29 September 2018

'Ohhh' for Okiwi Bay

About an hour from Nelson is a peaceful little bay, 'Okiwi Bay'. 

This was to be our first night in the bus (we'd only been on day trips). It was time to test things out. 
Leaving home, we weren't sure which way to head and then the weather decided for us. The West Coast was forecast for rain but it looked dry towards Blenheim. So eastwards it was ...
On the other side of the Whangamoas there's a picnic area that we stopped at. It's still a novelty being able to pull over, climb into the back of the bus and put the jug on. Bernie is a 'tea-aholic', and can't go far without a cuppa!

I could hear running water nearby, so I took the dogs for a walk in that direction.

Although the picnic area was a nice spot - we were disappointed by the rubbish scattered about. As I got closer to the river, I smelt a foul, decaying smell. And sure enough, not far away was the culprit - a decomposing goat carcass. Now, I know that smell would be heavenly to our dogs, for me ... not so much. So it was back to the bus and after we'd quenched our thirst, we were off.

The place where we were to spend the night is just a stone's throw away from the beach.  How lucky to be able to stay here, right on the foreshore.

Once again, Bernie put the jug on, and I walked along the beach with the dogs.

At the eastern end of the bay there's a little wooden bridge crossing a stream flowing out to sea.

We ( Boo, Oakly and I), crossed the bridge and followed a track through the bush.

It's not a long walk (maybe 10 minutes each way), but it was nice to be amongst the bush and to hear native birds close by.

After our 'bush fix', we wandered back to the bus. While the dogs happily chewed on bones,  Bernie and I enjoyed looking out over the bay.

Later in the afternoon, the tide began receding.

 It was time to explore the rock pools.

I love looking around the rocks, searching the tidal pools to see what might be living and hiding in there. Luckily, Oakly, enjoys it as much as I do.

There wasn't much bird life around, just a couple of Oyster Catchers.

When the tide turned, we headed back to the bus.

I was hoping to get some reflection photos, but it wasn't to be.

Some crafty marine creatures had left some impressive artwork on the sand.

Oakly had to have that one last look for that ever elusive stone ...

And then we were homeward bound.

This seat looked too inviting to walk past. I sat and soaked up the serenity and salty air.

A couple of fishermen left it too late and had to walk a few hundred metres until it was deep enough to start their motor.

The owner of the boat below was also late getting back and couldn't get to the boat ramp. Luckily he lives nearby and waited until the tide turned to go and collect his boat.

Later we were treated to a brief sunset, as Bernie began making dinner.

I really do need to learn night photography, I would of loved to have captured the moon light sparkling over the water. It was stunning!

We had breakfast outside just after 7 and already it warm (and entertaining). Tractors and 4WDs appeared with boats in tow.

No backing the boat for this guy (below), he was pushing his boat in front of his tractor. Nice and easy to launch.

Boats seemed to appear from nowhere. Once launched, and all aboard they headed out for a day on the water.

We could easily have spent hours watching the comings and goings (and so too could have the dogs), but it was time for us to pack up and move on.

We'll definitely be back again.

26 September 2018

Beauty at The Beach

It was a gorgeous spring day and better still, it was the weekend. A great combination for some 'RnR'.  And where better to spend an afternoon not far from home, than, Kina. 
Paddy wasn’t feeling very well, so we thought he’d be happier left at home. But he wasn’t having a bar of that. As soon as he saw us open the bus door, he was in like a shot and refused to get off the couch!

When we arrived at the Kina Recreation Reserve, instead of heading to where you stay overnight, we veered to the left. It’s a large grassy area with trees dotted about for shade and the beach is just a hop, skip and a jump away. Although you can't camp overnight in this area, it's an ideal spot to spend a few hours.

Even before I’d turned the engine off, Bernie had turned the jug on. I wasn’t as eager as Bernie for a cuppa, so while he quenched his thirst, I took the dogs for a walk.

What a gorgeous beach. To the left there are huge towering cliffs, and to the right you can walk to Ruby Bay. The beach is covered in flat stones, driftwood and patches of sand. And better still, I had it to myself. Just me and my dogs.

Although the council reserve for camping is relatively small, it’s a camper’s dream. If you’re among the first half a dozen campers to arrive, there’s plenty of space to park along the foreshore, with spectacular views across Tasman Bay. 

The cost to stay is $5 per person, per night and under 16 years of age is free. There's a maximum stay of 4 nights per calendar month. The reserve has fresh water available, a long drop, (which, apparently is kept clean, but I never looked) and a few fire pits. Finding wood for a fire won't be difficult - there’s loads of driftwood scattered about and a few pine-cones. You'll be spoilt for choice for places to sit. Your options are; several logs, which have been swept onto the beach, picnic tables and seats ... all offering million dollar views.

When I got back to the bus Bernie was in 'relaxation mode' ... stretched out in the sun. It was just lovely. I rang Becs (my daughter) to tell her where we were and an hour later she pulled up in her wee ‘Bongo’ van. Her two wee dogs Inkah and Jett couldn’t get out of the van fast enough - they loved racing about exploring.

Becs made us a healthy salad for lunch and afterwards we spent the afternoon chatting, relaxing, walking and soaking up the ambience of this little slice of paradise.

How lucky are we to have this oasis on our doorstep!

17 September 2018

Adding Our Touch

Luckily for us, the previous owners of our bus were conscientious and kept it immaculate. A few years ago they'd given it a make-over and gone for a modern, black and white interior. And although it looked nice, we wanted to put our mark on it - we wanted to lightened it up a bit. 

So, a few days after we bought it, we headed to 'Spotlight', to check out the upholstery. Before we left, we'd agreed on a tan/beige colour. Fortunately, we've got similar tastes so it didn't take long to find a fabric we both liked.
As we made our way to the check-out, we spotted another roll of fabric that we liked. There were a few reasons why it appealed ... 
For me, it had VW Kombis and V-Dub beetles on it. When I was young and growing up in Hanmer, my family had a kombi van. I have special memories of camping out the Molesworth in our kombi. Swimming in deep, clean rivers, eating wild gooseberries, cooking over an open fire and nobody about but us (no self-containment issues back then, or busy-bodies looking for wrong-doings), life was simple. 
Then later on, my brothers and I learnt to drive in it. Looking back, I appreciate how forgiving the clutch and gear box must been!
Also, the fabric that'd caught our eye, had a 'Beatles' theme, which attracted Bernie - he's such a muso! His teenage years were 'The Beatles' era, plus he's a drummer, so for him, it was a 'done deal'.
We knew covering the entire couch with this 60's themed upholstery would be an overkill - it would make the small area too busy, so we decided to do the seating part in the textured beige that we liked, and cover the back part in the 60's material.

That night we were busy cutting, pinning, sewing, stapling and measuring. We're pleased with the result. It's lighter and brighter and it's got a touch of us. The cushion to the right was a gift from Becs (my daughter).

14 September 2018

A Taste Of Summer

Roll on summer! For two days in a row we've been treated to warm, summery Nelson days. 
Unfortunately, Paddy has had several rough days, and today he seemed to have bounced back so we decided to take the bus somewhere for the afternoon. Not wanting to go too far, we chose Rabbit Island.

We found a nice, place to park under some pine trees to provide some shade. While Bernie put the jug on for a cuppa, I took the dogs for a walk. And I found a great spot beside the water that looked like a better place to park.  And one of the many bonuses that we've found since having this bus, is it's SO easy to pack up and move. Bliss.

The water seemed a striking bluey green colour, which I thought was due to wearing sunglasses, but when I took them off, I was surprised to see, the water was actually that colour!

Bernie enjoyed some R&R while I took the dogs for another wander. When I got back, we sat and enjoyed a cuppa.

Who would have thought that this little spot could provide so much entertainment? First there was a guy nearby, sitting on a rock fishing. Every few minutes he reeled in a fish. They were only small (herrings) but he had a bucket full in no time. He said he'd either fry them up, or make sushi with them.

He caught a few eels, but they were thrown back.

Oakly was particularly interested in the shags. They too, had a lucky day fishing.

More times than not, whenever they dove under the water they'd emerge with a fish.

There was also human activity on the water, in the form of paddle boarders and jet skiers.

And just before we went home, I took the dogs for another walk. I was hoping to get a photo of the tui that had been singing his/her heart out, most of the afternoon, but I was out of luck. All I got was a shag and a seagull.

Rabbit Island is a great spot to unwind and relax. Perhaps the only thing that would make it better, is if camping was allowed. 
Oh ... and being a dog person, I think, it would be fantastic if dogs were allowed on the beach.