Category Archives: New Zealand

Final days in New Zealand – Arthur’s Pass, Castle Hill

Drove from Dunedin through Arthur’s Pass in the centre of the South Island to stay at another Wilderness Lodge.What a glorious part of the country.Braided rivers, more boulders at Castle Hill (I’m getting a bit of a thing about boulders), lovely flora and fauna – really hard to finally leave what must be one of the most wonderful landscapes I’ve ever visited. 

You Kiwis are right – you live in scenic paradise – and you keep that quiet so that it remains that way. Good on you – smart move:)

Arthur”S Pass Wilderness Lodge where I stayed for a couple of days including the braided river.

The Castle Hill Boulders – definitely a place to shoot a movie

Flora around Wilderness Lodge.

Dunedin – a touch of Scotland in New Zealand and we experience “Steampunk” in Oamuru

I quite liked Dunedin. It is very Scottish – buildings look similar and there are a lot of churches – in fact we stayed at a great hotel called Brothers which is opposite the cathedral pictured and used to be the home of the Catholic brothers. No ghosts seen but rumour has it…..

It is not a very busy place – uni students were only just starting to come in for the start of the year – and as you can see the station is impressive but not very busy. Nevertheless, I liked the movement towards more street art and it did mean that en-route to our last lodge in Arthur’s Pass we got to see two very cool places.

Downtown Dunedin

First stop an hour outside of Dunedin was the Moeraki Boulders – at first they look much smaller than you expect them to be but as I wandered down the beach on a glorious day I became more and more enamoured of them. So here they are.

The Moeraki Boulders including what’s inside if you crack one open.

And finally we stopped at what we thought was the quaint little town of Oamuru – it seems idyllic and quiet but then you find it is the home of STEAMPUNK and you realised that not all towns in New Zealand are what they appear. For the uninitiated Steampunk is …. well an art form, a movement, something to do with using industrial products to make other things – all very weird, wonderful and decidedly quirky. A few tasters below – but I suggest you visit if you ever find yourself in this part of NZ – it is quite an eye opener 

Steampunk centre in Oamuru – not what we were expecting in the apparently sleepy town of Oamuru.

Last NZ post coming soon and then it is off to Tasmania.

New Zealand, Queenstown – I never go jet boating without my Louis – naturally…..

Queenstown – my midlife crisis has been satisfied!
First piece of news is that after 12 years of no driving at all and 21 years of no driving on the left hand side of the road – I actually drove the rental car – (round some very wiggly NZ roads I might add). So it is true – you don’t forget how to do it – but personally I still much prefer to be driven (chauffeurs always welcome) so I can look out of the window. Big thanks to Marjory for sitting next to me and not gripping her chair too often!
But that’s not all – in Queenstown I bought a fab piece of art by a cool local artist – Louise McCrae – who paints abstracts on a large piece of wood, then chops it all up in different widths and sizes and then puts it all back together again in a different form – so real creation, destruction and reconstruction – pretty cool.

Then I went jet-boating – actually second time for me as Nigel and Rae-Ann took me out a few years ago but this time we did some spins too.

I never go jet boating without my LV

Queenstown thrills and food. See that view – I ran off the mountain just above there…..


And for the finale – I ran off the top of the mountain in Queenstown – luckily while attached at a pilot and a parasail. Pretty cool after you actually leave land. Would do it again. Proof to be provided later as pics are all on USB stick. Honest!

Hokitika – can you say it properly?

Second time visit to Hokitika ( we keep trying to pronounce the right way to say this word but even the New Zealander’s are not consistent. “Hoe Ke ticker” is my best phonetic attempt but happy to be corrected again!

View from my bedroom in Hokitika at Rimu Lodge

I am clearly enjoying NZ cuisine too much – here is a before an after of a chair I sat in!

I only sat on it for a minute…..

Last days in Bay of Islands, New Zealand- AND I get my photo taken with a few half naked men!

Once again I went in search of whales and dolphins. What did I see – 4 dolphins and a spray of water in the distance that I was assured was a whale. Hmmmm. The lady who took us out kept talking about the number of times she has seen 200 dolphins swimming together and that they must have decided to take a short holiday! Yeah right – I think it is me as I am never lucky with either dolphin or whale watching but I remain optimistic and keep on trying. Surely one day…..

Had much more success with my walk to the Treaty Ground where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed giving human and land rights to all the local population. It continues to be a living document and is often debated as apparently part of it is open to interpretation – especially as some of the  Maori signed an English translation rather than the version in local language and of course they are not exactly the same. Also got to see a cultural show while there – pretty lively. 

Traditional canoes(longest in the world), The carved house and a bit of a “wow” entry to a private home


Cultural show, a 1/3 scale model of the Endevour and a very friendly duck – and of course ducks were there right at the start of my trip to the Peabody Hotel in Memphis! And that little White House – is part of the “hell hole”!

I also braved the 15 minute ferry to a place which was once described at the “hell hole of the Pacific” due to its success as a trading post and the inevitable pleasures that came with that status. Even Charles Darwin visited and helped fund a church as it was such a dreadful place – which is quite funny given his subsequent theories did not make him popular with the church. Nowadays it is known as Russell and is a sleepy and cute town with 1000 local residents and is mostly famed for the Duke of Marlborough hotel and pub as it was the first officially licensed bar in New Zealand – so it seemed only reasonable that I should have a drink there – which I did together with dinner with some Americans who live there 6 months of the year. One of them, Toni was on my flight from LA to Auckland and I helped her put her luggage in the storage area above her head as she was by her own admission “vertically challenged”. Turned out she was going on to Keri Keri so her husband dropped me off at my hotel and then they invited me over to Russell for dinner – sometimes a good deed gets its rewards. They were delightful people too and love NZ.           

And here’s my final pic from NZ with my new friends – note the warrior effects in first photo and the smilies in the second – great group.        

Me and the Maori performers at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds