A road trip of a lifetime!

Gardening/Walking/Nature trails & wildlife. Share your experiences here...

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carol sheridan
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A road trip of a lifetime!

Post by carol sheridan » Fri 15 Mar 2013 07:32

I am staying with my daughter and her family near Nelson, New Zealand, for six weeks and last week I went, alone, on a 2,000 kms return road trip to see the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers, Queenstown, and Doubtful Sound. Now I can cross Norway off my 'must visit' list!
I climbed up to both glaciers - they are awe-inspiring but not pretty, being huge rivers of rather dirty blue/green ice, and the plain below them is a huge mass of brown and grey boulders. The trip to Doubtful Sound is most interesting (the commentaries are good) - you are taken by coach from your hotel to take a cruise up one lake, where you get on another coach for an exciting ride over the mountain to catch the cruiser for the Sound (another word for fiord). The Sound is vast - very deep and, we were told, very cold, with very steep, forested mountains plunging straight down into the water. We saw dolphins playing and at the outlet of the Sound into the Tasman Sea there were seals basking on the little islets.
My daughter lent me her little Punto for the six day trip, which saved me a lot of money in car hire costs!
We have had plenty of long steep walks up river valleys to waterfalls - quite normal for me as I live in the Alps. I love the little town of Richmond and the bigger town of Nelson, which is buzzing with young people, backpackers, bars, cafes, restaurants, and has a lively marina.
My grandson is in the Sea Cadets and whilst we were waiting for him on Tuesday night my daughter, son-in-law and myself had a wonderful meal on the harbour and watched the sun go down. I would be interested to hear if any other members have visited NZ, or have family here, and how they have settled in.

My grand-daughter, Lara, has got through to the final of a Love Story competition with a local jeweller, and has already won NS$600 of jewellery. If she wins the competition, she will get another $1,000. Perhaps some of you would be kind enough to vote for her, Sam and Lara, as the other entrants are all 'native' Kiwis and obviously know a lot more people here!
The link is:

http://www.jenshansen.com/news/lovestories.aspx#332

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Sue
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Post by Sue » Fri 15 Mar 2013 07:38

So envious of all you have done and seen Carol. What wonderful memories. I have cast my vote.
Dylan

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sue and paul
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Post by sue and paul » Fri 15 Mar 2013 08:09

That's brilliant Carol.

My father emigrated to NZ in 1974 with my 2 young brothers, then 15 and 17. The older bro went to university, sponsored by the NZ Post Office, and became an electronics engineer, settling eventually in Cashmere, Christchurch, where he still lives (only minor house damage following the quakes, thank goodness). The younger bro enlisted in the NZ Air Force as soon as he was old enough and became a carpenter/joiner, settling first in Lower Hutt when he left the airforce, and later moving to Nelson. He became something of an entrepreneur, variously owning a construction company (largest project was British High Commission building in Wellington), then a hotel in Nelson (The Wakatu), a car-rental company, and just recently sold The Albert Backpackers/Fern Lodge Hotel in Nelson. His skills were called upon to help with the Christchurch earthquake recovery, and he now works permanently in Christchurch for the NZ EQC.

Naturally I have visited NZ several times, the last being in 2005/2006, and toured extensively with my brothers, and previously with my father, who died in the wonderful Manuka Street Hospice, Nelson in 2002. There is a growing branch of our family in NZ, with both my brothers there being grandfathers now.

I love it there, recognise all the places Carol mentions, and envy her plans to live there permanently.

Have voted - well done them!

Sue

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Kate
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Post by Kate » Fri 15 Mar 2013 09:21

You are an amazing lady Carol. I panic when I have to travel to Barcelona airport on my own. Long may you continue to roam.

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sue and paul
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Post by sue and paul » Fri 15 Mar 2013 09:30

Kate - there's probably less crime in the whole of NZ than in Barcelona :lol:

You are right to be apprehensive :cry: Less traffic too, with the exception I guess of Auckland, which I thought was manic.

My younger bro and I won free trips up the Skytower in Auckland Casino, and enough for a meal in the restaurant, so can't complain!
Last edited by sue and paul on Fri 15 Mar 2013 09:39, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by joffan » Fri 15 Mar 2013 09:39

Hi Carol

Voted for Lara, and so have 2 others in the family.

Good luck

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Post by PatrickF » Fri 15 Mar 2013 10:02

Great trip you have had Carol,
We are going to Blenheim for the Peter Jackson airshow at Easter,
http://www.omaka.org.nz/
Have just voted for Lara & Sam - once its warmer we will be back in Languedoc - Roussillion!
Cheers Patrick

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Nigel and Karen
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Post by Nigel and Karen » Fri 15 Mar 2013 10:50

Voted.

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Post by Merisin » Fri 15 Mar 2013 14:09

We had a sabbatical in the late 90s and as part of it toured NZ for nearly three months in a campingcar.

Great memories. Milford Sound, the Southern Alps, Rotorua, whale watching, going to the southern tip with nothing between us and the Antarctic but the endless sea, the northern tip where the two seas meet, the Bay of Islands and so on. Great ice cream. Hot springs and volcanoes.

But there was another side. High levels of alchoholism across all age groups, an out of control drug culture, a general air of pessimism and the feeling that you really are at the end of the earth.

I suppose you either like it or loath it. Many of the younger people we met wanted to emigrate to Oz.

Merisin

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John & Elaine
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Post by John & Elaine » Fri 15 Mar 2013 15:41

Hi Carole,

Elaine and I spent a month in both Islands a few years back starting in The Bay of Islands. The only place which left us underwhelmed was Rotarua. Apart from that we loved it all. Have voted for Lara & Sam.

Doubtful Sound, with it's absolute stillness, was stunningly beautiful and a very emotional highlight of our trip. Did you go to the underground power station?

Enjoy the rest of your trip!

John & Elaine

carol sheridan
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Post by carol sheridan » Sat 16 Mar 2013 02:47

Yes, the underground power station was amazing. I thought it might be claustrophobic but the generator room was as big as a cathedral.

I suppose there is no such thing as paradise on earth and my daughter is aware of many of the problems, but she was Drug Action Officer for part of Humberside before they emigrated, so she is pretty familiar with that scene! She doesn't work now as her husband is a Master on the Interislander ferry and she spends her time raising 'chooks' (We have had six new eggs hatched this morning), pigs and growing fruit and veg. She volunteers at Riding for the Disabled and they have made many friends. I have never seen her so happy, although she misses the three adult children who are still in England.

Many thanks for all your kind remarks and your votes - so far she has votes from France, England, Scotland, Switzerland and New Zealand!

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