We are leaving behind the snow capped mountains of the south and the magnificent turquoise lakes and heading north once again. Hopefully back into some warmer weather!
We set out from Tekapo on a very misty morning. How very glad we were that the previous day had cleared and allowed for our helicopter flight. No helicopter would be flying in this peasouper – in fact it was even difficult driving as the mist and fog were so thick you could only see about 50 metres in front of you. Everywhere else was a white, misty world.
Finally, the mist lifted and we found ourselves travelling through rolling plains before descending into the Rakaia Gorge with its steep sides and turquoise waters.
Once past the gorge the river valley became broad and the river sluggish, running between rounded river stones. The breadth of the river when in full flow would be impressive.
The road then ran into a more rugged region with twisting roads and some beautiful scenery. Is there anywhere in NZ which is not scenic? Not that we have so far seen.
We broke our journey north at Murchison, a small rural town but one which is the centre of outdoor adventure style activities. Fishing, white water rafting, kayaking, cycling, jet boating, heli tours, comet line rides, gold panning, bush and earthquake fault-line walks: you name it, you can do it!
We went for a short walk through the town, passing a pretty old church and a fabulously creative and eco-friendly letterbox, before wandering along the Murchison River (it had been a long day’s drive and we needed to stretch the legs).
Then it was off to the local pub for a whisky and beer sitting outside and watching the motorhomes go by. Having finished our drinks and thinking about heading back to the accommodation, we discovered that Frances and Lindsay, having had the same idea about having a quick drink before dinner, were, in fact, sitting at a table at the same pub but just around the corner! So, a quick decision was made: off to the local restaurant for the recommended pizza for dinner. And yes, the pizzas were very good (sorry, the food went too quickly to take a picture of the actual pizzas) and the ambience, dining in the garden surrounded by fruit trees heavily laden with various types of fruit, was terrific. Just a very relaxing and enjoyable end to a beautiful day’s drive.
The next day was a much shorter drive out to the coast to Kaiteriteri. The landscape altered again on this drive but for much of it we were aware of the extent of the forestry industry in New Zealand. It is one of the top three industries here and we travelled through extensive pine forests in various stages of being logged or regrowing.
Then it was onto the coast where we were greeted by the sandy beaches of Kaiteriteri which is a very popular summer beach resort in the Marlborough Sound. We located our accommodation, a rather charming cottage high on the hill overlooking the town, and settled in for the next couple of nights.