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From: Victor Catchpoole
Sent: Tuesday, December 26, 2000 9:53 AM
Subject: New Zealand Itinerary
Anne, Victor's Mother
Dear Mum and Graham,
Here is the updated version of our New Zealand Itinerary. I hope you enjoy reading it as it took me ages to write it.
The author takes no responsibility for any heartache caused to readers who may
wish to be back in New Zealand.
1st December 2000.
from Portland to Sydney.
with Roslyn who will drive us to Sydney Airport on Saturday.
2nd December 2000.
Depart Sydney on Qantas flight 43 to Auckland.
Arrive Auckland and picked up the rental car.
Auckland from One Tree Hill Lookout at night.
at Tudor Court Motor Lodge, Auckland.
3rd December 2000.
Auckland from One Tree Hill Lookout (Daytime). As a protest, the local Maori
recently killed the One Tree, which
was subsequently cut down by the council. So it is now a no tree hill.
around the city and over the Harbour bridge.
the Sky Tower to see the view, "From sea to shining sea."
down to Pokeno on Highway 1, then across to Thames on the Coromandel Peninsula.
Here we were in time to watch their annual Christmas street parade.
up to the Kauaeranga Valley where I did the 8 hour walk to the Pinnacle
(returning via Billygoat Basin) in 3 hours 20 minutes. From the top of
the Pinnacle, the view was fantastic over the east coast.
for a swim in Hoffman's Pool (in the river) to cool off.
Stayed at the Huia Lodge in Kauaeranga Valley.
4th December, 2000.
the Butterfly and Orchid Garden at Thames. The garden was in a glass house.
The garden and butterflies were beautiful, but it was so hot and humid in there,
I had to keep coming out into the fresh air to recover.
south to Matatoki Farm Cheese and tried some of the local cheeses.
make a sheep Gouda, which tastes just like Kraft Cheddar. My favourite was the
Coromandel Blue, which was very mild for a blue vein cheese.
continued south to Paeroa, where we took some photos with the big L&P
Bottle. I made some enquires at the local Visitors Centre and discovered that
L&P is not actually made using Paeroa spring water any more. Sorry to
disappoint you Mum, but it is made from tap water in Auckland.
here we drove east to Waihi, and then followed the coast south to Te Puke. Here
we bought some lovely fresh fruit before heading inland and to Rotorua. All the
farms here (and in many other areas) are protected from the wind by tall hedges.
Rotorua we went for a swim at the Polynesian Spa. This complex has two separate
types of spring water. One is the cloudy, acid water of the Radium and Priest
Springs. These springs feed several pools ranging in temperature from a warm 33°C,
up to 44°C, which is just bearable. The other type of water is a soft alkaline
water at a comfortable 38°C. But Heather discovered that the alkaline water
turns silver jewellery black (temporarily). Hence the warning signs to remove
Stayed at the Santa Maria Motel, Rororua.
5th December, 2000.
to Lake Okareka and past the Blue and Green Lakes to the Buried Village. Here we
went on a guided tour and learnt some interesting Maori history about the place.
The village had a beautiful trout filled stream, ending in a 15 metre water
back into Rotorua for a guided tour of the "Te Whakarewarewa tanga o te ope
taua a wahiao" Thermal Village. Here we saw boiling mud, geysers and a
cultural show. All very interesting.
night we were picked up from our motel by bus, for a tour and show at the Tamaki
Maori Village. This was also very educational and entertaining. By this time we
knew all we wanted to about the Maori culture.
at the Santa Maria Motel, Rotorua.
6th December, 2000.
Rotorua and drove south to Taupo, past the Ohaaki Geothermal Power Station, and
onto Napier. From here we went through Hastings and Waipukurau to Woodville.
Here we saw a group of wind generators on the hill tops.
continued south, stopping at the Mt Bruce National Wildlife Centre. Here
we saw some live Kiwi birds in their simulated nocturnal habitat.
then drove onto Wellington, where we had a ride on the Cable Car, and
saw the night lights from the Victoria Lookout.
at the Newlands Court Motel, Wellington.
7th December, 2000.
New Zealand's Parliament House, "The Beehive."
Mt Victoria Lookout for the daytime view.
the Te Papa museum. They had some wonderful displays there, including many art
works. I loved the 1970's era Holden, clad in rusty corrugated iron.
Departed on the interislander ferry "Aratere" (quick path) to travel
the 69km to Picton.
Arrive at Picton after a scenic trip through the sounds.
to Blenheim and continued south along the coast. The scenery here of brown
pastures was very dull, until we reached the town of Kaikoura. This town is on a
small bay surrounded by green hills and tall snow capped mountains. This is the
post card scenery of the South Island, of which I will never tire.
needed a hair cut, so I let Barbara shave my head. She had been pestering me for
years to allow her to do this. (By the time I return to work on the 22nd
December, it should have grown back to normal. She also talked me into growing a
goatee beard, which I shaved off the day I returned to work.)
at the Lobster Inn Motor Lodge, Kaikoura (with spa bath).
8th December 2000.
the Kaikoura seal colony, but only saw some seals in the distance.
road south of Kaikoura hugs the coast. Whilst driving along here we saw dolphins
swimming in the ocean. We also saw seals on the rocky beach and stopped to take
a photo. We got within 10 metres of the seals. The recommended safe distance.
continued along to Christchurch where we visited the Antarctic Centre. One
of the features here was a room that simulated antarctic conditions, with snow
and ice. The temperature was -5°C and the visitors were supplied with warm
coats before entering. We all thought that it was just like being back in
Portland in winter.
the city we climbed the bell tower of the Christchurch Cathedral to see the
view. I loved the narrow winding stone staircase of the bell tower. I will have
to build one at home. "And one more leading nowhere just for show."
south of Christchurch is the main harbour for the area at Lyttleton. Here we
visited the historic Timeball Tower. The Time Ball was used in days gone by to
allow ships in port to accurately set their chronometers. This was
vital to navigation at sea in those days.
night Heather and I went to a Christmas Concert at the Christchurch Cathedral.
They had a choir, a chamber orchestra and a brass band, who did a few items
each. It was quite good, but not Christmas Carols as we had expected.
at the Gothic Heights Motel, Christchurch.
9th December 2000.
south, stopping at the Ashburton community markets for breakfast.
south we stopped for lunch at the town of Oamaru, where we sampled some of the
local boutique cheeses.
were disappointed at Dunedin because we could not tour the Cadbury Chocolate
Factory there. So we continued south to Balclutha, west to Gore, and south to
Invercargill. Here the sun sets at 8:30pm this time of year, but the twilight
lasts until 10:30pm. So we had plenty of time to go for a walk through the park
and view the historic brick water tower.
at the Townsman Motor Lodge, Invercargill.
10th December, 2000.
south to Stirling Point at Bluff. The southern most town on the South Island.
Here they have one of those signposts with many arms, telling you how many
thousand kilometres to various places around the world.
here we drove back towards Invercargill, and then east and south to Slope Point.
This point is even further south than the town of Bluff. Yes, there is another
sign post here. Equator 5140km, South Pole 4803km. I climbed down the cliffs to
have a swim in the Southern Ocean, which was quite cold.
then drove north east to the Catlins Forest Park area, where we visited McLean
Falls. These are beautiful waterfalls, so I went for a swim to have my photo
taken under the falls. This was colder than the ocean, even painful. But it was
worth it, as we got some lovely photos.
then realised that we had come a lot further than I expected and the petrol tank
on the car was getting very low. Fortunately there was a general store at
Papatowai, where we bought some petrol. We then had a walk on Tautuku Beach
before returning to Invercargill via a back road through Wyndham. That night we
ate at Macdonalds and went to the movies to see "Chicken Run", which I
at Monarch Motel, Invercargill.
11th December, 2000.
west along the coast to Te Waewae, then north to Te Anau. Its lovely by the lake
at Te Anau, surrounded by snow capped mountains. Yes, I did go for a swim, just
to get another photo, and it was very cold.
were in Te Anau by lunch time and we were planning to stay the night, so we had
a leisurely lunch at "The Ranch", one of the local restaurants. (We
usually just get takeaway food, which the kids prefer and is more economical.)
We then spent the afternoon looking around the souvenir shops
and booked into a motel. This motel had a spa bath, and when it was filled, the
water was a beautiful blue colour.
at the Lakeview Motel, Te Anau.
12th December, 2000.
down to Milford Sound through the 1.2km long Homer Tunnel. Just before the
tunnel we went for a walk in the snow. The scenery here is absolutely
breathtaking. Every corner you go around opens up a new panorama with snow-capped
mountains, wreathed in waterfalls. There are cars pulled over everywhere just to
look at the view. It took us most of the day just to drive 144km, due to
frequent stopping. 5:00pm At Milford Sound we departed on an overnight cruise
aboard the Milford Wanderer. This boat cruised below waterfalls, against sheer
cliffs rising 2000 metres to the snow. We saw some seals resting on the rocks
and others playing in the water with the dolphins. There were also kayaks that
the passengers could use when the ship was at anchor. The ship carried 60
passengers, and we had a small compartment with 4 bunk beds and a port hole just
above the water line.
onboard the Milford Wanderer on Milford Sound.
13th December, 2000.
onboard the ship and a leisurely cruise back to the wharf past more seals,
dolphin and waterfalls.
Arrive back at the wharf.
back to Te Anau (the only way out) then up towards Queenstown, with lunch at
Athol along the way.
Queenstown ride the exciting Shotover Jet Boat and go up in the Gondolas to see
the view. No time to stop the night as we have to get to Franz Josef Glacier the
next day. Leave Queenstown and drive to Wanaka.
at Alpine Motel, Wanaka.
14th December, 2000.
Puzzling World at Wanaka. Here they have a huge maze to walk through and a
gallery with holograms and other interesting visual effects. There is also a
room with many different types of puzzles to work at. There were a lot of
puzzles there that I had never seen before. Unfortunately we could not stay long
as we had to be at Franz Josef by 1:30pm.
Wanaka there is more beautiful scenery past Lake Wanaka, Lake Hawea and down
through the Mount Aspiring National Park to Haast Village on the coast.
here we drove north along the coast. Even through the pouring rain the view was
Franz Josef we went to the Guide's office and were supplied with all the
necessary equipment. Waterproof walking boots, thick woollen socks, steel talons
to clamp onto the boots, a gortex rain jacket, woollen gloves and a walking
pole. From here we were taken the 5km to the glacier access road, by bus. Then
we walked the 2km to the glacier, before the climbing began.
we had the steel talons clamped to the boots it was very easy to walk on the
ice. In the steep sections, the guides had cut steps in the ice to make climbing
easier. The ice is white on top, but a beautiful blue colour down inside where
we walked through the crevasses. We were very lucky, because when we arrived at
the glacier the rain stopped. There was even some patches of sunshine in places.
This was one of the highlights of our trip.
returning from the glacier we drove on to Hokitika, where we stayed the night in
a modern log cabin by the beach. It was lovely to hear the waves pounding on the
beach as we lay in our beds.
at Shining Star Log Chalets, Hokitika.
15th December, 2000.
Jade Factories, Glass Blowing, Jewellery and craft shops at Hokitika.
the way to Greymouth, near Arahura, we passed over some long one lane bridges
that also carried a railway track.
Greymouth we stopped at KFC for lunch, but the service was so bad that I walked
out. This was fortunate, because further up the coast we stopped at
"Darcy's Buffalo Bar and Grill for lunch." This new restaurant has a
beautiful view over the ocean and along the coast.
leaving Darcy's we arrived at the Punakaiki Blowholes just in time for the high
tide. The blowhole was quite spectacular, in amongst an aptly named rock
formation, called Pancake Rocks. There are also limestone caves in the
area which we did not have time to visit.
continued driving north along the coast to Westport, before turning inland to
Murchison. From here we headed north to Motueka, where we were back on the
coast. It was quite a change driving through these fertile farmlands, after
spending days travelling along the rugged and beautiful west coast. From Motueka
we headed east to Nelson.
at Tudor Lodge Motel, Nelson.
16th December 2000.
followed the coast road from Nelson around to Picton. The section from Havelock
to Picton was particularly beautiful with views across the sounds.
arrived in Picton in time to see the interislander ferry the "Aratere"
dock, followed by the high speed "Lynx" catamaran.
Depart Picton on Lynx. This was a very comfortable ferry, which felt more like
being in an aeroplane. The only difference was that there were no seat belts.
Again we enjoyed the beautiful scenery around the sounds as we left the South
Arrive Wellington. Here we visited the Te Papa museum again, as we did not have
enough time to see everything on our last visit.
to the east around Wellington Harbour to the Rimutaka Forest Park. Here we
visited the Catchpoole Valley and I walked the Orongorongo track, returning via
the Cattle Ridge Track and Butcher Track. In half the recommended time of
course. The brochure said that "this is one of New Zealand's finest
conservation areas and most popular walks."
at the Foreshore Motor Lodge, Petone.
17th December, 2000.
shopping at the Lower Hut Mall before meeting Fred and Marjory Johnson, and
their daughter Linda. They had invited us to lunch at the Cobb & Co
lunch we travelled north to Upper Hutt, where we saw a set for the movie
"The Lord Of The Rings". This is reputed to be the most expensive film
ever made. From here we headed to Porirua and then north along the coast.
stopped at the Lindale Tourist Complex for Ice Cream, but were pleasantly
surprised by the range and quality of the other shops there. They also sold the
locally made Kapiti Cheese. There was a lolly shop, a honey shop, an olive
shop, a woodcraft shop all with a vast range of quality merchandise.
little further up the road we stopped at a farmgate fruit shop. Here we bought
fresh raspberries, loganberries, blackberries and boysenberries.
booked into a motel at Levin. The motel had a spa bath, but it also has a
railway track just outside the bedroom window. Fortunately there were not too
many trains that night. Before night fall we drove to Waiterere Beach.
we drove along the beach to the wreck of the sailing ship, the
"Hydrabad", and watched the sun go down over the Tasman Sea. Something
that you will never see from Australia.
at Bassingers Motor Lodge, Levin.
18th December, 2000.
from Levin, through Shannon and Foxton Beach to Bulls. Heather got her photo
taken beside the "Welcome To Shannon" sign for her dog, Shannon. We
had lunch and then looked around the craft shops of Bulls.
to Palmerston North to visit Barbara and Fred Setter. Barbara suggested that we
go for a drive to see the beautiful grounds of their Massey University. Then we
drove on through the gorge to Woodville to see the wind generators,
before returning to the Setter's home via Pahiatua.
with the Setter's, Palmerston North.
19th December, 2000.
north west to Wanganui and on to Opunake Beach, near Mt Egmont. At the end of the
beach was a small shed that houses a small 365kW hydro-electric generator. We
then followed the coast around Mt Egmont to New Plymouth, where
we stopped for lunch. We did not get to see Mt Egmont as it was shrouded in
cloud. Near New Plymouth we briefly stopped to see the visitor's information at
the Methanex petro-chemical plant. It was very impressive. Here
they convert the abundant natural gas into unleaded petrol for domestic use and
methanol for export.
continued along the coast to Awakino, then inland to Te Kuiti and the Waitomo
Caves. We did the limestone cave tour, which ends in the boat ride through the
glowworm grotto. The ceiling is covered in glowworms and it is like
looking up into the night sky.
here we followed Highway 3 to Hamilton, then Highway 1 back to Auckland.
at the Dilworth Motel, Auckland.
20th December, 2000.
drove into the city centre to do some shopping then stopped to see The Grinch
movie. I enjoyed the movie. It's a good story and the movie was well produced.
Returned the rental car.
Board Qantas Flight 44 to Sydney.
Arrive Sydney Airport where we were picked up by Roslyn and Richard.
with Roslyn and Richard at Parramatta.
21st December 2000.
shopping at Penrith.
Dental appointment for check-up.
22nd December 2000.
Car into Wallerawang to have the air conditioner repaired.
Ride bicycle to work.
23rd December 2000.
Ride bicycle home.
Ride bicycle to work.
24th December 2000.
Ride bicycle home.
Roslyn and Richard arrived with the seafood for dinner.
25th December 2000.
Ride bicycle to work.
Roslyn and Richard returned to Parramatta.
Ride bicycle home. Merry Christmas.
rental car 5,572 km.
aeroplane 4,322 km.
Total 10,032 km.
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