31 August 2018

Kina Peninsula

Whenever we go out in the bus, Bernie insists that I drive. And after a few outings, I'm getting used to the extra length.   

Today we took the bus for a drive to Kina Peninsula (it's close to Motueka - in the Taman/Nelson region). We parked in the Baigent Reserve, beside the Moutere Inlet. Although no camping is allowed it's a great spot to spend a few hours (or the day). There's a large grassy, sheltered area with barbecues and toilets nearby. 
It's a popular spot to launch boats and jet skis ... plus it's ideal for picnics, swimming and kayaking. 

Each side of the peninsula has access to the beach. One side is Tasman Bay and the other is the Moutere Inlet.

Many wattles smothered in bright, yellow flowers filled the air with the sweet smell of spring.

The distinctive chortling of tuis bustling about in the branches got me all excited, I was hoping to get a photo - but I didn't have any luck. 
However, this cute little guy flew down beside us while we were having a cuppa, to see if we had anything yummy to share.

It was heart warming to see Paddy relaxed and happy after months of being unwell. 

21 August 2018

A Bus 4 Us!

We are back in business ( make that - 'Business).

And just like the saying goes, 'Good things come in small packages' and in our case, the 'Good thing came in the form of a small bus'.

We are now the proud owners of a 7metre bus - a Toyota Coaster. And, what a wee beauty. It ticked all the boxes of things we were looking for.

Meet " Paws Awhile" the perfect little camper for 2 humans and 3 dogs. Let the adventures begin!

11 August 2018

And, so it begins ...

It was an early start on Saturday morning - we left Nelson before sunrise to drive to Kumara. We were keen to see the start of our block being cleared. We'd heard the driveway had been cleared and bush in the centre of the section had started to be cleared.

There were a couple of reasons for the early start. One, it's a 4 hour drive to Kumara from Nelson and when the dogs come, it takes a bit longer as we stop every hour or so to give them a stretch. And secondly, we also planned to head over Arthurs Pass to Kaiapoi to look at a 7m Toyota Coaster for sale.

We stopped at the top of the Spooners Range to let the dogs have a walk around. Although the sun hadn't come up it was just light enough to follow a little bush track. The birdsong was AMAZING!

Further down the road we ran into fog and it stayed with us until just before Greymouth.

Half an hour from Kumara, Bernie got a phone call from he owner of the Toyota Coaster to say the bus had failed its C.O.F that morning (due to two worn ball joints). They managed to find one ball joint in Christchurch but the other had to be couriered down from Aukland, which meant we weren't able to pick it up later that day. That shortened our day of driving by about 5 hours.

We continued onto Kumara and were pleased to see the driveway had already been put in. The drive curves to the right making the area we'll build private from the road.

The rest of the section had started to be cleared. A big mound of bush, moss and mud lay in the centre, which will be trucked away during the week. 

There must have been half a dozen fantails flitting about.

Bill's son Connor put a drone up over the property so we could get a look from above how much bush was around the boundary. There's still heaps left, so we're pulling more out to make the clearing even bigger (one of the covenants of the subdivision is to keep at least 5 metres of bush along the boundary).

The photo below is looking back down the drive towards the road.

After an hour looking around we had a walk along the beach and then headed home. We drove to Lake Brunner from Kumara which was just stunning. I'd recommend taking that detour if you're ever passing. It's about 24kms and most of the road is unsealed but it's in excellent condition and the native trees bordering the sides of the road are breath-taking.
I was looking forward in seeing a camping area at Iveagh Bay (part of Lake Brunner), it's on my list of places to camp and it didn't disappoint. It's a flat, gravel area right beside the lake shore with spectacular views. I imagine it would be a popular place during summer.

Even though it's winter Oakly spent most of the time wading in the water.

7 August 2018

Gold at the End of the Rainbow

I think we found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow - or at least our block of gold. And for us, it was a couple of acres of native bush. 

After the rig sold we started to look for some land. 
Bernie loves having a project on the go, and enjoys pottering about creating things. Getting some land seemed to tick a few boxes for us. Bernie could build and we could use it as a base when we got back into motor-homing again.
We talked about areas in the South Island where we'd like to live. One was Otago, we both loved that region - but it's a long way from where we're currently living (and employed) so we limited our range to within an easy days commute from Nelson.
Initially we thought Westport would be the spot. It's Bernie's hometown and compared to Nelson, land is so much cheaper. So we made a list of potential properties and spent a couple of weekends looking around. Eventually we narrowed it down to a couple of possibilities but they seemed to be over priced for the area, so we extended our search.
Hokitika was an area we both liked and while looking on Trademe, we saw a section at Kumara Junction (15 mins north of Hokitika) that had been cleared of bush, ready for building, it had a water tank and a septic tank. It looked good. After making a list of other places to check out in the area we set aside a day to have a look. 
The Kumara Junction section looked okay but there was a small creek to the side of the section that concerned us due to possible flooding. 

After we left the section we went to Kamara Beach to have some lunch.

What a beach! A typical West Coast beach; rugged and isolated. 
There was sand for the dogs to dig (ah-ha, it's all about the dogs), lots of stones, some were pure white (which I love collecting) and all sorts of gnarly driftwood.

Kumara Beach also has it's claim to fame's the starting point for the 'Coast to Coast' endurance race.

Bernie at the starting point...gumboots and all!

We had several more blocks of land to look at around Hokitika so we left the beach to continue the search. However the sections we saw were more like farm paddocks and we were wanting a bit of native bush.

Next we headed north, as we'd tagged a couple of bush blocks to see around Greymouth. As we were passing back through Kumara Junction, Bernie suggested we go back and check out the first section we'd seen (the one with the smaller creek).

Driving into the subdivision, we drove further on to see if there was anything else for sale. We must have timed it right, as there were a couple of ladies out for a walk and Bernie stopped to ask them if they knew of any other blocks for sale. Turns out they'd built in the subdivision two years ago and couldn't speak highly enough of the area. They gave us an address of a couple who would be able to give us more information. 
And to cut a long story short. 
We met the couple. 
They showed us several new blocks available.
We found one we both loved. 
And bought it.

Throughout the subdivision, there are wide roads, which are bordered with native bush. Part of the charm of this area is not being able to see any houses from the road and every driveway is long with a couple of curves to provide privacy from the road.

Below is a photo of the front view of the section we bought.

Look at all that native bush...

And a rainbow ... perhaps a sign!

Bernie, Bill & Amanda chatting about boundaries etc

The photo below is an arial shot. You can see how thick the native bush is - it's a mixture of rimu  kahikatea, punga, fern and a bit of manuka, so we'll clear out an area in the middle to build. 

There are only two covenants attached to the subdivision. One, is no burning coal (only wood), which makes Bernie so happy. Despite being a coal miner he hates the smell of coal!
The second condition is to leave at least 5 metres of bush around the boundary, which makes 10 metres of bush between you and your neighbour (at least). 
Absolutely perfect for us.