April 6, 2017 … in chilly Southern parts

Prematurely, it seems to be winter. And here in Karitane where Mary and I are currently staying in a borrowed “crib” (Southern word for a small holiday home), it is especially bleak as the remnants of a tropical storm cause havoc in the Northern parts of the country.

Kaitaki

Waiting in line at the Wellington terminal to board the ferry Kaitaki to Picton.

But let’s begin at the beginning. On Thursday last, we set out in the predawn darkness to catch the ferry from Wellington to Picton. The voyage across the strait on the Kaitaki was pleasant enough. and then we began the long, long journey through Blenheim and Murchison to get to our first stopping point at Hanmer Springs. State highway 1 from Picton to Kaikoura is still firmly closed and likely to remain so for at least another year consequent to the earthquake in November. The detour is also heavily damaged and there were dozens of places where traffic was limited to 30 km/h for road works, and often stopped entirely to permit one-way traffic to operate.

Hurunui

Organ Range in the Hurunui District

Unlike many, however, we had no pressing need to adhere to a schedule, so despite the mild inconveniences of the journey, we could enjoy the undoubted grandeur of the South Island’s scenery. I neglected to record exactly where this  image was taken, but I think it is somewhere in the Hurunui district a little way out of Hanmer Springs.  I think we are looking across the Hope River at the Organ Range with the Glynn Wye range to the right

Pier

New Brighton Pier with the curse of the scaffolding. Presumably this is post-earthquake remedial work

We spent two days in Hanmer Springs before resuming our journey to Christchurch. Check-in time at out next accommodation in St Alban’s was mid-afternoon, so Mary and I went to the New Brighton Pier to enjoy lunch beside the sea. I seem to cause scaffolding to be erected, and whether it’s the Washington Monument or the Castlepoint Lighthouse, I seem to put a visual curse on well known landmarks.

Surf

The horizon is actually in this picture, near the top and the sky is almost indistinguishable from the sea.

The surf at New Brighton was slight, but there were many enthusiasts out there in their wet suits enjoying various forms of their sport and waiting patiently for the right wave.

War Memorial

Citizens’ War Memorial, Christchurch

We settled in to a superb apartment (thanks Airbnb), and the following day I wandered around the CBD. Six years after the big earthquake, it is apparent that though much has been done, the damage to this still beautiful city will be visible for many years to come. Apparently a decision on the fate (replace or rebuild) of the iconic cathedral is imminent, but as of this week, it sits forlornly inside the fence with weeds growing up through its once clean and well swept paving. I liked the statue on the Northern side, and was surprised to learn that it is unrelated to the Cathedral, but is in fact, the citizens’ War Memorial, funded by public subscription after WWI.

Demolition

Flooded demolition site, corner of Colombo St and Oxford Tce

As I said, the damage lingers on, and despite all the new buildings going up, there are many fenced off sites where remediation or replacement has yet to begin.  This one is on the corner of Colombo St and Oxford Terrace.

Lyttelton

Leaving Lyttelton bound for Diamond Harbour. This was as good as the weather got

We enjoyed some time with Mary’s brother and his wife, and after a wonderful dinner with them decided to go to Diamond Harbour the next day. Sadly, the weather deteriorated, but we went anyway. A nice lunch was had in Lyttelton on our return from a grey and wet Diamond Harbour.

Karitane

A lookout on the old coast road looks Northward along the coast with Karitane as the first promontory and Waikouaiti next along. I liked the drama of the clouds, if not the bleakness of the weather.

We enjoyed our few days in the garden city and have now moved South to Karitane. This is a tiny coastal village on the southern side of the Waikouaiti River where it flows into the Pacific. In normal times it is a popular weekend destination for people getting out of Dunedin, but as of this moment, with rain lashing the windows and the trees whipping about in the garden, it seems a little less attractive. However, the weather is predicted to improve. We did a small tour of the area yesterday and I got this view of Karitane from a lookout on a hill to the South of the town. More of our journey next week.

 

October 23, 2014 … speed bonnie boat*

The adventure on the other island begins.

Waiting to board

I am always amazed by the sheer number of large trucks and cars that get swallowed up by a single sailing of one of the interisland ferries

At seven am we were waiting for the gates to open to admit us to the marshalling yard to board the Interislander. Unfortunately, there was some sort of tangle in the yard which required a whole lot of shuffling of trucks and trailers before domestic passengers and their vehicles could commence loading. We got off to a slow start.

Crossing in Tory Channel

As we emerge into Queen Charlotte Sound, we met the Aratere coming the other way.

However, the strait was almost flat calm and the voyage on the Kaitaki was uneventful. As we reached the end of Tory Channel, we passed Aratere coming out of the sound into the channel.

Bridge

The old one-lane road/rail bridge at Seddon. The trains still go over the top, but the one-way road bed has been lifted.

I got a subway for lunch in Blenheim which allowed the initial conglomeration of traffic from the ferry to disperse a bit more. We went to the disused  road/rail bridge at Seddon and sat on the banks of the Awatere River to eat.

Tapuae-o-Uenuku

Mighty mountain behind Kaikoura

From there the trip to Christchurch where we were to stay with my brother- and sister-in-law at Rolleston, was without incident. A pause for coffee at Kaikoura allowed me a shot at the snow-capped peak of Tapuae-o-Uenuku which I usually see from Wellington.

More adventures tomorrow.

*Skye boat song  (trad)