22 February 2018

An Evening at Tahuna Beach

The evening before Cyclone Gita was predicted to arrive I spent a couple of hours at the beach watching the sunset. I wasn't the only one who had that idea! There was a balmy breeze, with an ever changing sky for entertainment. And to add a splash of atmosphere, salsa music filled the air as dancers practised their moves further along the beach.

The soft orange sky didn't stay around for long before it turned a rich, burnt tangerine.

Then it grew pink, and pinker still! Even the sea had a magenta tinge as it reflected the colour of the sky.

Then once the sun had disappeared behind the mountains, a golden glow covered the entire sky - it was the perfect end to a summer's evening. 

Thanks Nelson - it's great to be back!

21 February 2018

Hi-Ho-Hi-Ho ... It's Back to Work We Go

After five fabulous months on the road it's time to find some work to build up the bank account.  We got an unexpected email from our tenant saying she had bought a house - the timing was perfect! Our house was available for us to move back into while we worked.

You'd be right in thinking we'd save more by re-renting the house and remain living in the rig. But with three dogs it's easier to be home where they're securely fenced while we're both working.

We'll still go away for weekends and while I'll keep posting blogs, I'm guessing there won't be as many.

Almost home!

17 February 2018

St James Tarn - Lewis Pass

A day without any wind is ideal to capture St James tarn's mirror like reflections.
You might be wondering...what is a tarn? 
Without getting too technical, Google says 'A tarn is a mountain lake or pool, especially one in a cirque. A cirque is a half open steep sided hollow at the head of a valley or on a mountainside, formed by glacial erosion. Tarns are usually smaller than lakes.

The St James Tarn is only a minute's walk from the carpark along Lewis Pass. On a day without wind the reflections really are breath-taking.

A viewing deck provides an outlook across the entire tarn with a mountain backdrop.

On the carpark side of the tarn a track leads across a boardwalk which after a short walk loops back on itself.

Long lichen smothering and dripping from trees created an enchanting area at the end of the tarn.

16 February 2018

A Few Days in Hanmer Springs

We spent two days relaxing at the NZMCA park by the Hanmer Bridge, which is about 7kms from the village. In October when we had stayed I'd written a blog post of this little alpine village, so this post is about a couple of forest walks.

The morning started with a little fog slowly rising upward from the ground - unfortunately there was no spectacular sunrise.

There wasn't any movement in the campground. I'm guessing the campers must still have been snoozing. - smart move.

Before lunch I took the dogs for a walk along 'Dog Creek' (It's now named Dog Stream, but when I grew up in Hanmer we always called it 'Dog Creek'). There's something so therapeutic about this area. The scene was set with an astounding variety of every shade of green, the trees were full of bird song, plum trees scattered about were dripping in ripe fruit, rowan trees weighed down with an abundance of berries, the gentle bubbling water (free of toxic algae) ... it was incredibly peaceful and inviting.

I googled what the colour 'green' represents, this is what I discovered ...
'It symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. Green has strong emotional correspondence with safety. Green has great healing power. It is the most restful color for the human eye'.
No wonder this place felt like the perfect tonic.

Plum trees smothered in plums (both red and green) were growing along the track. Remember the good old-fashioned wild apple trees with apples that had black spots, dimples and that sweet tasting russet? Those very trees were along the walk - the apples were crisp, juicy and ohhh so tasty!
Rowan trees were also dotted about, with prolific orangey-red berries bending branches with their weight - does that mean we're in for a harsh winter?

The tracks near Squirrel Lake were also stunning, and we were lucky enough to be there when the blackberries were ripe. It brought back childhood memories of eating so many blackberries our teeth had a purple tinge. 

It's an ideal area for dogs. So much space and places to explore. A huge open paddock near the lake gave the dogs a massive space to run around and chase each other.

Boo and her out of control ears.
Worth a try ...but "No Paddy, you can't swim in that lake".
Fifty shades of green.

I couldn't leave Hanmer without a photo of the Waiau Ferry Bridge. I was hoping to get one with sunset colours but the sky didn't play its part, instead it remained plain grey - maybe next time?

14 February 2018

Keeping the Dogs In.

BINGO - that's the name of the dog fencing we bought off Trademe to keep the dogs contained. It's an easy to assemble, portable dog enclosure that's worth it's weight in gold. We bought two sets of the heavier duty ones. 

They're high and sturdy, which we thought would be ideal for Paddy. But Paddy being Paddy would be too scared to jump over any fence no matter what height it was. A piece of string would probably keep him contained. The hardest dog to keep from getting out is the smallest one! Our wee escape-artist, 'Boo'. If there's even a slight chance of a way out - Boo will find it.

13 February 2018

Balmoral - North Canterbury

After leaving Weedons (just south of Christchurch) the plan was to stay a couple of nights at Amberley Beach on our way to Hanmer Springs. We'd stayed at Amberley Beach four months ago and really enjoyed it. So we were surprised (and disappointed) when we pulled into the camping area to discover it had gone from being well maintained to run-down. The grass was no longer green, instead it was dry, dusty patch of ground. It was so uninviting we decided not to bother. Instead - we drove half an hour further north to the Balmoral Reserve.

We found a place to park up just to the left of the entrance. Being nice and private it suited us perfectly. With a relaxing outlook of trees we settled in for a peaceful evening.
Then as the sun began setting we witnessed another of nature's spectacular performances. It seemed as though the sky was presenting its very own show - starting with pastel lemon hues, which quickly transformed to a golden saffron-yellow before ending in a grand finale of blazing fiery orange. Heaven's impressive light show was further enhanced by the striking ever-changing cloud formations.

4 February 2018

Paddy + Water = Happy Times!

'Water and Paddy' go together like a 'Golfer and Caddie'.

A perfect day for Paddy would include at least one swim... but preferably more. He's not fussy - it could be at the beach or river - as long as it's wet and the deeper the better.
In Paddy's book, Rangitata River Mouth was a definite winner. The water was deep, warm and there was plenty of it!

Below are photos of Paddy doing whatever it takes to catch 'that' stone!

And... we're off!
Not sure how those forward-facing-ears will help? 
Gotta get that stone!...Will even try walking on water!
Soooooo close....