Hello one and all. So we are now leaving Blenheim and on our way back to the Able Tasman national park. On the way to the park we stopped outside Nelson again for a few nights in the little village of Wakefield, which we both loved. I love the place so much that I decided that it was the right time to ask Anna if she will marry me, and to my relief she said yes. I walked her to the top of a hill with a lovely view of the area, the moon was just out and I got down on one knee and the rest is history. We were both really happy and it was not until we got to the Able Tasman that we could phone home to let them all know.
The weather the first time we went to the park as crap, so we decided to do it at the end of our road trip, and this had paid off. The sun was out will full and the park was amazing. The park is all sub tropical and the jungle lead to golden sands and crystal clear seas, we were treated to so many amazing views when we walked part of the costal track. The sea was cold but fun to have a splash and the campsite was so expensive for what it was but they had cornered the market, so what could we do, it was either pay and see or not and go back, I am glad we did pay. We only stayed for one night and 2 days and on the second day we left around tea time and headed back in land to free camp for the night, or not as it turned out. We set camp with few other van for the evening at a boat club, and we all through that this would be ok, but within an hour we had a visit for a real old grump of a woman who told us to move on in a very un tactile way, I smiled and said ok and we moved on, but what I really wanted to do was lay into her and tell her to get lost but that would not have got us anywhere.
After the joy of the Able Tasman we headed back to Nelson to catch the Saturday market for the last time and from her we went to Picton to catch the ferry back to the south island. Anna and I had booked to do a dolphin swim in Picton, after our last one we booked was cancelled due to bad weather. The day of the dolphin swim was perfect, clear skies and the sea was a flat as a mill pound. The trip set our early in the morning, and the views that we got of the Marlborough sounds were fantastic as the sun started to raise lighting up the hills in a warm orange colour. After a short time the pod was found and the boat followed them a good 45 minutes, giving us all a good amount of time to take photos from the boat. After a time the people that were swimming with the dolphins suited and booted up and jumped in. The swimmers including Anna all had to make silly noises to keep the dolphins interested. It looked so much fun what they were doing but I decided that I would stay on the boat to take some photos, and I got some great ones. The whole experience was amazing and I was really glad that we had managed to get to go with the weather being amazing for us.
After the dolphins we spent the rest of the day relaxing and having coffee/beers with another couple that we met on the trip, which was very relaxing and lots of fun. In the evening we drove to the ferry and took the evening boat back to the north island, and we said fair well to the south island.
We spent the following day in Wellington and had a good look at National museum where we sore the only giant squid on display in the world, which was good and we also looked at the Monet exibishion that they had going on. The paintings were good, but not to my liking and there was far too many people in the gallery and not enough information about Monet.
Over the next few days we travels back to Auckland camping at good spots that we found on the way south. We ended back in Auckland around 3 weeks before we had to fly to LA and we had arranged to meet a few people that were interested in buying our van from us when we left the country. The second family that we showed it took loved the van and gave us a deposit for the van, which was great, this meant that we could now enjoy the last ten days or so on the road and not worry about selling the van when we got back to Auckland.
For the next ten days we had decided that we would like to go back to one of our favourite places in the North Island called Otamure Beach which is just past Whangarei. So we headed up that way and were treated to fine weather and we even found a few more amazing placed, one of wich is the massive peninsula that is by Whangarei. We took a drive right to the very end of the Peninsula and when on an amazing short walk that gave us more great view out to see and of the steep cliffs. After the Peninsula we headed to Otamure beach for 2 days and we just relaxed and enjoyed the great beach and neighbouring beaches. After the 2 day was up we decided to head up to a camp that was by the memorial that was built for the rainbow warrior when it was sunk. The drive to the site was not to dad but there was bad news once we got to the camp, the camp must have changed owners and was now really expensive, so much so that we could only afford to stay one night and then after that we headed back to Otamure for the last few days of the trip. On the way back to Auckland we had are to final night in the first ever powered camp that we had stayed in on our trip, the site was just outside Auckland in a place called Muriwai Beach, we used this camp to pack up all our bits from the van and give her one final good clean for the people that wanted her. It is amazing how long this took us, more or less all day and we were both amazed with how much stuff we had in the van. For our final night we had our favourite meal that we would like to cook in the van, steak, yum yum yum.
On our final day we set off in good time to drop the van off in south Auckland, and as soon as we got to their house I knew that something was wrong, and it was, it turned out that they were just time wasters and had done one over on us and now did not want the van, s***. So we now only had less than 2 weeks to get this sorted before we left. It was lucky for us that we managed to sell the van just 3 days from when we were meant to leave, we had to drop the price to do this not we did ok because we had the deposit that the people had done one over on us had given to us, they wanted it back, but what is a deposit for!!
Apart from the stress of selling the van we had just a few things to sort before we left New Zealand, one on which was to post a load of stuff home, about 10kg each, there was just no way that it would fit into our bags, and even if it had we would not have been able to pick them up. This was very satisfying to do, sending stuff home, it felt very censing. The second job was to get Anna ring sorted, so after a few meeting with our silversmith friend Carily we came up with a design and we got the wheels in motion and it would be derived by Carily on our last night in Auckland. We went for a white gold shank with a 28c gold leaf on with a diamond set in white gold in the centre of the leaf, it was hard to guess what it would look like, and we would just have to wait.
The last thing that we both wanted to do was to go up the sky tower in Auckland to get 360 degrees few of the city. The tower is a massive 328 meters high and the top viewing platform that you can get to is 220 meters and believe me that is really high, a bit to high for me. The views were a real treat and you could see all around the city. We went at the end of the day and we got to see the sun low in the sky which was great because it cast a lovely light all over the city. There was an out rim to the tower that you could walk on that was all thick glass, Anna went on it but I could not, I was very happy near the hand rail. The amazing thing about the tower is the lifts, they move so quick, they will get you to the top of the tower from the ground in 40 seconds and the glass lift travels on the outside of the town, it feels so strange going so quick and so high, all surrounded by glass. The tower was well worth the money and I will never forget the felling of being so high, I was sure I could feel the tower moving in the wind.
For our last night we had a big meal at Toby and Joes, with the girls and Carily and Rich, it was so much fun and this was the night that Carily gave me the final ring for Anna and it looked great, I was so pleased that it had come out so well. So for the second time and to embrace Anna I got down on one knee and asked her again then gave her the ring, which she lover, we were both so happy. For the meal we had Lamb and it was great and lots of drink, by the end of the night I think that I had had, wine, red and white, beer, gin and port, as you can guess I was a bit rusty the next day. The meal was so much fun and at the end of the night we had to say our good byes’ to Carily, Rich and Toby which was sad but with the wonders of modern technology it will be easy to stay in contact with them all.
Our flight that was the next day was not until the late afternoon, which was great, we had all day to pack and relax, we walk on the beach and had coffee in the local cafe, and later in the afternoon we set off with Joe and Phoebe to the airport. It was all very strange leaving New Zealand and very sad but we have had the most amazing time and made some great friends on the way and it was now time to have a little look at LA and Mexico.