South Island Road Trip #1

With both of us now having the well-earned title of “Retired,” we have started our relatively itinerary free road trip to the South Island.

Departed from Rach and Dan’s recently sold Chelwood Street home.

We packed up the caravan on the 25th of February and headed south to catch the Bluebridge Ferry to Picton

A calm, grey day with lots of fellow caravaners and motorhomers on board.

We disembarked the ferry at about 6.00 pm and travelled 25km to Blenheim where Ann used the NZMCA app to locate a CAP (charges applied property) where we stayed for two nights. The cost of a powered site was $12 per night for two people. We needed the powered site as we were having problems with the fridge misbehaving

Very popular CAP site in Bleheim.

The weather was warm with blue sky so we decided to hop on our bikes and explore Blenheim.

We found a track beside the Taylor river that went to the Taylor dam, so off we went

Taylor River Track
Taylors Dam

It was such a beautiful day and as we were a bit thirsty, we headed for the wine trail. We were very restrained and only visited three.

  • Cloudy Bay Cellar Door
  • Hunters wines
  • Saint Clair vineyard
Cloudy Bay
Hunters Wine
Saint Clair Vineyards

While we did sample 10 different wines (shared) we only bought 2 bottles. A very nice 2017 Cloudy Bay Chardonnay, and a 2019 Saint Clair Pinot Gris

We cycled 50km in total and headed home for well-earned rest ready to pack the next morning.

Check out our ride here

The next day we packed and headed for Christchurch. We had booked the Caravan in to have a service and get the fridge and motor movers into good working order. We were staying at my brother Neville’s home with his wife Donna. Neville is a Mr Fix It man and once confronted with a problem will keep at it until he has the solution. The long and the sort of it was that although the caravan battery had been getting enough charge while plugged in to keep the electricals going , it was stuffed. The new battery solved both the fridge & motor mover problems.

Our daughter, Catherine, had gifted us for Christmas, tickets to the Van Goth exhibition in Christchurch. We went along with 100 other socially distancing ticket holders and experienced an amazing show of Van Goth artwork set to music. The show took you on a journey through his life as an artist.

Van Goth Artwork

While in Christchurch Neville & Donna took us out to the McLeans Island mountain bike park for a ride through the pine forest. It was a great ride on well-formed tracks with plenty of twists and turns.

Ann with Neville & Donna at McLeans Island

It had been 10 years since the 2011 Canterbury earthquake were 185 people died. We had ridden through the streets just after the event, but hadn’t been back since with enough time to do it again. the change to the landscape was unbelievable. Streets that had been lined with wrecked and empty houses 10 years ago were now open parkland with trees that had once been in peoples backyards were now creating a haven for bird life.

Community Garden with herbs planted in letterboxes from demolished houses.
Parkland where houses used to be.
What was left of a twisted bridge that used to span the Avon River.
The city centre is starting to come to life again.
 Harley Park didn’t seem to have changed much.

We picked up the caravan after it’s service and continued our southward journey. Ann as navigator found an NZMCA site at Waimate for $3 per night per person.

Check out the McLeans Island ride

Check out our Red Zone ride

The NZMCA site in Waimate was well appointed and very popular. We arrived early enough to allow us to start exploring the local tracks. We came across a sign pointing to the Whitehorse monument. 7km away. This looked very manageable for a couple of retired caravaners. What the sign failed to say was that it was a seven km ride uphill. We climbed to 754 metres.

The view was worth the effort

The next day was a bit fresher so decided to stay another night and continue to look around Waimate

Public health warning
Waimate Wallabies

Ride to the Whitehorse monument

Discover Waimate ride

Cheers

One thought on “South Island Road Trip #1

  1. What a fabulous trip. Can often see so much more on bike a d foot than in the car . A fab way to see the SI, caravan and bike . A home away from home…enjoy , travel safely and looking forward to another blog.
    Enjoy and love to you both, the awesome life of retirement …looking forward to it myself one day, but can’t just yet. 😍😘😁💖

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