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This seems to say that they are trying to eradicate both Gorse and Broom from the Taieri Gorge. The Railway commentator only mentioned Broom but it seems likely that both were there and in flower. I didn't check for prickles.
We now started to work our way up the west coast towards our final destination of Christchurch.
After the cold, wet and windy days in Dunedin we enjoyed some great weather as started out for what we thought would be a quick stop in Oamaru. We took the Coast Road rather than the main highway and got some great views.
The road really skirted the water in some of the bays.
We had planned to visit Oamaru because I had read that it had a large number of well preserved Victorian era buildings. As someone who spent a number of years working in Fremantle with its Victorian and Edwardian buildings this naturally interested me.
I certainly felt right at home. I had worked, and drank, in buildings just like these. More about the steam vehicles later.
As I said we had originally planned for a short stop. But we then discovered that we had managed to arrive during the Victorian Heritage Festival so there was even more to see than we expected. This included various steam powered vehicles and lots of people in Victorian costumes.
This is a 'Showman's Road Locomotive' built in 1922. It resides in the UK and spent about 3 years touring NZ.
Those solid rubber rear wheels must give your kidneys a good workout.
Timaru was our final destination for the day. We mainly stopped there to use it as a base to drive to the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park for a day trip. However, Timaru is actually the birthplace of my Grandfather. He was born there in 1886. His family were Scots who had come to NZ as subsidised migrants in 1877. His mother was from Tasmania, she had been born there, Hobart Town as was, in 1862.
A view across Lake Pukaki. Our destination, the Tasman Valley, is slightly to the right of centre. You can see the cloud bank lying in the valley. It never really lifted while we were there.
We parked in another carpark with great views. It was for the Tasman Lake walk. There was about 10 minutes of sunlight before the clouds descended.
We made a detour to look at the (Signposted) Blue Lake. Unfortunately it is now not blue as due to the retreat of the glaciers it no longer receives outflow from them and algae has turned it green. The sign telling you this is by the lake after you have climbed up a hill to see it.
Some of the climb can be a bit tough on the ankles.
Looking back down the valley. You can see how low the cloud layer was.
At the Tasman Glacier Viewpoint looking across Tasman Lake.
I didn't expect to see icebergs at this altitude.
At this point it began to sleet and the cold combined with strong winds it meant the end of any walking for us.
Sadly, it was now time for our final destination of Christchurch. We were there about three years after the big quake and the amount of visible damage was horrifying. For those who have been there before it must have been amazing to see the changes. You can feel only the utmost sympathy for the locals.I took very few photos of the centre of the city as I didn't feel comfortable doing so. Of those that I did take many have disappeared during their transfer to a new PC.
The Avon River
Lovely boating weather.
They certainly make plenty of use of the relatively limited amount of river they have.
The Botanic Gardens are extremely well maintained.
Inside the Conservatory
This was the initial construction of The Arcades Project
Find things to see, eat and do in Christchurch, as well as places to stay or visit.
You will note the Giraffe in the above photo. They were part of a Public Art Project and have since been auctioned off and replaced by Penguins.
Victoria Clock Tower. The top part was manufactured in 1860 and was moved a number of times. The top and bottom were joined in 1897/98. It was damaged in the 2011 earthquake and not fully repaired until a year after our trip.
The next day we went to the New Brighton Beach & Pier. As you can see the cloudy and rainy weather had returned in full force. On the way there we drove through a couple abandoned suburbs that had suffered soil liquefaction during the earthquakes. At that stage the homes were still awaiting demolition. On Google Earth These days they appear to be gone.
Then we went out to Moncks Bay and Scarborough (How could a West Australian resist going there?)
This is the way to get up the hill to your front door!
Some people weren't so lucky as there had been large cliff slips in this area.
At this stage this 'container wall' was being used to shield the road from further rockfalls. ON Google Earth they have now gone and the cliffs have been 'trimmed back' and a large stabilising area formed at the bottom.
We then went through the tunnel to Lyttleton. It had also been extensively damaged during the 2011 quake.
Governors Bay Jetty with Lyttelton in the distance.
My wife was working part time at the Perth Warehouse of Mitre 10 at this time and took this photo to show what shopping trolleys are called in NZ.
For our return trip we started with a short hop from Christchurch to Auckland in what I remember as being a pretty old 737-400. I had paid an extra $15 each for two exit row seats. This plane had the design where the over-wing exit row has one window seat removed to allow for faster evacuation. I was sitting behind the 'missing' seat space and thus had huge legroom. We only got a drink of tea or orange juice on this flight but this was fine for an 80 minute flight, especially when there was a lot to see out of the windows.
The snow capped mountains from the airport
One of our last views of the South Island. I haven't been able to find out what the 'device' is on the wingtip - any ideas? Surely not a Chem trail dispenser?
We had a two hour stopover in Auckland. I had complained about our flight over in Y on the B787 the return flight was a complete opposite. The plane was very quite, the seats were comfortable with plenty of room, the food was good and the cabin crew engaging.
We booked in PE during a sale and the ticket including 2 x 23 Kg bags and the Y flight from Christchurch was $686 each. I thought this was pretty good value. This was the first time we had flown an International flight in anything other than Y. Like many others on here this first experience of a more premium product spoiled us for future trips in Y.
Our plane in the All Black livery.
I think many on here would be familiar with this view from the tarmac.
Just after take-off.
Our last view of New Zealand.
We were in 23 J & K and had plenty of room with a 41" pitch.
My wife was very happy with the seat and legroom etc.
I believe that, at this time anyway, the PE meals were actually J meals served in a more basic manner and with less choice. Whatever the case the food was excellent and the crew very happy and pleasant. The seats were also very comfortable.
Over W.A. and you can detect a slight difference in the terrain and vegetation.
Home - to an overcast but warm late afternoon.
We thoroughly enjoyed this holiday. For any future trips I would go a bit later in the year as we did get some pretty wet weather. Most of the accommodation was of a good standard and all of it offered at least basic self catering facilities and usually much more than that. The people we met were mostly very friendly. I did have lots of fun shutting them down when they wanted to talk about the All Blacks dominating Australia - I simply pointed out that I was from Western Australia and had no interest in Rugby. The food was usually pretty good especially the Fish and Chips which was consistently better than the normal offering in W.A.. Naturally we tried a few Roast Lamb dinners and they were also good.
If we go back we will have to head north of Auckland and also see more of the west coast of the North Island.
Thanks for the report. Quite a few locations we have visited but you have put out a few activities for us to do next time. Our visits have been Mid Sept-I have seen photos of packed camp grounds in mid summer and they do no look that attractive compared to the non crowded times we have enjoyed