Around the World in 69 Days travel blog

Rowan trees above Hamner Springs

Alec went around the corner too quick and encountered a creeper

Bungy jumping from here, and jet boating

Leo and Bev - great hosts !

On the deck with Leo

View up to Leo and Bev's house at top of hill

Great start to the day with a walk up the mountain, alongside a babbling brook and surrounded (not exaggerating here) by Rowan trees in full red berry livery. Had the place entirely to ourselves and a view behind us of the plain and beyond that yet more mountains; add some birdsong and oxygen and (well, you get the picture)

Stopped at Mud House for a good sampling of Reislings and Pinot Noirs (and a 2 minute silence one week after the earthquake)

Skirted Christchurch and drove over the Canterbury Plain – not very exciting, but this is when you appreciate the campervan benefit of just stopping for a cup of tea when you feel like it ! Our target = Timaru; hadn’t heard of it before but it is quite large town with its own grand basilica and many more churches – clearly prosperous from times of sheep originally and, more recently, dairy cattle which now totally dominate the agriculture in the area. Actually, we were aiming a bit further on, through St Andrews (and yes, it does have a golf course and it is windy!) and then along a very sparsely populated road in the Esk Valley looking for the house of Bobby’s brother Leo and Beverley.

To say their house is ‘secluded’ would be an understatement of English proportions – once we established that we must have found the entrance to their drive, our camper had to negotiate an incredibly steep approach (1st gear stuff) then over a cattle grid and up a hairpin section to their house. Well, the view from there is amazing; they were successful Zimambwe farmers who left with nothing, and clearly were looking for an expanse of view along the same lines they had then. Their hospitality was fantastic and we spent a couple of hours in their hot tub on the deck, sipping pinot noir and staring at the incredible southern night sky chock full of stars whilst they told us the tale of their persecution by Mugabe (who took their farm for himself personally) and the amazing support they got from people they didn’t know once they arrived in New Zealand.

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