New Zealand

New Zealand - December 19, 2004 to January 7, 2005

Friday December 17 - Auckland

  • Malcolm and Rachel met Pepa and me at the airport (35 years later)
  • left us at the Sea Breeze Motel in Herne Bay
  • Malcolm arranged car hire for our road trip with Jesse
  • We walked to the beach and up again to Rachel's
  • Rachel gave us dinner

Sid and his long-lost SE Asia travelling companion and life-long friend Malcolm

Saturday December 18

  • Malcolm came at 10am and took us to breakfast on Jervois Road
  • then One Tree Hill and the War Museum
  • left us at the Art Gallery
  • had lunch at 5pm near the Maritime Museum, too late to go in
  • got on the wrong bus, went the whole route back down town again, then a cab home
  • Malcolm visited, made Wellington-Picton ferry reservations for us, bailed on dinner
  • We dined with Rachel at Andiamo on Jervois Road, had red snapper

One Tree Hill

Sunday December 19

  • Malcolm took us to the Maritime Museum
  • after, had chowder and beer in a bar
  • Malcolm took us to Shirley and Stephen's house to arrange renting Shirley's bungalow on the beach at Whananaki for Christmas
  • Stephen had an Ork part in Lord of the Rings, autographed a picture for us

Sid sailed one of these from Bougainville Island (PNG) into the British Solomons in 1967

On the way to Coromandel

Monday December 20 - Coromandel Peninsula

  • Malcolm drove Rachel and us to Coromandel
  • we rented a chalet in a place called Celadon
  • had dinner in Umu, a restaurant owned by Graham, one of Malcolm and Rachel's old Coromandel '70s commune survivors
  • he came back to our lodging with us and showed us his bird (ornothological) pictures

Malcolm McSporran, Rachel Stace and Sid Tupper

Tuesday December 21 - Auckland

  • went to Heath's house
  • went to Colville and The Point, met a Bhuddist hermit
  • went to Spaz's house to see him and his orchids but no one home
  • drove back to Auckland, picked up the rental car, a blue Toyota Rad-4
  • made dinner for Rachel, slept at her house

Wednesday December 22 - Whananaki

  • 6am, picked Jesse up at the airport, hadn't seen him for a year
  • drove to Whangarei, bought food (green mussels, yum)
  • drove on to Whananaki, to Shirley's funky bungalow
  • climbed hills, pa (Maori redoubt), lovely views
  • spaghetti dinner
  • Pepa wins at canasta

Thursday Decemeber 23

  • pre-breakfast run with our personal trainer
  • drove to Bay of Islands
  • returned via ferry to Russel and back roads
  • mussels, bbq steak dinner
  • Jesse wins Trivial Pursuits (Pepa gets "mercy pie")

40,000 year old kauri tree couch

Friday December 24

  • we all slept til 10
  • after OJ went on 2-hr walk out to Motutara Point over the hills and back along the beach
  • breakfast - 8 eggs scrambled
  • nap, reading
  • went to Whangarei for groceries and 6pm Christmas Eve mass
  • laundry with a tub & wringer machine
  • lamb and mussels for dinner

Tutukaka coast

on a pa above Whananaki

near Whananaki

near Whananaki

from Motutara Point towards Whananaki

Saturday December 25 - Rotorua

  • grueling workout with personal trainer
  • more laundry
  • left lovely Whananaki at noon
  • lunch on beach near Waipu Cove, sun burn, friendly Maoris
  • drove through Auckland, on to smelly (thermal baths) Rotorua
  • hard to find accomodation, got a kitchenette at Cosy Cottage Intetrnational Holiday Park
  • scared (they warned us), reserved a Dec 27 Nelson doss on the phone
  • stir-fry dinner

Pepa at Waipu Cove


Sunday December 26 - Picton ferry

  • laundry, tepid hot springs bathe
  • visited park with boiling mud holes
  • drove on to Wellington
  • visited my old flat on Glenmore Street
  • dinner at cineplex, "National Treasure"
  • called Rachel at her Mum's place, with her sisters. We disappointed them (and me) by not visiting
  • drove around til about 11pm, then to the ferry terminal
  • ferry ride 1:30 - 4am, slept in upright chairs


maybe the coolest one-room apartment I ever had (1968)

Monday December 27 - Nelson

  • from Picton in the dark, drove on under a full moon to the dawn
  • slept 1.5 hrs in Havelock waiting for the gas station to open
  • bakery breakfast, arrived in Nelson at 9am
  • went to beach - Tahunanui - sunburned!
  • did stretching to relieve Dec 25 workout
  • checked into Brook Valley Motor Camp, 2 room motel unit with kitchenette, up in the hills above Nelson
  • grocery shopping, drove around, watched kite surfers at Tahunanui
  • pasta and schnitzel for dinner

Tahunanui beach, Nelson

Tuesday December 28

  • Jesse and I walked up to a ridge overlooking Nelson, a Grouse Grind
  • walked in the rain on the beach at Tahunanui
  • dinner: salmon and scallops
  • they have Tuesday night at the movies in NZ too - saw Bridget Jones Diary II
  • reading "The Crossing"

who's the purple guy?

Wednesday December 29 - Greymouth

  • adios to Nelson in the rain
  • missed Buller Gorge - looked exciting
  • Richport to Greymouth seascapes - Tasman Sea storm, amazing waves, hillsides of fern trees
  • stopped at the Pancakes and blowholes (tide too low), raining too hard to photograph
  • South Beach Motel
  • dinner: hamburger patties, strawberry cheesecake
  • HARD rain (350mm in 24 hours)

Tasman Sea

Thursday December 30 - Christchurch

  • still raining in the morning
  • stormy beach, full rivers
  • continued south then east to Arthur's Pass
  • kea bird at pass. These birds are reputed to kill sheep.
  • cave stream at lunch stop, fields of purple lupin
  • Hotel Grand Chancellor near Cathedral square
  • lamb chops for dinner
  • movie - Ocean's 12 (worth missing)

kea at Arthur's Pass

Friday December 31 - New Year's Eve!

  • gym workout
  • Avon River row boat, sore bum
  • went to South New Brighton beach, windy, cool, kite surfers
  • hard to find a restaurent open at 10pm, dined Thai finally
  • concert in Cathedral Square, fireworks

on the Avon River in Christchurch

kite surfing

New Year's Eve

Saturday January 1 2005 - Mount Cook

  • left Christchurch at noon, hung over
  • lunch at Lake Tekapo
  • Mt. Cook clouded over
  • bunks in full 10-person dorm at Glenntanner Park
  • pasta dinner cooked in communal kitchen
  • walked down to torquoise lake, early to bed at 10pm
  • Pepa wished death to an old Belgian geezer with sleep apnea

Lake Pukaki

sacking out in the dorm at Glenntanner Park

Mt Cook from Lake Pukaki

Sunday January 2 - Queenstown

  • early breakfast - Mt Cook clear
  • 8am coffee at the Hermitage
  • walked to Hooker Lake - 3.5 hours
  • lunch in Twizel
  • in Queenstown, Discovery Lodge, backpacker hostel in the town centre with bar, internet lounge
  • Jesse and I walked 1km to a supermarket to buy dinner
  • stirfry in amazing stainless steel communal kitchen
  • evening walk on esplanade
  • street noise - sleeping with earplugs helped

looking back to Lake Pukaki

Mount Cook, 3755m, the highest peak in Australasia

Monday January 3

  • Jesse and Sid do AJ Hackett bungy jump
  • dull weather

the before-jump picture

Jesse during

Tuesday January 4 - Kaia Poi

  • have to race back to Auckland - hard drive to just north of Christchurch: Kaia Poi
  • rainy
  • funky motel
  • Sid broils awful stuffed lamb for dinner
  • hedgehog

Wednesday January 5 - Hastings

  • we learn that our ferry reservation was for Jan 4 so we forfeit $285 - BASTARDS!!!
  • hard drive to Picton, make the 1pm ferry with seconds to spare, $325 for a car, 3 people for 3 hr ride
  • calm ferry crossing
  • we drive straight off the ferry onto the highway towards Hawkes Bay
  • spectacularly rainy through Wanganui Gorge
  • motel in Hastings, beside the racetrack

Picton ferry

Thursday January 6 - Auckland

  • Napier is so pretty. The town centre burned down in the 1920s and they rebuilt it in art deco
  • Jes and Pepa went for a run on the beach esplanade while I climbed Bluff Hill for the view
  • lunch in McDonalds in Taupo
  • Hyatt Regency in Auckland
  • we had chinese take-out dinner in the suite with Rachel and Malcolm

Bluff Hill, Nelson

Friday January 7 - en route to Bangkok

  • worked out with Jesse in the gym
  • Jesse checked into the Auckland Central Backpackers. His flight back to Vancouver is on the 10th.
  • shopping: oven thermometer, egg beater, write pictures on CD for Jesse to take home
  • stopped at Rachel's to return her coat, watched her son Ted risk hands and sight making bombs out of firecrackers
  • drove to drop off car at rental office, meet Malcolm
  • Malcolm took us to the airport
  • Jesse took the bus into the city (sniff)
  • flight late leaving Brisbane

airport farewell

Saturday January 8 - Dhaka

  • arrived Bangkok 5:30am
  • arrived Dhaka 12:00