It's really cold here
05.06.2006 11 °C
We arrived in Christchurch on Tuesday morning and were picked up by Graham who runs the hostel where we were staying for the night.
We dumped our stuff and set off into town to buy coats and gloves because it is cold here, really cold. I promptly spent $399 on a windproof jacket that will supposedly keep me warm on top of a mountain, best get climbing..... And then another $40 on some gloves seen as I have money to burn, and then we went out to dinner to celebrate!
Wednesday morning, Emma followed suit and bought some similarly expensive coats and jumpers and gloves and then we went off to pick the campervan up.
It's a nice van, silver, with 2 little gas hobs, a fridge, a microwave and a DVD player! His names Dave.
And we were on the road. As we tootled along we did discuss the merits and the downfalls of renting a campervan in the middle of the New Zealand winter but dismissed all the bad points such as the FREEZING weather and having to run outside to the showers and toilets.
Our first stop was Hamner Springs, aptly named as it has a thermal spring resort. We found a site, powered up and then went to the pub. We got chatting to some local builders who told us where to go and what to do and also insisted that to have the best time ever in NZ we should buy a fishing rod and do a bit of fishing.... We don't follow all the advice we are given.
That night it was really cold (I'll be saying that a lot I feel). We cooked our dinner in the van, veggie stir fry, and then settled down for the night. We left the heater on but then Emma decided that she wouldn't be able to sleep as it was too noisy, so like a fool, I said OK and we turned it off. That will be the only time that happens. We woke the next morning with blue noses and icicles hanging from the ceiling!
We spent the morning warming up at the springs which were HOT and then made our way over to Westport.
The scenery here is absolutely stunning. Rolling mountains and deep lakes and the roads are really quiet. It's really nice just driving around, taking it all in at our own pace.
Wesport - we didn't do much here, just a stopping off point. We did buy 2 DVDs and spent the evening watching one of them. ENVY, with Ben Stiller and Jack Black - rubbish!
We then headed down to Punakaiki and stopped off to see the Pancake Rocks and then headed up a 6km dirt road, which said not suitable for campervans, so that we could go for a walk to a cave.
This is where we met Derek and Moira. Derek is English but has been in NZ for the last 40 years and they are both really into caving. Moira had just written a book on it, whilst undergoing treatment for a brain tumour. And they are both in their mid 70s!! Awesome couple! They told us where to go for our walk and when we came back we stopped off for tea and cake with Moira whilst she waited for Derek, who had gone caving.
We then headed for Hokitika. Here we spent the day (whilst it chucked it down outside) designing jade jewellery. I made a piece for my mum. Considering how creative I am it came out quite well!!
We were so cold by the end of the day that we opted to use the free spa pool at our camp ground. A great way to warm up!!
We bought another DVD (A lot like love) which we watched that night after cooking dinner in the site kitchen. It's too much of a squash to do it in the van all the time unless you are 4 foot nothing tall (Emma has no problem standing up!!) The rain continued all through the night but we were warm and toasty with the heater on!!
Next stop Franz Joseph Glacier.