The South Island/Julie & Allisters
We had rain all the way down to Wellington & were on a tight schedule to check in for the ferry by 1pm. We made a stop as I needed the loo & we needed cash. I made one wrong turn but made it to the harbour in plenty of time. We qued up & we waited for what seemed like forever! After about 20 minutes a man came up to all the cars & was warning people that the ferry ride was going to be a rough one & told us that if we didn't want to go ahead with it that we didn't have to. After the warning we got straight into the medicine container & got out the sea sick tablets for grant, bless him! When we finally boarded, we parked up then went upstairs & found a comfy place to try & sleep. The journey across to Picton was horrific. We weren't just bobbing up & down like any normal ferry ride, the front was rising up & out of the water so high when it came back down it crashed into the waves & the spray was horrendous. Every crash we felt the shudder & it was quite worrying. I felt so sorry for Grant but he actually felt fine. I on the other hand was crapping myself - thinking that the ship was going to topple over or thought that all the cars were going to roll into one another. We both fell asleep & woke up to a loud crash of water hitting the ferry & the exit doors flung open & a ton of water poured through. We eventually got past the choppy waves & sailed through the calm channel which was amazing! The sun came out a little & everyone was out on deck getting photos of the mountains that surrounded us, the scenery was so amazing. It was quite windy to stay out too long, so got some quick photos & got back inside. An announcement was made to say we were going to be arriving at Picton Harbour in 5 minutes so we made our way back to the car - the lady who we were staying with had told us not to rush down & to stay the night in Picton so we could have a nice drive up in daylight. So we were on the lookout for a cheap place to stay. I seen a backpackers motel so went to see how much - the 1st thing that put me off was the fact it was opposite a grave yard & the most disturbing thing was that the door to the reception office was a coffin door?!?!? I rang the bell but there was no answer & I didn't stick around to wait for anyone to come either. We were straight out of there! 2 minutes down the road Grant notices cabins for 48$ so we pulled in & they had 1 left. It was so lush & cosy - we loved it. We drove to the little town center to get something to eat & ended up driving past all the boats in the harbour, it looked stunning, it was night time & there were little lights all around. We also drove past a row of houses that were built on stilts & had a round conservetary at the front - they looked like something out of a film. When we got back to our cabin, it was nice & warm from where we'd left the radiator on.
The next morning we had a lush lie in, well up until the lady from reception knocked on our door & asked if we knew check out was at 10am as it was 9.30am?!?!? God we were tamping. Then, a couple of minutes later we another knock?!! We were fuming, we got freshened up then packed everything into the car & I handed the key in. The gentleman said they had people arriving in that room that's why they knocked. I really wanted to say something but instead I walked off, couldn't believe the cheek. We drove into town to grab some breaky then were on our journey up to Julie's. The drive was breathtaking, the snowy mountains reflected in the lakes - it was out of this world. Our next stop was somewhere Julie had suggested we visit - Rabbit Island. It was one of the nicest beaches we've seen, tons of drift wood washed up on the sand & millions of sea shells, all different sizes & colours. I found 2 of thee most hugest scallop shells I have ever seen & also a sea biscuit - a flat round fragile shell. We then made our way to Julie's - it was quite a drive from the town, out of the village down a long winding lane, there were fields with cows, sheep and goats everywhere & there were tons of vineyards around. When we arrived we crept up their drive & parked up. We saw a guy working out in the garden wearing what looked like a jail uniform - it was bright orange, we thought he was another woofer but he wasn't, he just needed somewhere to stay whilst having a break from his partner so done a couple of hours work for a room. He was from Pembrokeshire but lived out in New Zealand. He was actually leaving when we arrived which was sort of a relief! We met Julie, she was from California - really nice lady! We got all our bags in & was shown to our room which overlooked the garden & had a door to an outside verander. We were given a tour of the garden, they had so many fruit trees and a river that run right next to their garden with wooden decking & a seat that overlooked the river, it was such a cool feature! We sat down around the table & had a chat & waited for the boys to come home from school, Benji & Matt. Toby was thee cutest toddler! Allister came home not so long after the boys then we all sat around the table & had dinner. Our 1st night in our room was freezing! We even had 2 quilts, 2 blankets & a sheet, an electric blanket & we were still cold!
We woke up at 9am, got some breakfast then Julie went out. Grant headed out to the garden to cut some branches off the apple tree & to prune the kiwi tree that had been 10 years overgrown! It was herendous. I done some hoovering then helped Grant clear away all the branches. Once we were finished Julie suggested we go visit the Resergence. A beautiful place where the water flowed under an entire moutain & out through a cave & over rocks which looked like a miniture waterfall. It was all enclosed by trees that hung over the cave & the river. When we arrived the entrance to the path had a Maori arch way that looke really cool. I walked ahead as Grant got photos of it. I told him to hurry so he run up to me with the camera in his hand & as he reached me he tripped over & took me out!!! We both were led & I realised Grant was hurt so asked him if he was ok but then couldn't hold back the laughter so ended up pissing myself, I literally laughed all the way to the top of the mountain & all the way down. We stopped in town before going back to the house. When we got back we had dinner then Grant made us all chocolate suprise muffins which had cadburys chocolate peices inside, they were delicious - the best thing ever!
The next day we woke up a little late, Julie had left us a note to say she'd be back early afternoon, so we carried on with our jobs then went to town to pay our car tax for the next 9 months. We got back & I looked after Tobi whilst Julie went to rugby practice. Grant was shooting hoops then we both pushed Tobi on the tree-swing which was quite fun. Julie prepared dinner & me & Grant tried keeping the kids entertained by playing on the wii. When dinner was served we got out lemon juice that we had made which Julie & Alister descibed as being devine. We then chilled out in the living room next to the fire for the rest of the evening (The fire I'd made - my 1st fire lol) looking through Julie & Alisters travelling photos. We stayed up quite late listening to their stories, it was a nice end to the evening.
The following day Julie gave us the day off, she kept Benji from school to spend time with him as she thinks he's having a hard time as he's too young?!? So they went out for the morning whilst me, Grant & Tobi stayed at home. We played blocks, brought fire wood inside, played rugby & made more juice. After lunch we drew pictures, it was a fun packed day. It was a Friday night & Julie held a traditional Jewish dinner. She made homemade Chabbat - which is the plated bread loaf and when dinner was served we all passed around a glass of red wine & took a sip and sang a song. Then Julie asked the kids to take a moment to think of someone specific who we could send our prays out to for being ill or being in danger. It was a unique evening - something different.
On the weekend we all had cooked breakfast & done a little work out in the garden, we made the kids lunch as Julie & Alister had gone out to do a weekly food shop. Grant made pizza that evening & then Julie & Alister both went out for the evening & had a babysitter come over to look after the kids - RESULT! We both made the most of it & went out to the garage to play ping pong & basket ball. It was the 1st time since Fiji that we had had time alone together to do something. Sunday morning after breakfast we headed out to the local market where we bought a set of wooden kitchen utensils from an elderly gentleman who hand made them. We ended up talking to him for a while and he gave us a free fiddle wood utensil to take home with us. After a quick browse around the rest of the market we then stopped at an information center where a woman pinpointed out a load of beaches to go to. After speaking to her we then made our way to Kaiteriteri Beach. It was such a lovely area & the two little beaches we walked along were just spectacular. We walked to the top of a little mountain where there was a lookout point. The sun was shining, the water was a perfect shade of blue. We picked up some huge scallop shells & then made our way back. We finished Grants pizza out on the deck next to the river. It was a perfect day for an outside lunch. Later on that evening I made chocolate muffins for the kids for school then chilled out watching a film called the Vinters Luck.
The next day was a long day. Grant woke up at 7am to take the car to the garage. It was due to have a warrent of fitness which is one thing we were't looking foward to paying for. After he'd dropped the car off he picked up a rental chainsaw as Julie & Alister needed a few trees cut down & they wanted us to make the most of the days rental so we had a full 8 hours of work ahead of us. It was such tough work - carrying tree branches & trunks back & forth of the entire garden. It was also frustrating, having twigs slapping into my face, sharp snapped twigs poking into my skin and tearing my clothes. I couldn't wait for the day to be over with! Julie made us lunch then we had to make a trip down to the rental shop to get the blades sharpened & also to post my dads birthday card & gifts home. I really wanted it to be posted as fast as it could be (it was monday and his birthday was saturday) it was way too expensive so I ended up posting it standard (10-14 days). When we got back we done a little more work, Grant cut the branches into little logs & I stacked them. At half 4 we called it a day. We were completely beat. We had dinner then get to bed to watch a film with a cuppa & a biscuit.
On our day off we started off real early and drove right to the top of the island. just as we were leaving we came across a hitch hikker, Kane, we picked him up and dropped him in town. We then stopped at hawks lookout where we walked 10 minutes up a wooden path. grant told me not to look up until we got to the top. When we got there and saw the veiw it was beautiful. We could see all of Motueka. We stopped at an information centre and the suggested that we stop at Pupu springs. So on our way we made a stop and by god it was stunning. It was such a sacred place. The water was blue & you weren't allowed to touch it. We walked along a path that went across the river. It was very unique, they even had these mirrors that reflected the bottom of the lake up to you. We saw where the air bubbles rising from the bottom, it was just breathtaking. We carried on with the drive & made a quick stop at Collingswood - a really tiny village. Our next stop was at a cafe that overlooked Farewell Spit. It was unbelievable - they had a telescope for visitors to use after making a donation to the whale rescue team. When we looked through we could see right to the tip & also saw the lighthouse. It was such a lush clear day. We baught a hot chocolate & a latte. Grant chose to have his latte in a bowl. It was literally a bowl!!! No handle - & it was as big as his head. We then made our way to Cape Farewell. When we arrived there was a farm gate at the entrance. It was locked so I got out to open it & waited for Grant to drive on through so I could then close it - when he drove past, he on purpose drove real fast through this huge puddle and completely soaked me - the sod! We parked up & walked up through the sheep & cow fields. When we got to the top & saw the scenery - it was just amazing, a sea view & the arch that had formed in a cliff. Grant had spotted a seal swimming in the water near the rocks. We tried getting photos & videos but it was too hard. We followed it swimming up to the rocks that lead to a cave & it hung around long enough for us to get a good couple of photos & videos before our camera battery run flat. We stayed for a while, it was adorable. Our next stop was Wharafiki Beach. We had to walk for ages up through fields & over sand, it took us ages. The sun was out & we were both roasting. We eventually got to the beach & it was like something from another world. There were sand dunes surrounding us & seals lying around on the rocks, it was one of the coolest beaches. We got some close up photos by turning the camera on real quick then headed back to the car.Our drive back home apart from getting lost - driving 20k off track because I'd told grant to turn around when we were just around the corner from the junction we should have been at; it was amazing. As it begun to get drunk the sky was a pinky purple colour, the most gorgeous evening sky I'd ever seen. We'd gone all day with hardly any food in our tummys so decided to grab a McDonalds. After a family box we went to the warehouse & got some right bargains. We got in & went to bed straight after telling Julie we were leaving Friday.
We woke up excited to go out on another daytrip but when we got to the kitchen Julie gave us a list of jobs she wanted done?!?!? She left before Grant got the chance to come in & hear the list. He made me call her to find out what we were expected to work - 4/5 hours?!? I said we were confused as we thought she'd given us the day off (as she couldn't afford to feed us). Her answer to that was that as we were leaving Friday so it worked out fair. It turns out that she owed us for an evenings meal as we'd spent money on food the night before where as we'd worked for it & didn't get our food for the work we carried out the day we worked a double shift. We were tamping!!! The fact that she'd made Grant feel aweful too - when she was writing out her shopping list for grub for the week. She mentioned how they were broke & was hinting for us to spend a couple of nights away (so that she wouldnt have to feed us). Plus she gave me a lecture over the fact I'd used their expensive peanut butter!! We had just about enough of them! We thought real hard about what we wanted to do - & that was to leave. How dare she make us feel that way! She was the one who'd signed up to have us there so she should have been welcoming us to everything & not shooing us off. She'd messed us around with babysitting on the friday night too, told us that they wanted us around therefore we couldn't plan to travel down south until saturday; but then when we mentioned it she didn't have a clue & didn't need us so in that case we re-scheduled to leave friday!
On thursday after our shift (that we were fuming about) we drove up to Abel Tasmin National Park over an 11km rocky road to get to the Harwoods Hole which was one of the many scenes from Lord of The Rings! I was so excited about getting there. We also had to walk 45 minutes through the forest which was pretty cool. The forest was called Chetwoods Forest in Lord of The Rings & is the scene where they are hiding from the black knight. When we got to the hole it's not what we had expected but it was spectacular. The hole was huge; we couldn't see to the bottom & were both tempted to look over the edge of the rocks but knew it was way too dangerous. There were tons of trees surrounding the hole & when we looked up it seemed unreal. On our way back about half way - we came across a sign for a view point. We walked 10 minutes but what seemed like an hour, sweating & out of breath up a steep hill. Climbing up & over rocks - finally we reached the top...it was so worth it! The view of the valley, the river, the clouds & mountains was mindblowing! Grant wouldn't stop going on about how spectacular he thought it was. He absolutley loved it there! It was like being ontop of the world! (You'll be able to see from photos what we mean). We got back to the car & got ourselves home where we had our last meal with the family. They had a little suprise for me - a picture of the family with a message at the bottom wishing me a happy birthday. They'd got me 2 packs of fudge & they made me a birthday cake & sung happy birthday to me. It was so cute! On the morning that we were leaving we packed up & said goodbye then started out on the road. We noticed Cain walking so picked him up & dropped him off in town.