Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Our home for the next week.
The view from the front seat where Brendon drove, I was in the middle with Hannah next to me. Most of the time the girls sat one in the middle section and one in the back section with Grandpa and Nana changing around. We have suggested they put one or two extra seat belts at the back. The view is a lot nicer and there are plenty of seats.
On the right was the fridge (closest to me) then a cupboard with a sink above and then the oven / stove. There was a microwave above the counter over the fridge. So a VERY small kitchen for 7 people.
Just behind Ruth is the bathroom. There is a toilet and a fold up basin as well as a drain in the floor so that you can have a shower (with the hand held shower) if you were desperate - it was really small.
The middle section has two seats like the one Ruth is on facing one another. They make up a double bed. The back section has the long bench right at the back and then two smaller seats opposite. You make this up into two single beds or a big double bed. The third double bed is above the drivers section (see first photo).
There are two tables that you can put up. One between the middle seats as well as one for the back.
Storage space - a big cupboard opposite the toilet as well as all the cupboards around the top (you can see them at the far back - they go all the way around and you can actually fit quite a bit in them). As well as storage space UNDER all the seats. So we had more than enough space (even with all the extra clothes I brought for the little two). We had camping chairs and camping table, stroller, backpack... all tucked neatly away.
The drive through Arthur's Pass was beautiful. I will tell you right from the start that photos can not capture the tiniest fraction of the beauty of what we saw. These were the only clouds we saw for the first 3 days. We had beautiful clear weather Tuesday through Thursday (which made for great site seeing as you can see so far). Some of the mountains in the pass still had snow on the tops.
Once over on the West Coast we headed into Hokitika.
We got to see some Kiwi's while here (as well as some other animals and fish at a mini "zoo"). We headed for the Kiwi section soon after entering and I was so glad we did. The area is kept very dark during the day so that we can actually see these nocturnal birds. We saw one digging in the ground and then headed over to the second one which was right against the glass side of it's enclosure when we came in. It was lovely to be so close to one of these special birds (with their long beaks and whiskers). By the time we had seen the other animals the Kiwis had headed for bed. They switch the lights on during the night so that the Kiwis can have a good day's sleep.
This is one of the Jade producing towns in New Zealand where there are MANY Jade factories and shops. Unfortunately the glass blowing shop had stopped production for the day by the time we got there - that would have also been lovely to see.
Amazing that from the outside this looks like a very normal rock.
A lady was sitting with boxes and boxes of small peaces of Jade matching them up for earrings.
The pendents on the right are a very popular shape.
Nana got herself a ring with a Jade stone in.
Most of us had delicious Chinese food for dinner. Grandpa and Rachel got fish and chips.
Enjoying an outdoor meal - making the most of the magnificent weather.
Heading down the West coast. Many little rivers meet the sea (and some bigger ones too). This photo was taken at 6:30pm.
This coastal road was so lush and beautiful with a very dense forest.
The first night we had all three girls in the top bed. But Hannah ended up with us in the smaller middle bed which did not work very well. So they only had the one night up there. Brendon, Hannah and myself slept on the top bed for the rest of the week.
This is the beautiful spot we picked to stop at for our first night. We had hoped to reach the town of Franz Josef but we had very tiered little ones and we felt it would be better to stop and get the beds set up so that they could get a good night's rest. Even the top bed had some "assembly" to be done as there is a section in the middle on the edge that folds away while driving so that the drivers cabin is more open (which was very handy when I needed to pop from the front into the back of the van). I should have taken a photo from the back of the camper (sorry about that).
And I must say that although this was so beautiful we could not enjoy it all that much do to the sand flies. We had been told to take insect repellent for the West Coast and as soon as we opened the door we knew why. Within seconds of Brendon getting out the van (to switch the gas on) he was covered in them. Brendon and I got bitten the most by those that got into the van (as we were walking around the van getting things ready for bed leaving our feet exposed). And we still have the scars a week later. They are far worse than a little mosquito bite as they form quite a sore. I was very thankful the girls did not get bitten.

Our first day's travel. Including the trip from our home (A) to town to collect the camper, we traveled almost 400km. It was a very long day for us all (leaving just after 8am and only stopping after 8pm) but breathtakingly beautiful. We had lunch in Springfield (just before the mountains) and we came out on the West Coast just below Greymouth. Hokitika is the next town down. So we did cover a lot of ground after dinner, but just not enough to make it to Franz Josef.

1 comment:

gregory said...

Sounds really amazing! Hope those flies arent around in winter!