south island tour

Our trip down the east coast and up the west coast is motivated by supporting the Survivor Scooter Mad Dog Challenge 2010. These crazy scooter-riders are attempting to ride from Bluff to Kaiteriteri for charity and fun. Adrienne is videoing them along the way as promotion for next year’s charity ride and as support for accommodation/meals.

After saying goodbye to Aunty Dot at Nelson Airport, we took our time to get to Invercargill and stopped for a couple of nights. The first with Margaret in Kaikoura after having lunch with Ma and Pa in Picton – and the second at the Timaru Top Ten Holiday Park in a cute wee cabin. We spent time with Whitney, Ayla & Jana in Loburn (near Rangiora) where they showed us their new block of land. The girls played together and had a great time.

Whilst on the road, a good friend from Bakersfield called to say she was in Richmond! I couldn’t believe she didn’t warn me she was coming over to NZ – and I’m really sorry I missed seeing her. I hope you have an awesome time exploring New Zealand, Wendy!

It was a big day of driving from Timaru to Invercargill – with stops at the Otago Museum in Dunedin and for a waterfall walk at McLean Falls. Poppy had a wonderful evening playing with Anna & Will once we got to Janet’s house. The next day we caught up with Lexie (Poppy’s second cousin) at the Primary Athletics day and watched a cyclist at the Valodrome with Anna & Will to get out of the rain. We found Granny May’s grave at Eastern Cemetery and spent more time with Janet & Simon before heading out to Bluff for the Survivor Scooter 2010 briefing meeting and oyster dinner!

Early Sunday morning was the start of the Scooter adventure – and we took the opportunity to find Granny May’s old house as we drove through Winton to meet the 4-wheel drive club at Lumsden. The scooters and 4-wheel drivers all went off-road for the day so we drove through Gore to Alexandra where we stopped for lunch and time on the playground. Once we got to Cromwell we stopped in to see cousin Craig & family and Poppy played with Molly down at the lake.  Meeting up with the Scooter crew at the campground and preparing dinner was the end of a long day.

Monday saw us at the bungy jumping where Poppy was very keen to give it a go…. we just had a practice run with the harness instead.  Queenstown was really amazing – from the rainbow over the gondola to the luge ride – then the awesome views over Wanaka.  We arrived at Lake Hawea and set up the holiday home and cooked dinner in preparation for the scooter crew to arrive.  Poppy helped the boys tune up their bikes before bed.

The next day was wet as we made our way to Franz Joseph Glacier and walked up to the glacier lookout.  The rain continued all night as we set an open fire and had fun playing cards and jenga with the kindling.

Wednesday was fairly wet as well as we drove to the wild West Coast via the blowholes at Punakaiki.   Tauranga Bay was a wonderful place to stay and Poppy enjoyed the weka all around the place.  We drove through Westport a little before heading to Hanmer Springs and the hot pools on a beautiful sunny day. Our final day with the Scooter crew was via Lake Roto-iti where Poppy fed a black swan and had a ride on Shaun’s scooter.  After some photo opportunities in Nelson at the Cathedral and Tahuna Beach, we all went to the Honest Lawyer for dinner and Poppy caught up with Jason’s kids, Alex and Torenzo.

We had a fantastic time as support crew on Survivor Scooter and saw lots of the South Island along the way.  When we turned into our street Poppy said, “It’s great to be back in New Zealand!”