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Northern Loop of the South Island


The Car is packed up & we are off. Rangeley has the best spot, great view!


Picnic lunch on the beach in Amberley, just north of Christchurch.

The challenge - keeping the dogs dry for the car ride!


The following pictures are of Route 1. The main highway.

 Cruise control is not standard on a vehicle & is not needed

A one lane bridge. Look up, the train track is on top of the bridge.

The road hugs the coast line, very windy. The country is much more mountainous than we originally anticipated. The kids question of how much farther is answered in: a) I haven't got a clue or b) the map says xxx hours. (mileage is not relevant).

So, as we continue our zigzag through the mountains we arrive at Picton, in the Marlborough Sounds. Picton is where you take the ferry to the North Island. An incredibly beautiful area where we spend a day kayaking through the inlets. Did I mention it can be windy! We started kayaking on calm waters but by the end of the day we were battling gale force winds - okay a bit of an exaggeration - but my shoulders are still feeling the pain!

Picton waterfront

Our morning cappuccino, all smiles after that first sip!

Breakfast with the kids, fueling up before the workout.



Overlooking the sound on our way out of town. Now we're off to Nelson.

with just one stop - the Perlous River.....

Nelson is a quaint town, known for its artistic community. From Nelson we ventured up the coast to the Abel Tasman National Park, with it rocky shores interspersed with golden beaches & clear waters.

Havana coffee!!

In Dave's words "this was the best cup of the liquid extract from the sacred bean that I have yet to experience"

 Guess who is now on their mailing list?

From Nelson we cut through the South Island to Murchinson, following the Motueka & Buller Rivers. This part of the vacation was a scouting trip for Dave as 4 beautiful rivers converge in the Murchinson area. We spent part of a day at an adventure park which had the longest swing bridge in NZ. We walked across the Buller Gorge one way and came back on a zip line. I got to go as supawomen - my torso in a harness and my arms & legs free, flying across the gorge faster than a speeding bullet! Our pictures are on a floppy disk for that bit of excitement & we don't have a floppy disk drive so you'll have to wait for those pictures.



Well that's it for the first big trip. Our impressions:

We were told by many that Christmas/summer vacation was not a good time to visit the northern beaches, the area would be extremely crowded but Nelson, Picton & the beaches were much quieter than a slow day in Maine. We were picturing Freeport on a  long weekend in the summer - no comparison. We had to slow down for a few campervans & cows but the roads were pretty empty. The country is dog friendly and we did not have much trouble finding nice places to stay. Most of the motels had family suites which consisted of 1-2 bedrooms, living area, bathroom & small kitchen. A small bottle of milk is always given to you upon check in so you can have your cup of tea.

The rivers are beautiful, so clear. We could drive down to the river & park on the rocky shore & the kids & dogs got to swim, sun & have lunch & Dave got to try out some fishing holes. ( we just had to remember not to throw the tennis ball into the fishing holes!) We found out what sand flies are, kinda like black flies, so we needed fly dope on a few river beds. On the bright side we have only seen 2 mosquitoes so far. You can sunburn really fast here, caused by a thinner ozone layer, we really had to make a conscious effort to keep the sun block lathered on.

Check out Dave's Fishing Journal  for fishing & coffee updates from this trip.

Next vacation is scheduled April 8 - 18th for Queenstown


Home Up Nelson Malborough January 2004 Warbirds Over Wanaka April 2004 Fiordland April 2004 Queenstown April The North Island June

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