jan&ericNZtripNov2009April2010 travel blog

Aerial view of country between Motueka and Takaka

"Coffee Boat"

Morris Minor Van advertising coffee!!

Our spot at port Pohara--we are on far right

Our View at Port Pohara

Seal family at Cape Farewell

Sheep at Cape Farewell

Water Caves at Cape Farewell

Jan along the narrow water walkway at Hydroelectric Plant

Two hundred meter pipe to the electrical generator

We hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas and are still enjoying the holidays.

After our visit to Abel Tasman Park, we returned to Motueka on December 21 and again stayed at the RSA place. This time there were two other RVs parked there. One left early in the morning, but we got acquainted with the other couple. Bill and Nan have been full timing for the past year. They had owned a farm so through the years have been very busy with little time for vacations. After Nan had some health problems they decided that they would live one of their dreams of exploring New Zealand. They have a RV built in Europe. It’s larger than the one we have here, but of course not as big as the one we own in the US. On December 23 we ended up deciding to go to Pohara together. The Boat Club there lets RVers stay for two nights for a donation. It’s right on the Wainui Bay, so we had a beautiful view from our home. The port master came over on our second day and told us that we could stay as long as we’d like. He was leaving for the holidays and another man would be coming after Boxing Day. We all decided that would make life easier rather than trying to find a place on Christmas Day. Nan and I had both shopped while we were in Motueka, so we were prepared for our meals since we were far from any stores.

Near the boats opposite where we were staying we heard that someone was selling coffee, so we decided to see if that was true. We found a young guy in an old Jacques Cousteau boat! His sign said closed but when he knew he had likely customers turned it over! Sounds as if he might be living in the boat (no motor, so it is stationary). His advertising billboard is a written sign on an old English Morris van from the 40s or 50s. I’m sure Eric will include a photo of this!

We mainly hung out here, visiting with Bill and Nan, who are filled with stories and information about New Zealand. We had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner with them. Nan is from Danish descent so has traditionally had their main celebration on Christmas Eve.

We all decided to leave on Boxing Day. Eric thought that meant that everyone boxes up their presents and ornaments after Christmas—logical?! However, Nan found the history of the day in the newspaper. It seems that in the early English days the wealthy landlords would box up things for their servants and send them off for the day after Christmas. Guess it was like their Christmas bonus. We headed farther north and went to Cape Farewell, driving part of the way on a gravel road. We walked to the top of the hill and looked down on a few seals, including a couple of babies, and around the hillside where sheep were grazing. It was a little cloudy so our view of the Farewell Spit was not as clear as it might have been. We understand that on a clear day you can even see the North Island. That night we found a place at Port Puponga (don’t you just love the Maori names!) that was right along an estuary. In the end several other groups of tourists in vans joined us. I even met another woman from the Czech Republic! She lives here now and after her holiday she will return to her current job of thinning apples!!

The next morning it looked pretty cloudy so Eric and I decided that perhaps it was time for us to move on or we’d never get to see all that we want to! We left our new friends and headed south to see Pupu Springs, the largest freshwater springs in NZ and reputedly the clearest in the world. About 14,000 litres of water a second is thrown up from a number of underground vents. This is an area that is very sacred to the Maori people so you aren’t allowed to even touch the water. Eric noticed the sign pointing out the hydroelectric water system down the road, so we again drove on a gravel road(Eric had said he’d never drive on a gravel road—reminds him of West Virginia/Southeastern Ohio!). We ended up taking the two hour walk up the hill where the water has been funneled around the hill. The system was begun as a way mining for gold by water blasting years ago, then in 1929 it was turned into an electric plant. It either closed or nearly did in the 80s when a small group of people decided to reactivate it. It still continues to provide electricity to the area. It turned out to be a pleasant day so we really enjoyed the walk. We stopped at Takaka hoping to see an artist shop (there are lots of artists in the area) but because it was Sunday(we lose track of the day of the week so easily!) it had closed early! We did get an ice cream cone and as we were walking down the street we heard a honking sound! It was Nan and Bill! So we visited with them again before leaving Takaka.

We ended up driving south of Motueka to a little town of Tapawera where we noticed that there was a RV park that was suppose to be very friendly to NZMCA members (we joined this group before we came over here), so we called to see if we could get in. Turns out that the owners are from England who came over for a vacation six years ago and decided that they’d like to raise their children here. They sold their house, bought a motorhome, traveled around the two islands and found this park! That was four years ago! We really like to “freedom camp” –boondocking to RVers in the US, but every so often it’s nice to have a real shower, etc. Luckily we can get on the internet here so we can catch up on our emails and send off this note to all of you. Thankfully the owner let us use our Verizon card which we brought from the US for emergencies so that I could call my Mom who ended up in the hospital over Christmas. It was good to hear her voice and to know that she is doing better.

We probably won’t be writing until after the first of the year, so here’s wishing all of you a very blessed and wonderful new year! Can you believe that it’ll be 2010!!!

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