Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Experiencing Queenstown

On our first day in Queenstown we chose to experience the high of the mountain top and the calm of the lake.

Our view over breakfast

The mountain top is accessed by the Skyline Queenstown Gondola - the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere.  Great views all the way up (and down).  Patrick loved it.  At the top they provide many Adventure experiences, but we chose to only take the obligatory photos and eat; except for Ben who enjoyed a run on the Luge.

This is a view of our accommodation.  We are in the row of 4 - second from the right.
The road leading up is VERY steep.

When we came back down to reality, we took a cruise on Lake Wakatipu.  
The lake is the longest in New Zealand (80kms) and the third largest and is surrounded by mountains.  The Remarkables lie along the south eastern edge.

The Remarkables in the background 

A glacial mountain in the distance 

The boys enjoying themselves at the front of the boat

Tomorrow we head to Wanaka.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Road Trip

Today we bade farewell to Timaru and Annabelle's aunt and uncle, Anne and Colin.  Thank you so much for welcoming me as family.

We headed for Queenstown via Tekapo.  It wasn't long before we could see the first mountain range in the distance - with a long white cloud covering the middle third.  It was a great sight.  From that time on it seemed like we were surrounded by mountains, all looking equally magnificent; including Mt Dobson.

Lake Tekapo was - as all the lakes we saw along the way - stunningly blue and very scenic.

The Church of the Good Shepherd is a small bluestone chapel on the shores of the Lake. Worship is conducted there at 4pm each Sunday.  We were there around midday, but with the sun lower in the sky I think that the view from the pews would be even more distracting.

After lunch we continued on. We stopped at Lake Pukaki where we got a great view of Mt Cook, complete with snow caps - in Summer!.  The sun was still fairly high in the sky and everything seemed to be so blue, but it was magnificent.

We continued on past distant mountain ranges that looked like they were covered with velvet, those that were closer that looked naked,those  that came right up to the road covered in varying shades of green and yet others that bore stunning rocky outcrops.  It was a long trip, but by no means boring.

We eventually arrived in Queenstown at around 6pm. Tired from the journey but blown away by the view that we encountered from of our living room windows.

I am finding it hard to fathom that we are in another country, but eagerly await all that we will experience in the next few days.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Observations (1)

It is to be expected that there are differences in the way different cultures go about things and what particular things are called or referred to.  I have only been here a couple of days but some differences I have observed already.

  • The names for ice cream flavours - see last entry
  • Supermarket chains.
    Countdown is the equivalent of our Woolworths (Safeway)
    New World is the equivalent of our Coles
    Also, alcohol is displayed for sale in the regular aisles - not in a separate section to the side.
  • Milk is either 'standard' (full cream) or 'trim' (low fat)
  • Take away coffee/tea cup sizes - at the coffee shop we went to yesterday the largest was called a 'supermodel'.
    I was also asked how many shots I would like in my cappuccino and today at lunch I was asked if i wanted chocolate or cinnamon on top.
  • All 3 houses that we have visited are situated on 'legin' blocks.  We know these as 'battle-axe' blocks.  The house is situated behind another house but is on a full size block with their own driveway and full street number.  In our travels around Timaru I have noted that this is very common.
I am sure that I will observe many more familiar things done or understood differently as we travel down to Queenstown this week.

Rock carving in the Timaru City Centre

L&P - Lemon and Paeroa
Very refreshing

Tomorrow we venture down to Queenstown taking the scenic route via Tekapo (where, if the weather is kind to us we may be able to see Mt Cook).

Saturday, 25 February 2017


After arriving in Christchurch at around 2.30pm local time yesterday, getting through Customs, then finding out that the car Ben hired was not there (at all) and arranging one with another company, we finally got away from the airport at around 5.00pm for the 2 hour drive to Timaru.  We arrived at Annabelle's aunt's home around 7.00pm and were greeted with a lovely meal including 'Hokey Pokey' (honeycomb) and 'Goody Goody Gumdrops' (mint and lollies) ice-cream for dessert.
Today we visited the town centre which is located on Caroline Bay.  We also visited Annabelle's childhood home, which just happens to be for sale, so we went to the Open Home which was a good chance for her to look around and make a video for the family back in Australia.  We then spent some time with Annabelle's grandmother who was very excited to see Patrick after 2 years.  
I also got my first taste of Lolli-cake.  I have heard a lot about this creation which is one of Annabelle's favourites.  It was very yummy.

The Path through the reserve that leads to the beach (Caroline Bay)
from the Piazza in the Timaru town centre.

Patrick and I standing under the 'Face of Peace'
(just to prove I am actually here)

Friday, 24 February 2017

Kia ora

My first glimpse of New Zealand. 

Thursday, 23 February 2017

My bags are packed....

My bags are packed and I’m ready to go.
They’re waiting here at my front door and I can’t wait to start out on my way.

When the dawn is breaking in the early dawn
I’ll go where I’ve ne’er been before and wave good bye to this life for a while.

‘Cause I’m leaving on a jet plane…..

(apologies to John Denver)

Friday, 17 February 2017


I have embarked on a series of firsts:

I applied for my first passport.
I organised my first travel money card.
I received my first international airline ticket.

I am going overseas for the very first time - just a short hop over 'The Ditch' to the South Island of New Zealand with my son and his family, visiting Timaru and Queenstown.

The countdown is on...