He’s a very chuffed-with-himself little fellow!!

We arrived in Picton just after lunchish time, and drove around having a look-see, before heading off to our accommodation at Waimaka.

Our room had a lovely view over the Queen Charlotte Sound waters, and every few hours we got to watch and listen to the inter-island ferry come in.

It sort of echoes around the Sound, a beautiful reassuring deep thrum, chug, chug…

Next stop was an overnighter at Kaikoura, which whilst it was mostly quiet due to the start of winter, and the public holiday – we could definitely see that in the high-season, it would very much have the same sort of vibe as Airlie in full swing.One of the truly beautiful and amazing things about Kaikoura though, are the seal colonies on the outskirts of the town.

There were honestly hundreds and hundreds of seals – including a squillion seal-pups – basking in the sun, napping, mooching about, and just generally being seals!!

The two that most caught our hearts, were one of the pups that had huge big dark-ringed possum-type eyes, and a pup who was feeding off Mumma.

Next stop in our travels was Christchurch.

We were deciding how we wanted to plan our time there – as it was a place that had had a big impact on us last time we had visited – so two things were definite on the list.

A visit to the ReStart container mall, and a trip back to New Brighton.

Last year we had loved the hope that ReStart evoked, and whilst quite a few of the businesses that were there last year have moved into newly built buildings, there are still many running their shops out of the containers.

It’s one of those awesome initiatives that grew out of an absolute necessity after the 2011 Quakes – that shows the ingenuity and hopeful strength of these Kiwi folk.

New Brighton was almost the opposite.

When we visited last year, the devastation still ‘felt’ so very very fresh…

The roads were still crumbling, there were hundreds upon hundreds of houses – entire bloody suburbs – of homes that were devastated, or had water and/or mud all through them, or were condemned, or were boarded and/or taped up.

It was absolutely heartbreaking and soul-destroying…

Seeing it on tele was one thing, but being there, being ‘inside’ it – was something you just can not begin to fathom, without experiencing it.

It’s hard to imagine how those effected could sustain any sort of hope – and quite apart from that, how do thousands and thousands of people find rehoming, and pick up the pieces, when every material thing they have in life, is suddenly decimated and just….GONE!?!

This time – there was more of a sense of hope – of recovery, happening.

The roads were much improved.

Many of the homes had been demolished, and in their places were acres and acres of lush tended ‘park-like’ spaces.

There is still a LOT of devastation to be seen – but you can see the efforts that have been made too, and the difference those efforts have made.

One sign we saw – pretty much said it all, about the aforementioned Kiwi strength:

Stay strong Nepal ❤️”

The Canterbury Kiwis sure do understand, without any doubt, what the Nepalese are struggling with…

So, we were leaving Christchurch the next day, and as happened last time we were here, Christchurch decided to turn it on – weather wise.

All through the night, the rain was coming down in sheets, and there were freezing blustery gales all night, that made the windows whistle.

Getting our stuff into the car in the morning took a bit of rugging up like the abominable snowman, planning, swearing and running – but it got done, and we were off in our way to Lake Tekapo.

And you’ll get to hear about that, the next time we get a spare few hours with some more reliable free wifi!

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