Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
From there we wandered into the historic district where we found an exhibit from the Oamaru Car Club. After all of the organic shapes from the magnificent landscapes, I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed photographing the patterns and geometrics of these cars, tools, parts. Not to mention it was just fun to see these old beauties. The building was quite old and a little dusty, but I can tell you, the cars were not. Below is a 1953 Ransley Riley that has a supercharged 4 cylinder 2.5 litre engine. It was timed at 128 mph with the present gearing. Behind it is a 1981 500 SLC Mercedes. This model was used for the European Touring Car Championships. Here’s a 1936 AC Sports Tourer with a 6 cylinder 1991cc engine.Lastly, a 1967 Riley Elf MKIII – just for the Elf… Oamaru also is a large source of limestone. Many of the historic buildings were built out of the rock. They were quite beautiful an ornate as one would expect. Also there are a number of people who offer carvings out of the stone. We still have not found a creche to add to our collection, so we commissioned Ian Anderson to create us one. I’m looking forward to seeing what he comes up with.We then rang up some friends of friends and spent the late afternoon with them over a nice Sauvignon Blanc. It turns out the one winery, Hunters, we visited in Marlborough was their favorite.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
There is just too much to do, see, and experience here in the time that we have. We knew that coming into this and told ourselves that whatever happens we can’t go wrong. It was a wonderful day and what we chose were great things – I just wish for more time to linger.
We were in desperate need to do laundry, so we catching up on real life delayed us from leaving the holiday park early. I did a little google search on Invercargill and found that Hayes Hardware has a some of the Burt Munro memorabilia. It was indeed a hardware store of the Ace Hardware style (you’dve gone nuts Daddy). The difference was periodically among the shelves there was an antique motorcycle. Towards the back, there was the No 35 Munro Special that Burt raced in the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. He built the bike himself and was able to get it past 178 mph at the Bonneville Speed week in the 1960s. (Oops, I just ruined the movie for ya’!)
From there we headed east following the Scenic Southern Drive into the Catlins. Our first stop was Slope Point. You ever think you’ve done something and then realize you really didn’t? Turns out that Bluff is not the most southern point of the South Island. It’s just where Highway 1 ends (or as Bluff puts it – it’s where Highway 1 begins…). It turns out that Slope Point is actually the most southern point on the South Island. So of course we HAD to go there. There were no bragging rights on Bluff once we learned that fact! Not far from Slope Point is the Curio Bay with it’s extensive and well preserved Jurrassic fossilized forest. It turns out that during the Jurrassic era there was a forest here on the coast. Volcanic ash rish in silica washed down with the rain. The trees absorbed it which caused them to petrify within months. The entire area was flooded with ash and soil. Some of the trees fell into this muck. The sea began to erode the soil away leaving the petrified stumps and logs to be revealed. This is best viewed at low tide – and fortunately it was when we arrived. Timing is everything! We wandered back north a bit to the main highway and chose a little adventure across it to a llama & sheep farm. Sheep farm after sheep farm are piled upon each other as we head down the road. We went out of our way to get to this one because they raise Gotland Sheep. The route took three gravel roads to find the farm. We did spot what we think could be a takahe which is another flightless bird that was thought to be extinct in New Zealand. How many big blue birds could there be with a big red beak in New Zealand? Comments? I was able to purchase a 100g skein of the naturally colored yarn. It’s a soft grey and I love it. Janette also sells fleece, skins, and even handmade clothing under the line “The Hidden Valley”. The afternoon was quickly passing into evening and we were only halfway through the Catlins. We made one last choice on what to see. The very end of the Catlins is at Nugget Point where there is a number of seals, spoonbills, shags and gulls. These we did see with the aid of binoculars. There also have been reports of Hector dolphins, gannets and the yellow eyed penguins. These we did not see in any way shape or form – but tomorrow is another day. The walk was worth it for the views.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
What a difference a day can make – or even as we experienced today an hour. We woke to a foggy morning out in the Harrison Cove of the Milford Sound. The rains have stopped, so even if the fog were gone, there are few waterfalls to be seen. The boat started moving at 7 am, and so did we. We rode out into the Tasman Sea. This is a motorized boat that was built 9 years ago to look like an authentic ship from the late 1800s – complete with a set of sails. It is not a sailboat however since it does not have a keel. The sails are only used when the boat heads out into the Tasman Sea to help stabilize since the waters are so much rougher out there. The fog was still dense as we returned to the fiord. It is still quite beautiful, but I was disappointed not to be able to see the tops of the peaks around us. The fur seals were still at the resting place this morning and they always bring a smile to my face. As promised, we docked at Milford Sound at 9 am and an hour later we were down the road. As we moved inland, the sun made it’s way through the fog. The views at this point could change dramatically. We would stop at one of the overlooks or waterfalls along the way back to Te Anau. The view could be partially clear and by the time we would return 15 minutes later all was again in clouds. Take your pictures when you can! It still took us all day to get back to Te Anau. We’re right now heading on to Invercargill for our stop tonight. Did you ever see “The World’s Fastest Indian” with Anthony Hopkins? It’s about Burt Munro who built his own speed bike. Burt was from Invercargill. If you haven’t seen it, we highly recommend it.
Once we arrived at Invercargill, we realized that we do have time to run down to Bluff for the sunset. Bluff is as far as one can go south on the South Island. It’s where Highway 1 ends at Land’s End. To go any further it requires heading over to one of the islands or to Antarctica! Officially the coordinates are S46 deg 36 min 54 sec E168 deg 21 min 26 sec.
Here’s the sun setting over Stewart Island:
Saturday, December 26, 2009
“Rain, rain, go away; Come again some other day” ????