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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

28th September – Old Dogs, Children and Water Melon Wine

We left South Island for the last time this holiday, and I hope to return one day should I be fortunate to get a well-paid job. Its so many countries in one small island, but there’s so much to see and do that has yet to be done, maybe I will return one day to spend time in Abel Tasman Park, Marlborough, and a renewed Christchurch. Unbelievably, we had been put on the10.30 crossing that was full when I tried to book, and so we were to do the journey in daylight. The weather was sunny, with no wind, so the crossing from Picton to Wellington was like crossing a millpond – it can be incredibly choppy.

The ferry crossing was another highlight of the trip, as the hills of the South Island provided the backdrop to the crossing. I spoke to a woman on the top deck. They were from Wombourne and their sons played for Dudley Kinsgwinford and had visited Burton. They also has a brother who worked at Bullivant’s – which was where W was returning to work, and P’s dad worked – small world – and there we were discussing Bullivant’s take over by the French company 12,000 miles from home.

Wildlife was in short supply, on the crossing, until a school of about 5 dolphins swam past about an hour from Wellington. Of course they wouldn’t pose, so you will just have to take my word for it. It really is a beautiful trip on a sunny day, and must be one of the most picturesque in the world. It was a relaxing 3 hours out on deck, but all good things come to an end and we hit the road again for the fourth day.

Whilst there have been some stunning stop offs, Fox Glacier, Pancake Rocks, Cloudy Bay, Buller, and the ferry trip, it was back into the camper on the road trip to Auckland. With the North island being more populous, at least there was more than one channel, and I found one that had loads of cheesy songs on – anyone remember Roger Whittaker – The Last Farewell – still over a month before ‘I see the mists of England again.’ It passed the three further hours on the road a lot quicker, passing through a town called Bulls – where the strapline under the city sign stated that ‘it was the town where nothing was Impossibull’, onto Wanganui. I am fed up of the camper van, and can’t wait to Auckland where there is two days without driving.

I hadn’t really researched Wanganui when planning the trip. Being on the earlier ferry had meant that I was aiming to get to Stratford to do the ‘Forgotten Highway’ route, but we need to catch those 4 hours up, and so it’s straight to Waitomo tomorrow. Wanganui is a market town, with three main streets servicing well kept housing estates (estates is the wrong word, as the houses are very individual) In the centre, there are fine examples of Art Deco and Victorian colonial – with palm trees lining the pavements. With a sunny evening, it felt like a holiday. Well worth a stop off, if the route from Wellington to Taupo and Rotoroa in one day.

The camp site was alongside a racecourse, which brought back memories again of staying in the jockey quarters at Hamilton Racecourse, a subject of an earlier blog, where the coach got stuck in the mud, and when fetching the fire brigade out, the station master was a mistress – no hoses and poles there to excite us ladies.

Old dogs, Children and Water Melon Wine is an old and cheesy Country and Western song – don’t know by who  - Hank Willaims perhaps? Came on the radio and made a pleasant change from hearing Adele – as brilliant as she is, hearing the same three songs by her at least twice a day has made me fed up of her, and this load of twaddle, along with some Motown, Roger Whittaker and Ike and Tina Turner made a nice change.

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