‘I need some new adjectives for pretty…

Trip Start Jul 18, 2010
Trip End Mar 04, 2011

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Thursday, August 19, 2010

We set off super early and met Jenny in Palmerston just outside of Dunedin at a coffee shop.  Today I’m riding in Jenny’s car whilst Mum and Helen tail.  We’re taking the pig route to Ranfurly, “Where men are men, and Women are men!”… long story, left the campervan there after being accosted by a local creep, and drove on in Jenny’s car.   We drove through some really wee roads and all of a sudden were at Naseby’s international curling rink! Just like that. A huge rink as if from nowhere.  We went on to have lunch in black forest café. Fairly expensive from the outset, but the portions were enormous and so tasty!  Definitely worth it.  The village of Naseby is so sweet.  The streets are literally empty, but still there’s a huge pharmacy and a vacuum cleaner store, I don’t get it?!  On the way out we stopped by the sign, “2000ft Above Worry Level”!! Shortly after we saw Merino wool sheep, whoa.  That is a sheep with allot of wool.  We drove through THE most amazing countryside.  I mean, you have Snow capped mountains, layered with rocky hills, low rounded hills and flat farmland. How does this exist?! I spent the majority of the day shaking my head and exclaiming “wow”.  The area we’re going through is old gold-mining country.  Nothing for miles around apart from vast rolling hills.  We spun a corner and as if from nowhere a huge historic hotel appeared! It’s Keyburn diggings on Dansey’s pass.  The place was really twee and the insides were incredible although we did get harassed by an overly excitable dog.  We were getting pushed for time now so shot on back to Ranfurly to pick up the van.   Our next stop is St.Bathans, which I’ve heard Jenny talk so much about. It sounds great, like a film set.  We wound through the narrow roads and turned a corner and I actually gasped.  The most fantastic lake with incredibly alien shaped steep sides multicoloured in pastel greys, beiges, greens and browns.  The reflections of the sky in this blue/green water was so clear.  We drove on into St.Bathan’s around the lake.  The community here is built in a sort of American ’Western’ appearance.  It does look like it could be a film set.  I’ve been totally entranced by the lake setting though, so wandered on for a closer look.  Photo op.  Helen tells me that there are 6 people living here, one of which is a ghost and two others, dogs.  We went into the local hotel to find the ‘village drunk’, rosy cheeked with a jug of beer at 2p.m.  We decided to drive on through the Cambrians to a wee old church that Dewi and Jenny brought Dave and Cress to when they were over 18months ago.  There were some Welsh records of a guy from Denbigh that they found last time - but we didn‘t find it this time.  We drove onwards down the road and saw the most bizarre sights.  Strange objects implanted into the woodlands.  IT was a bit surreal.  We drove on now towards Clyde to stop at a restaurant ’Fleur’ set up years ago, another of Jenny’s wonderful suggestions.  En route Jenny and I had to swerve to the side of the road. NZ has this recent culture of a run of objects pinned to fences, like a row of 20 bra’s that people will keep adding to.  What we stopped at was near on 20 dead animal skins, tusks, heads and teeth included, draped over a fence along a long driveway.  The photos don’t even do it justice exactly how gross this was!  When we reached Clyde, we unfortunately found Olivers closed.  A local café owner tells us that a few people owned it after Fleur, but didn’t have the same success that she had.  Unfortunate, as it’s a stunning building with everything still in. Flagstone floors, exposed beams and a courtyard out back that could rival an Italian vineyard.  We stopped for a Devonshire tea, with the most amazing scones.  We went on through Cromwell to Queenstown through sunset to Creeksyde Holiday park.  We’re here for 3 nights, using it as a base and taking the car out during the day for trips to local areas.  Tonight we’re all too sleepy to comprehend cooking, so we’ve gone out for a nice dinner at Avanti restaurant in Queenstown.  Walking through, I feel like I’m back in Les Gets.  There’s something nicely same-y about ski resorts.  The night life seems to be A LOT better here though! Jenny’s staying with us in the camper tonight, so Helen and I are sharing the den, I feel like we’re kids again lying under the Christmas tree giggling…

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