Wednesday, February 29, 2012


We woke pretty early as our flight left around 7am we had to be there about 90 minutes before it left.We had organized our Taxi the day before & set our alarm so there was no chance of sleeping in.
Check in was pretty painless , we didn't have a long wait as we were one of the first in the line.Once we were checked in we had awhile to fill in, but at least we had got rid of our bags & didn't have to cart them around with us. I still have to refine our packing, I’m sure I can still travel with less. By the time you pick up your duty free, you feel a bit like a camel.

 View from our flight

The flight was uneventful, just as it should be, arrived on time ,8.30am & went through customs in no time. We checked our bags through at the Domestic terminal then headed for the train into the city as our flight was later in the afternoon. The cost of a return trip via train was (well I thought) was a little on the expensive side,but I guess so is everything else.

The Queen Elizabeth was in Sydney... huge ship

Bit of Trivia....Sydney Harbour Bridge is the world's largest steel arch bridge...also one of Australia's well-known celebrities Paul Hogan was once part of a workforce virtually permanently employed repainting the Sydney Harbour Bridge, in that they started another coat of paint after finishing the last.

 Restaurant in the area

 Colorful sight seeing bus

We got off at Circular Quay & decided to walk to The Rocks area & hopefully find a nice place for lunch. It had been years since we had been there, I think the  last time was when Mum & Dad came over in 1993,when I had my op.

Our memory on how to get to The Rocks was a bit vague, ended up walking for a lot longer than we should have, plus it was getting rather hot. Turn me around & I lose all sense of direction, but this time I was sure we were going the wrong way (I was right) that’s all I’m going to say. Finally found our destination, then a pub for a cool drink before deciding on where to eat. Checked the menus out at a couple of places before we made a decision on stopping at one, we then made our way back to Mascot to finish our travels.

We had a nice time in New Zealand ,when I visit I usually only stay in Dunedin as I am visiting family.It's been awhile since I've done any traveling in New Zealand. I thought things were rather expensive,but maybe that is just the cost of traveling these days,anyway it was a great trip,next time it will be the North Island.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cheviot to Christchurch

We left Cheviot around 7.50am, temperature was 11 degrees,quite cool but still a nice morning.Took a detour off the highway to Hurunui Mouth it was 8.15am when we got there ,heaps of people fishing for Salmon( pink variety)

Flax seed pods

The sand was nearly black,a fellow we got talking to said a man comes from Hokitika & gets scoop loads to take back to mine for gold.The sand goes from grey once you leave Blenhiem to dark grey/ black as you get further along.

We saw a Stoat (pest) run across the road at Tormore one of the culprits for killing native wild life here in New Zealand....just thought I'd share that bit of trivia.

Decided to stay in Christchurch at the Admiral Motel $125 a night,as it was really too early to go to the room we went into town to go to the isite...that was way too busy so we had a look around the Botanical Gardens.It's been along time since I have been there, but the gardens are just beautiful with the Avon river flowing through it .The Festival of Flowers was on,so there were a few art type pieces to see.

 One of the Festival of Flowers exhibits

Some of the damage done by the earthquakes

We decided to find out where we had to leave our Mr Jucy the next day, as well as seeing if the motel we were staying at then would let us drop our bags of early tomorrow,before we got rid of the car.The motel was very obliging & said it would be fine to leave our bags.Mr Jucy was near the Antarctic Center,which is one of  the tourist things I wanted to do.

The  Antarctic Centre  cost us  $130 for the two of us as we got the top pass.When you buy your ticket they give you a timetable of the different things that are on,half an hour after we arrived was our Hagglund ride,so we had a look around till it was time for that.The center was well set up with a mass of information & once again never enough time to fully enjoy the whole center.

Peter looking at one of the displays

The Hagglund ride was great,this  is a vehicle they use in the Antarctic especially designed for the conditions there.Our driver was great,full of personality,he gave us some info on the vehicle & what it is designed for.

 The Hagglund we went on

In amphibious mode

So we went up a very steep incline then over a crevice .As these are amphibious we also took to the water ,with it coming half way up the door,great experience.We went back inside after the ride to look at more of the displays,then it was time for the "Snow Storm" where you put a jacket on & go into this special room,which is already minus something,then the wind chill factor is turned up till it is so very cold & blowing,goes for 5 minutes.You can leave at any time through the exit,Peter had shorts on,so he was a lot colder than me.

Igloo inside the "Snow Storm" room

After that little experience was over we went to watch the 4 D movie which was amazing ,in fact at times you were splashed in the face with water when the boat splashed water as well as other times,you also had the feeling of thi gs coming out of the screen at you....I really enjoyed the movie'the whole place was great....worth a visit for sure.

After our Antarctic adventure we decided to stop for lunch at "The Running Bull" we had pizzas & they were delicious & only $12..that was a bonus.

Decided to take a trip out to Lyttelton just a short drive out of Christchurch ,it sustained a fair bit of damage with the earthquakes as well.

Lyttelton was the location for most of the exterior scenes in Peter Jackson's 1996 horror movie The Frightners...just a little bit of trivia for you

 The Lyttelton Tunnel is 1.9 km long & is the country's longest tunnel

"In the 1970s Lyttelton Port was chosen as one of the main ports in the South Island to be dredged and upgraded for containerisation, with the container facility opening in 1977, the centenary of the initial opening"

When we got back to town we went back to the Motel to clean out Mr Jucy & repack everything ready for the morning.After we were organized we took a walk back into the city to have a look at some of the damage from the earthquakes,it was around 4pm now.The worst affected area,the CBD was fenced off & called the "Red Zone" we couldn't really see much,just the odd building with damage.The area is patrolled by police for looters,I find that so sad.


Some of the devastation caused by the earthquakes

Temporary shipping container mall

Re:START have used shipping containers to create a temporary retail center on the site of the shopping mall destroyed in the Christchurch earthquake.

Clicking on map will enlarge it

 Map showing the Red Zone & where we walked from our accommodation

We made our way back to the Motel & cooked up the last of our meat for tea,decided to leave the last of our groceries there for the cleaner.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Omaka Aviation Heritage Center

We left the motel about 9.45 as we were waiting for the Aviation Heritage Center & Classic Car Museum at Omaka to open( which was 10.00)

Apart from the amazing displays of planes there was also a huge section on War memorabilia from various countries,really not enough time to fully take in all the information on display.

All below information was found on the Omaka Aviation Heritage Center web site  although I did take the photos.


At the time war broke out in Europe, Austrian designer Igo Etrich's elegant Taube had already been a successful aircraft for four years, having first flown in 1910. Harking back to the centuries of man wanting to 'fly like a bird', the Taube (Dove) has the distinction of being the most bird-like of any successful aeroplane ever built.


Built as a two-seat day-bomber the D.H.4 was another successful design from the design office of Geoffrey de Havilland.


Built for the landmark WW1 aviation movie 'The Blue Max', filmed in Ireland during the late 1960s, this aircraft was one of two flying examples of the extinct Pfalz D.III produced for that landmark movie.

This display shows the crashed, blood-red Fokker Triplane with the late Manfred von Richthofen lying beside it as Australian ground troops tear the Triplane apart for souvenirs, just as it happened 89 years ago.


Easily the most photographed exhibit at the AHC is the 'aeroplane in a tree' display.

A story to make all New Zealanders proud is that of Kiwi pilot Keith Logan 'Grid' Caldwell. A successful combatant and highly respected leader, Grid Caldwell became New Zealand's highest scoring ace with 25 aerial victories to his credit.


Designed by Glenn H. Curtiss, the beautiful flying boat on display  is one of only four examples known to exist.
The cars were good as well,but Peter probably enjoyed them more than me.We ended up leaving there at 11.45 & 19 degrees...beautiful.

We drove on to Kaikoura,the scenery changed dramatically,very dry grassy looking,no trees,then a few vineyards abit further along more hops.

Along the coast a various spots you could see the seals basking on the rocks not far from the road,unfortunately no place to stop by the time I spied them.

Stopped at Kaikoura & had lunch,nice view of the ocean across the road from where we were sitting.Did some shopping,then continued on our way following the coast,more seals & very pretty.

 View from the restaurant

One of the three sides of the town clock,each different

As we didn't really have any idea of where we were going to stop ,we ended up at Cheviot,staying at the back of the Cheviot Hotel Motor Lodge $10.Actually ended up being a pain as there was no kitchen,so we went & found a park with a seat to have our tea,had to start using up our food stuff.

Church Cheviot

Friday, February 24, 2012

Picton to Blenheim

 Pink highlight is where we stayed & the blue highlight are places we stopped at,clicking on images will enlarge them

We left Picton at 8.30, temperature 17 degrees,beautiful outside,although a bit overcast.

The scenery after we left Picton was mainly wineries which then gave way to some pretty boring scenery,especially after all the greenery we had seen.

Made our way to the tourist information at Blenheim only to find out the Riverboat Cruise I wanted to go on for lunch was canceled due to clearing the weeds from the waterway,just our luck.Decided we would go back to Picton which was about a half hour drive.Once back in Picton,we decided we would go over to the Lochmara Resort to have lunch.

We had a bit of time to fill in before our trip so went for another drive stopping at a few little rest spots along the way.

Karaka Point,Interisland ferry in background

There was a rest area here,I decided to go on the walk while Peter waited.

Waikawa Bay lots of pretty Bays like this in the area

Time now to get organized for our trip,once again we are waiting for people who are running late,we waited for about 1/2 an hour, because they were guests staying at Lochmara ,this was particularly annoying as we were a day only trip,so that took that time off our stay....really annoyed me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our water Taxi for Lochmara

I thought the place was nice ,it combined art & sculptures throughout the resort,bit of a maze actually.

Some of the many sculptures scattered throughout the resorts grounds

 Not for the faint hearted or unfit...Queen Charlotte Track

 Grumpys camp

BBQ area & pizza oven

Couple of the locals

Peter relaxing on the trip back to Picton

We got back to Picton around 3 pm 22 degrees,lovely. We went back to Blenheim ,found where Ray worked & we organized to meet up for tea at the Corner Stone Pub.

We were going to stay at a camp ground,but decided to stay at The Blenheim Palm close to town & a close walk to the pub.The pub had a nice atmosphere ,our meals were nice  & we enjoyed our catch up with Ray.