motorhome to middle earth

March 18, 2009

The zealous customs officers of Christchurch were convinced that we were bringing biological hazards into the country (“…and where did you say you got this wooden turtle from again madam?” “Hmmmm, your hiking boots have certainly been around….” “I’m sorry, this sachet of coffee came from where…..Russia? ….Why is that?“ but eventually we emerged to be met by our oldest (in the best possible sense) friends Rod and Gill…Rod holding a helpful sign ‘WOLINSKIS’ in case we didn’t recognise him since his 60th and Gill taking the photo of our somewhat startled arrival. It was soooo good to see them.

After two nights in an apartment we arrange our meeting points for the next week with Rod and Gill, and then go to collect the motor home in which we are to spend the next 5 weeks. I’ll say that again. 5 weeks. That’s 35 days.

It is cute. It is cosy. It is a little bigger than the Trans Mongolian compartment. It is compact. It is full of ingenious ways of storing the things you need…everything from a teapot (essential) to a carpet cleaner (hmmm).It is civilized, – it has a TV, DVD player (a bit of a hint that it may be difficult to get a signal) toilet and shower. It encourages your awareness of how much water you normally waste and it certainly ensures that you become very aware of your bodily functions. And it is small. If we can survive this close proximity, for this length of time, we can survive anything. We’ll be fine as long as the weather is kind to us.

We drive through Arthur’s Pass, stopping to climb Castle Hills in late afternoon sunshine and the odd rain shower. The rain turns our surroundings a million shades of grey and the first night finds us up a mountain in the dark with torrential rain and winds. It can only get better. And it does….the morning dawns clear and we do a steep, demanding climb to see the surrounding peaks dusted with the first new snow of the season. It destroys our knees for the next 2 days but it was worth it.

Things we did with Rod and GillExplored Christchurch which is very pretty and looks like Oxford.

Celebrated Joanne’s birthday with a lovely Italian meal and remembered our collective holidays and children fondly.

Visited Akaroa – beautiful harbour – had an incredibly cold picnic .

Mislaid each other en route and somehow created looping texts which cost us all a fortune.

Illegally fed seagulls in Hokitika with the best chips ever.

Walked to Franz Joseph Glacier (Rod and Gill went up earlier in a helicopter and had a truly magical time – the photos were stunning).

Ate a wonderful meal that Eddie cooked for the 4 of us in our tiny, tiny kitchen, ate a wonderful meal that Rod cooked for us in their apartment

Drank a significant amount of alcohol celebrating Rod‘s birthday several times.

Had a particularly glorious day – leaving Franz Joseph with clear blue skies and the Lord of the Rings magnificent ‘Lighting of the Beacons’ ridge of mountains to our left; Gill leading us to Gillespie Beach – panorama of Mount Cook and Tasman behind us, a beach of pebbled sand dotted with bleached driftwood and rimmed with huge crashing waves in front; we enjoyed Lake Matheson with the glacier mirrored on it’s surface; Rod and Gill climbed to the glacier and we enjoyed a wonderful meal to complete a perfect day – the 4 of us have been lucky enough to share many excellent days and moments but this was absolutely superb.





March 8th – 18th

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