Wednesday, December 30, 2009

South Island - Our Intrepid Journey Day 63 – 72 20 – 29 December 2009

Motueka River (McLeans Picnic Area) - Lake Rotoroa -Howard Valley - Lake Rotoiti - Kowhai Point (Wairau River) - Lake Argyle - Blenheim - Springrove - Nelson

Up until now, 29 Dec09 we have been staying in the Tasman / Golden Bay area waiting for friends Mike, Lynne and Harry to arrive.  They cross Cook Strait on 30Dec09 for a six weeks holiday touring the South Island for which we'll join them.  That's why we seem to have visited places more than once, even twice, and only for most often one night.  Later in 2010 we'll revisit places for longer and hopefully get more (and better) pics.  The next blog will start on 30 Dec09 after their arrival and inclusion into our intrepid journey.  Always we take a great many picsof each location but for this segment only show one or two representative pics.  These are some of those taken as we moved through the above locations.  Also we're having a lot of fun 'geocaching' and try to find some at most locations.  If your not sure what we mean check out .   We hope you don't mind seeing pics with 'The Italian Job' in them as after all it's our intrepid journey diary.

South Street in Nelson is one of those streets in the South Island that remains as it was.

Unchanged from when the buildings were oringinally constructed.

On the way out of Nelson we stopped to tour through Broadwood House. Photography was not permitted inside. The house was set up as used by the original owners – google it!

When one travels there are always things that grab your eye.

Like someone who is clever with a chainsaw.

And with a sense of humour.

Kawaiti Junction is actuall a DOC park. We didn’t stay.

But did do the old railway walk. 

That takes you through the old railway tunnel.

Yes there’s light at the other end of the tunnel and this was it.

The old railway is long gone but the remnants remain.

We stayed a night at the Howard Valley Camp Area for a donation.

Where it is a gazetted gold fosisking area for non-mechanical searching like panning. One of those here whilst we were there showed us the gold they had found. Enough for a gold crown for you tooth - yeah right.

Extensive tree planting is evident all through the area.  We did spend a night at Lake Rotoroa but the bad weather and sandflies put a damper on the photography.

From Lake Rotoroa we moved to Lake Rotoiti and as you can see the weather was still somewhat ‘inclement’

However for some it was almost perfect.

The following morning the weather had improved giving us the view towards the head of Lake Rotoiti

One of the very many bush walks.  We were off to look for a geocache on this one.

This is the very start of the Buller River, from Lake Rotoiti.  It sure gets way bigger on its way to the west coast.

Moving on from Lake Rotoiti heading towards Blenheim the next stop was a DOC park beside the Wairau River at Kowhai Point.

Tried fishing but after some rain a day or two ago the river was quite flooded and discoloured.

I'm told by locals that the fishing really comes on when the Ti Tree blooms.  We'll going by this Ti Tree a substantial improvement in the fishing area is somewhat overdue!

Sunrise at Lake Argyle.  We stopped here on the way to and again from Blenheim.  

Lake Argyle is man made and the the level drops by a meter or so each day and it the fills up again over night.  A great place for trout fishing - yes some were caught, they were a good size and in good condition, and yes we both have a licence.

A pic of the Lake argyle power station below the dam where water is available to fill tanks.  Up at the dam itself free power is available.

Each day this gate is automatically raised to allow water flow to generate power and then lowered later in the night to allow the dam to fill up.  The pic doesn't show the real turbulence, not water you would want to fall into.

The tail race from the power station was cleaned out of weed not so long ago with most of the trout caught being put up into the head race to the dam.  From Lake Argyle it was off to Blenheim then back to here.  From the second visit to Lake Argyle we headed to Nelson via Spring Grove again to Nelson for three nights before heading off to Picton on 29Dec09.  We spent Christmas at Nelson with Rob and Jane, yet to show pics, as guests of a wonderful hospitable couple, Hank and Vivien.  We do hope to meet them again sometime in the future.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

South Island - Our Intrepid Journey Day 52 - 58, 9 – 15 December 2009

Motueka RiverMcLeans Picnic Area  – 1 night
Wakefield – Edward Baigent Reserve – 1 nights
Nelson Mitre 10 – 1 nights
Springrove – Drill Hall– 1 night
Nelson City Motor Camp – 3 night

As I had to be back in Nelson to fly to Wellington on business we continued our one nighters working our way back to Nelson.


From the POP at Riwaka just north of Motueka we decided to follow the Motueka River in a roundabout route back to Nelson. 

First night stop was at the McLeans Picnic Area.  This is a free site right by the river where a one night stay is permitted. 

The river was quite low and it was easy to walk a few hundred metres either way.  I did catch a small trout which I let go.

I have subsequently learnt more about trout fishing from Hamill’s Sports in Nelson that should increase my catch rate.


The rest of the period up to day no.56 really didn’t present to many pic opportunities, partly due to locations and again unfortunately bad weather.   The following are some of the pics taken more or less randomly.

For those of you into Geocaching we found this one at Wakefield.  Not our The Italian Job was here…. Sign that we leave.

So what is this tree.  Pic taken at the Founders Park, Nelson.

 We were there for the market.

As were others.

The Founders Park is a replica town.

With all business and industries.  Inside each building was a comprehensive display.

Free coffee and cakes outside the Free Trade Shop in Hardy Street, Nelson.

Time for a nap when the sun came out.

Richmond, south of Nelson, has a very modern shopping area.

 This old building was spotted on a back road just out of Spring Grove.

For those interesting in traveling this park for the night was on a ‘coin donation’.  Nice and quiet.

 We left a salad of carrot tops for the family of rabbits that lived under the Spring Grove Dill Hall.

No this is not a new door for The Italian Job.

Finally getting back to Nelson we parked up at the Nelson City Holiday Park for the for days 56 & 58 as I had to fly to Wellington for a business meeting.  

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

South Island - Our Intrepid Journey Day 45 - 51 2 – 8 December 2009

 Waitapu Bridge – 1 night
Pohara – 2 nights
 (Visited  & fished Anatoki Salmon Farm)
 Patons Rock Steam Museum – 2 nights
Kaiteriteri – 1 night
Riwaka – 1 night

2/3 Dec 09

It was quite late after visiting Pu Pu Springs so we decided to free park beside the Waitapu Bridge on the main road at the Springs turnoff.  Tasman District Council allow two nights for self contained vehicles. The night we stayed apart from us there were nine non SC vehicles!

3 - 5 Dec 09

From Waitapu it was only a few km back to Takaka and then out to Pohara where the boat club is a POP for NZMCA members. $5 / night, $2 showers and $4 each for washing m/c and dryer. 

 The POP is opposite an old abandoned cement works. 

I tried fishing off the break water, more than once, morning and evening, but after shark, shark and more carpet sharks I decided to give it a miss.

 The area is known for its most interesting rock formations.  More pics later.

The evening held promise for the coming next day.          

 The same view the following morning presented the view of the Tekaka Hills in almost a screen print.

5 Dec 09

 During our stay at Pohara we went part the way to the DOC camp at Totaranui stopping at Wainui Bay

It was interesting even though the tide was out. There's actually a DOC trail that cuts across the bay that you can take when the tide is out.

Time for a ‘nap’ in a layby before heading back to Pohara.

5 Dec 09

We learnt that it was half price weekend at the Anatoki Salmon Farm.  For obvious reasons they don't publish it in advance.  It started out as a weekend for the locals.

 They have a special large pond where you catch the salmon. We stopped at . two each.  They stock it with 7,500 for the season.  If all fishing was this easy I would take up knitting.  

If you want they will smoke and vacuum pack for you.  5.98kg of green fish cost us $86 to catch, smoke and vacuum pack.  Catching the salmon takes about 20 mins and the processing 2 hours.

Patons Rock Steam Museum 
5-7 Dec 09

We caught up with another couple, Jane and Rob, we had met earlier at Pohara who had also been to the Anatoki Salmon Farm.  

At the Patton Rock Steam Museum POP.  $2/pers/night + $2 for a shower.

 Great sunset after a day of almost continuous rain.

7 Dec 09

On the 7th we parted to head over the Tekaka Hill but first a visit to a rock formation called ‘The Grove’ just outside Tekaka at Clifton.  A DOC reserve.

Rock formations weren't all that were unusual.

The track through The Grove takes you up to a high platform where the view of Golden Bay is extensive.

7 Dec 09

Many a tight corner in the 26km up and over.  Almost full lock for The Italian Job (Fiat) on the inside corners. 

 Some times the road almost came back on itself.  These were taken by me whilst Raewyn turned the steering wheel - Yeh right!

However the view was worth it.  This is only part way up but at least this crossing we weren’t in the clouds like last time when from bottom to top and down again we couldn't see anything.

7/8 Dec 09
Anyway time to start making our way back to Nelson with a couple of stops on the way.

 After crossing the Tekaka Hill it was out to Kaiteriteri Beach and the golden sand.

 We found the locals quite engaging.

 With their own version of Aku Aku.

For the night we stayed at a camp called Bethany which is about 300m from the beach.  Apparently this is where many motorhomes winter over as it’s about $75/pw with power, showers et al.

8 Dec 09

After lunch at Marahau just north of Kaiteriteri.

Beside an estuary formed by a golden sandspit.

We enjoyed the company of a family of Californian Quail.  Look close, the couple have at least 10 baby quail with them.  The pic was taken on full 200m zoom.

8/9 Dec 09

From Marahau heading towards Nelson we opted for the night stop, 8th, at a orchard POP just south of Riwaka