Saturday, 2 April 2016

Heading South, Part 4 - Up to Fairlie

The next morning we met up with Mum and John and they shared stories and photos of their trip the day before to Milford Sound. Despite the rain we drove to Glenorchy as the many coves and bays along the way were advised by numerous to be beautiful viewpoints. We stopped off once but the rain put an end to our thoughts of any more! Just as we were getting back in the car to drive on we saw a woman strip down to her bikini and just dive straight in to the water - must have been freezing, kudos to her!!

It was disappointing that the clouds had descended pretty much all around us and we couldn’t see much, especially as Glenorchy and the area surrounding it was where filming for LOTR had taken place. We had lunch (a pie, of course) and left! 

The rain was less heavy when we gave Mum and John a tour of Arrowtown where Mum bought me the most delicious Hokey Pokey fudge from the Remarkables sweet shop. I managed to quickly take a glance at the Chinese Settlement, well mainly just one old building which served as Au Lum’s shop, a well respected Chinese settler, even amongst the Europeans. Inside, the place was kitted out with dark wood, small doorways and a low ceiling and it felt very enclosed.

That evening we ventured to Ballarat’s restaurant. The interior was large but cosy with dimmed lighting and a very quirky feel. It was designed by Tom Skyring and inspired by an 1850's trading emporium. The photos are a bit poor but I put that down to the red lighting inside!

I went for the bangers and mash, which turned out to be quite a bit more spicy than I thought (the waitress tried to warn me…) but tasty all the same. For dessert I opted for the chocolate brownie with banana and salted caramel sauce but the banana flavour nearly overpowered the whole dish and although I seriously enjoyed the gooey, chewy centre of the actual brownie itself I’m not sure I’d go for it again. They’ve tried to put a twist on the classics but in my book if it’s not broke don’t fix it – that’s why they are classic!

After another cold and wet night we all checked out in the morning and met up for a good fry up at Brazz’s, which was quickly becoming Mum and John's favourite place! The bacon was cooked well and the bread thickly cut and toasted but my eggs were not really up to scratch- not as silky as I’ve had elsewhere and looked more like a cut up omelette which had been cooked in a pan already greasy from other food, not the best presentation! The hash brown was a small frozen affair and looked silly and out of place on the huge plate. I’ve had so much better for so much cheaper.

Mum and John picked up their hire car and we started up a convoy travelling towards Fairlie for our next over night stop. Mum drove but they quickly lost sight of our car amongst the sea of other silver vehicles and started following an old man for a few minutes before eventually realising that wasn't actually Will! 

We came to a scenic lookout over Roaring Meg – the turbulent river that powers the hydro electric station (which was the turning we pulled in to at first and got Will all worried when I pointed out the sign that said ‘authorised access only’!) The name apparently originated years ago, when a couple of men who took their female friends for a walk one night. Both girls had to be carried over the river and one of them, Meg, being rather scared, made a hell of a noise. The river next door is named after her friend 'Gentle Annie' for her calm nature on crossing.

The trees all around are Wilding Pines which the DOC are trying to eradicate (which is why they look all dead!) The trees rapidly take over the natural tussock which has devastating consequences for the existing vegetation and farmland. This campaign hopes to wipe out 1500 hectares of wilding pine!
We travelled though the dramatic landscape of the Lindis Valley,

It was very windy!

made 2 more stops at Lakes Pukaki and Tekapo for Mum and John to marvel at...

History of the Tahr - these fantastic looking goats were introduced to NZ from their native Himalayans, in the early days of European settlement for tourism and the 'sport' of hunting. The population has spread much too rapidly; they eat too much of the natural vegetation and they also damage large areas with their stampy hooves! Hunting tourism is still a big part of conservation effort here. I think it's quite sad that previous generations of humans have felt the need to meddle in nature, introducing many plants and wildlife to New Zealand without a thought to the consequences they would have on the environment and when problems have inevitably occurred their only realistic option is to kill them off.

This is the famous church at Tekapo, which had closed by the time we arrived but was still very lovely to look at from outside.

and had lunch at Omarama. 2 little sparrows had flown inside the café and were repeatedly banging their heads against the glass trying to find a way out! It was quite distressing to watch but there was no hope of catching them. One flew particularly quickly and forcefully into the door and made a really loud thump that made us all wince. Mum said she saw a few feathers fly out.

We arrived at our dated but clean little motel suite and unpacked briefly before heading out for dinner. The owner of the accommodation had suggested somewhere in the village of Kimbel to eat but we weren’t sure which restaurant she was taking about. When we drove through we quickly realised there was only one place to eat! We could hear loud voices from inside and I opened the door. As soon as I did, the room quietened and everyone turned to look at us – so stereotypical of a small village but so true! We got a table in the smaller back room as it was a little quieter and ordered at the bar. The food was delicious; home made and good quality. My lamb was tender with hardly any fat on and the kumara was creamy and smooth. It felt good to be eating lots of veg as we had been used to chips and bar/pub grub. Just as we were leaving John and Mum struck up conversation with the owners – a kiwi man and a woman from Kent no less!

Mum and John set off early in the morning as they had a long drive ahead of them to Franz Josef. I scoffed some free biscuits but we headed to the nearest four-square supermarket for some ‘proper’ breakfast. When I saw the chocolate twists I knew we had to buy one; they were the biggest I’ve ever seen!

Will and I were staying at another top 10 holiday park, this time at Timaru and there wasn’t that much to do in the town but it was nice to look at the architecture in the centre and around down by the beach.

This is the Rose Garden, which was designed to be in the shape of a fish by Christchurch architect Sir Miles Warren. It was set up in 2001 to celebrate the life of rosarian Trevor Griffiths and contains his collection of over 1100 varieties of roses!

'Face of Peace' is a bronze WW1 memorial, created  by artist Margriet Windhausen, with a carved bird in the centre to represent flight and freedom.

This was a map with numbers and corresponding plaques describing the different countries' roles in WW1.

We had half a day to spare so we drove the extra hour down to Oamaru. The town is famous for it’s colonies of… wait for it… yes penguins! But we sadly realised that they only come out after dark and the 'powers at be' have set it up so that you have to pay for a special tour so we decided to come back another time and do it properly. We had a leisurely walk around the town (that is until my sandal broke!) but the weather had worsened so after marvelling at all the architecture we got a hot drink inside the newly furbished café on the sea front, The Galley. 

The town had a Victorian charm to it and I enjoyed imagining living life next to the sea and the railway. The author Janet Frame used to live here in Eden Street but again, we didn’t manage to see the house as it had closed by the time we got there. I was glad to get a feel for the place in which she grew up at least.

Whitestone buildings are famous in Oamaru for their dazzling appearance! The rock is easily quarried local limestone, which hardens with time and weathering. The well known architect Thomas Forrester designed many Victorian buildings in the area.

We got a $5 dominoes pizza (about £2.50 – for a whole pizza, not just a slice!) back in Timaru and Will got chatting to a guy waiting next to him. He talked about our walk to the Hooker Glacier and the man surprised us both by saying it wasn’t what it used to be! I can’t imagine it being any more beautiful! We stocked up on drink (and chocolate of course!) and cozied up in the cabin to watch LOTR 2, as we’d watched number 1 just before we began our road trip.

We bought our croissant breakfast at Pak n Save where Will ‘delighted’ me with his impression of the stick man in the tv ads.

It seemed to take a while to get back to Christchurch but maybe that was just because I got us a teeny bit lost, only a couple of times though! We returned the hire car and looked up our accommodation, The All Stars Inn on Bealey Ave, which we booked last minute but it was probably the nicest of the places we booked ourselves. The double room was a great size with space to hang clothes and a desk. There was a tv and towels were provided at no extra charge, unlike Timaru. 

We enjoyed this LOTR print!

We walked back into town and toured around the botanical gardens – think I’m obsessed with taking photos of flowers now!

All Stars is plonked right next door to a Speights Ale House and someone had posted some free beer vouchers under our door so it seemed only fitting to order some drinks in that evening! The take-away menu inside our room seemed reasonable but when we got to the bar the menu was much more restauranty (including the prices!) I enquired and the guy produced the take-away menu. When I asked the obvious question of ‘so does that mean we have to take the food away?’ he replied that we could eat at the bar but that the food would come in polystyrene boxes! My chicken schnitzel, which clearly wasn’t going to be the best food in the world was soft and certainly filled a hole.  We ventured back to Speights in the morning for brekkie; Will got the continental and I chose scrambled egg on toast, which turned out to be fried bread that wasn’t really fried all that well but for $5 you can’t really complain!

As we sat at the boarding gate, both with the case of holiday blues already, we said to each other how focused we were going to be to work hard, save money and come back for a longer trip. We loved the South Island and can’t wait to tour it again.

The flight back was a little bumpy and I found myself letting out little whimpering noises that I didn’t mean to escape. But we got a free cookie again so it was all good really!

No comments:

Post a Comment