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With more time on my hands these days, this gives me something to do. I hope you get some pleasure, along with me, in sharing this new stage of my life.

Friday, April 13, 2018

New Zealand 2018. Christchurch to Dunedin Days 1 to 3

Part 1

This is the first 3 days of a 20 day holiday in New Zealand.
Lynn had visited New Zealand in March 1967 and was keen to see what had changed, if anything, in the 50 year gap. 
We were met at Christchurch Airport and taken to the Heartland Hotel Cotswold in Christchurch where we were to stay for first night. After settling in to our room Lynn and I walked into town to do a bit of sightseeing on foot. That night,at dinner, we met with the other 46 fellow travellers whom we were to travel with on the bus. We were a pretty diverse group, 6 from Spain, 6 from USA, 8 from UK, 2 Polish speaking (1 from UK and 1 from USA), 1 Italian, 2 ex UK's living in NZ, 1 ex NZ'er living in Aust and the rest from Aust (I think I got that right). Also at dinner we were told by a Grand Pacific Tour's tour coordinator,amongst other thing, about the seat rotation system, wake up, bags ready, breakfast and bus departure times. Usually we got a wake up phone-call at 6AM, bags outside rooms and breakfast at 7AM and bus departure at 8AM.
The next morning we met our bus driver, sorry, Coach Captain, Warren, who would be our driver and knowledgeable guide as well as lost property manager, head counter, optional tour booking officer, luggage unloader, missing passenger officer, ticket distributor for included attractions and the whatever-else-needed-attending person for the next 9 days on the South Island. 
Due to the unusually good weather, we had excellent views of Mount Cook which can be blocked out by thick cloud. We had a couple of drops of misty rain at Oamaru but nothing to stop us from doing a walk around the 'old' town.

For your information all the photos have been edited, some, you will notice, more than others.

 (PbL) Photo by Lynn

Videos have to be watched on this page 
 click / tap on photos to enlarge.

Inside the 'Cardboard Church'.

New Zealand Fur Seal

Wednesday 7th

Sunrise at Sydney (Mascot) Airport.

"The propellers have fallen off".

We had a practise bus ride before leaving Sydney.

Wing tips over Botany Bay.
The airport runway, jutting into the Bay, can be seen in the center of the photo.

I think we have flown too far south.
Clouds looking like the South Pole.

We have reached 'The Land of the Long White Cloud'.

I wasn't sure if this was NZ, no sheep.

Yes, there they are.

It was hard to get this shot of our plane landing.

Christchurch Airport

Now to see what has changed in 50 years since my last visit.

We knocked on the door but Jane wasn't home.

      Time for a walk into town. 

Some things hadn't changed.

           This would cause a bit of 'pinging' if used today.         

All the young men of Christchurch drive down Victoria St in their hot Daihatsu Charades,
leaning out of the windows they say real cool things to the hoes on the footpath, like 'Aahhh Kia ora'
............but not between the hours of 10PM and 5AM

I could tell by the 'glint' her eye she was pleased to see me.

Victoria Clock Tower was once part of a memorial for the 60th Jubilee of Queen Victoria's Reign. 

They lock Marilyn and Elvis up at night.

Queen Victoria's Dilemma.

Chinese New Year in the Christchurch Casino.

Year of the Dog. 
Looks like our son's dog, Frank.

One of 99 giraffe sculptures scattered around the city
as part of the Christchurch Stands Tall public art series.

Floral Clock

    The historic cast iron Hamish Hay Bridge, in Victoria Square, dates back to 1864.   

Whoooa, nearly got it.   
(see photo of what it is at the end)

Cabbage-palm (Cordyline australis) planted by early settlers along the Avon River.

Cabbage-palm (Cordyline australis) planted by early settlers along the Avon River.

Where once there stood tall buildings.
Cleaning up is still going on after the 2011 and 2014 earthquakes.

A tram passes the damaged Christ Church Cathedral.

Uplifting messages are all around the city.

A tram passes the damaged Christ Church Cathedral.

Christ Church Cathedral, built between 1864 and 1904.
Partially destroyed in the 2014 earthquake.

Christ Church Cathedral before the damage.

Christ Church Cathedral, built between 1864 and 1904.
          Partially destroyed in the 2014 earthquake.               

Christ Church Cathedral, built between 1864 and 1904.
         Partially destroyed in the 2014 earthquake.           

'I Was Born Unarmed To Kill Time'
'Before Time Flew It Was An Egg;
Going Nowhere'
I wish I had taken photos of more of these little quotes that were near the Cathedral.

    Neil Dawson's 'Chalice' sculpture in Christchurch's Cathedral Square.       

The Chief Post Office, completed in 1878. 
Until the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, it was a Visitor Information Centre but has since been inaccessible.

The 'Rise from Rubble' mural is painted on the side of the Ibis Hotel by street artist Brandon Warrell.

'See You In Hell'
Not if I see you first.

Hereford Chambers - known more recently before the earthquakes as
Mike Pero House - was the home of Mancini's Coffee.

A mural created by Brisbane artist Sofles.

The 'Cardboard' Cathedral in Christchurch. 
It is the world’s only cathedral made substantially of cardboard. It was designed
by architect Shigeru Ban, seats around 700 people and was opened in August 2013

         The exposed cardboard tubes holding up the roof.           

Be seated.

Inside looking out.

             Flower garden outside the church.               

Mural  by artist Richard “Pops” Baker.

Hide and...........

.......Seek by Wongi Wilson

Looking down New Regent St (west side). 
               Built as a private development in the early 1930s with 40 shops in Spanish Mission architectural style.           

                   Looking down New Regent St (east side).               

Street art by Askew

This was Christchurch's tallest office tower, ‎23 storeys, the Pricewaterhouse Coopers
building, until it was demolished due to the earthquake.

Now filled with water since cyclone Ita in 2014.

Street art by ADNATE

The still "broken and unusable"  Christchurch Town Hall.

Teeth Mural by TILT

           For a second there I thought we had walked too far.             

I saw a few buildings with this type of structural reinforcement.

                  Who's been a naughty boy?                 

Thursday 8th

Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament (Christchurch Basilica) damaged by the the earthquake of 22 February 2011.

Christchurch Basilica) before the earthquake.

Where there were office blocks there are now parks and.............

........car parks.

More reconstruction going on in Christchurch.

Canadian muralist Kevin Ledo's work pays homage to Maori elder Whero O Te Rangi Bailey.

Street art by RONE.

Chinese New Year decorations.

Bridge of Remembrance. 
Stone bridge with a sculpted triumphal memorial arch to those who died in World War I.

Canterbury Museum

Canterbury Museum

Street art by ROA on the Canterbury Museum.

The Christchurch Arts Centre is located in the neo-gothic former University of Canterbury buildings.

The Peacock Fountain in Christchurch Botanic Gardens.
Time to hit the open road. Crossing over the Ashburton River.

Sheep, wind-breaks, fodder sheds and green pastures, we are on our way.

Crossing over the Rangitata River. 
The rivers are wide but only shallow with a lot of water, apparently, running through the gravelly riverbed.

You are never too far from the mountains in the South Island.

Lake Tekapo

Church of the Good Shepherd, opened in 1935.
All the stones used to build the walls were gathered from within a five mile radius of the site.

View from inside the church.

Sheepdog Monument.
Close by the Church of the Good Shepherd is a sheepdog statue, a tribute to the hardy
dogs “without the help of which the grazing of this mountain country would be impossible”.

Church of the Good Shepherd.

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo Village.
Lynn said that 50 years ago the only thing here was the church and that the village has spoilt the whole atmosphere.

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo

             " I'm here "               

Lake Tekapo

From our lunch seat, Lake Tekapo.

University of Canterbury Mt John Observatory.

Air Safaris Tekapo

The mountains rise up steeply over here.

What is this? 
It's cattle feed storage. The grass is cut, put into a pile, then is compacted and covered
with plastic to protect it from oxygen and the elements. The fermentation of the
grass allows storability for 1-2 years (or more) without any refrigeration.

Man and dogs herd the sheep.

Lake Pukaki outlet gates.

                View over Lake Pukaki to Mount Cook.                   

Lake Pukaki and Mount Cook.

Lake Pukaki (outlet gates in background).

The canal that runs into Lake Ruataniwha from Lake Pukaki.

Boundary Stream (they have rivers and streams over here, no creeks) on the Mount Cook Rd.

Gravel slopes, along the Mount Cook Rd.

Mount Cook dominates.

Twins Stream

Glentanner Holiday Park Mount Cook  (comfort stop).

Glentanner Holiday Park Mount Cook.

Glentanner Holiday Park Mount Cook.

                 Joy flights at Glentanner Holiday Park Mount Cook.               

Mount Cook with sheep, from Glentanner Holiday Park.

Rugged scenery along the Mount Cook Rd.

Rugged scenery along thr Mount Cook Rd.

The weather is still on our side with no cloud covering the high peaks.

I think Warren said this was a glacier.

Views from Aoraki Mount Cook Village of Mount Cook.
You can get some idea of the scale by looking at the cars on the road.

                     My Italian hat, although out of shape, still keeps the sun off.                   

Views from Aoraki Mount Cook Village.

Mount Cook

Farrah wanted a photo taken.

                     So did we.  View from Aoraki Mount Cook Village.           
(Photo by other)

               What looks like smoke is the result of a glacier collapsing.  The loud rumbling sound drew our attention to it.         

The edge of a glacier.

Views from Aoraki Mount Cook Village.

Heading back on Mount Cook Rd.

Lake Pukaki coming into view.

Bridge over Bush Stream.

Looking back to Mount Cook over Twins Stream.

Clouds over Lake Pukaki

Lake Pukaki

Crossing the canal that runs into Lake Ruataniwha from Lake Pukaki.

Red Cat Biplane Flights, near Twizel.

Old Iron Bridge over the Ohau River.

Lake Ruataniwha outlet to the Ohau River.

High Country Salmon farm, on Lake Ruataniwha.

Making hay while the sun shines.

Crossing over the Ahuriri River near Omarama.

The 'Red Cat' coming into Omarama Glider Airport.

Omarama where we spent the night at the Heritage Gateway Hotel.

Friday 9th

Lake Benmore

Benmore Dam is the largest dam within the Waitaki power scheme
and is largest earth-filled water-retaining structure in New Zealand.

Benmore Dam

Benmore Dam

View from Benmore Dam.

Home sweet home.

Oamaru Lookout Point

The Otago Shags are on Sumpter Wharf, which can be seen jutting out behind the tree on the lower right.

A collection of extremely rare Otago Shags (black and white) and in their dark form,
known as the Bronze Shag which nest here on on the abandoned Sumpter Wharf.

St Luke's Anglican Church in Oamaru.

(center left) Former Bank of New South Wales building, 1883.   
(right) This building was originally built in 1871 for the Hood and Shennan Drappery
but was remodelled for the AMP society in 1886.

Oamaru Historic District.

             Steampunk HQ               


I think he's been waiting a long time.

Unexploded ordnance.



Who wouldn't want to be a fly on the wall.

If he catches one it's sure to be big.
Now the Waitaki District Council building, the clock tower
was originally part of the Oamaru Chief Post Office, built in 1883.

          Harbourside. Oamaru             

Oamaru Breakwater

Jetty and outer-harbour at Oamaru.

Friendly Bay Playground

Friendly Bay Playground

Friendly Bay Playground

Friendly Bay Playground

Old rail bogies and warehouses.

Old warehouses in the harbour area.

Seen better days.

If doors could talk.

Oamaru Historic District.

Oamaru was established in the late 19th century.
Beautiful white stone structures, using local limestone, were built in the Victorian style.

The nicely restored 'Miss Purple'. Realm runner.

Wall decorations, Oamaru.

Window and door decorations, Oamaru.

           Harbour Board Building             

The Harbour Board Building must have a big bathtub.

"Excuse me sir, but would you happen to have a shoe-horn I could borrow?"

                 Ready for a 'not too quick' getaway.               

                Approaching Shag Point.             

 'The love Shack'Welcome to Dunedin.   

1872 Gothic style, Knox Church, is the largest in the city.

(left) St. Paul's Cathedral, Neo-Gothic Anglican church, consecrated in 1919. 
(right) In the grand baroque Dunedin Centre is the Town Hall and Municipal Chambers.

                     Looking down Stuart St towards the rail station, from The Octagon.               

The highly ornamental Dunedin Railway Station.

Dunedin Railway Station.

Dunedin Railway Station.

Dunedin Railway Station.

JA 1274 was built at Dunedin’s Hillside railway workshops in 1956.
This was the last steam locomotive commissioned by New Zealand Railways.

Dunedin Law Courts

Custom made V8 4-5 seater motorcycle by Experience Dunedin.

The Security Building was constructed circa 1918.

Wall decorations at The Corner Store Cafe where we had lunch.
Took this photo for Ian.

Just a reminder that we are in New Zealand.

"Look what I just laid"

I think they were going to be the entertainment in the 'Strip Club'.

The main foyer ceiling of the Regent Theatre.

Allied Press Ltd occupy this building.

Former Dunedin Police Station & Prison.

Red-brick building completed in 1896 & operating as a working prison for men & women until 2007.

                  Hoopers Inlet on the Otago Peninsula.                 
(we had some rain earlier on)

We stopped here just for a 'Kodak Moment'.

Looking down to Pipikaretu Beach.

           Taiaroa Head Lighthouse from the Waiwhakaheke Seabird Lookout.           

                Taiaroa Head Lighthouse from the Waiwhakaheke Seabird Lookout.           

We did see an albatross.

The rocks where the seals were resting.

New Zealand Fur Seal

                     This young one had a bit of a climb to reach mum.............               

          ...........but it made it.           

Now for a feed.

               Young ones enjoying the pool.           

See how long you can rest your head on a rock.


                 "Would you like to take me home?"                   

A reminder of WWII on the sea-cliff.

A buker of a different kind.
The viewing hide to observe the Yellow-eyed Penguin, which is thought to be one of the world's rarest penguin species.

Yellow-eyed Penguins, one standing, one lying down.

Yellow-eyed Penguin exiting the ocean.

Yellow-eyed Penguin heading for home.

A keen birdwatcher in action.

Well what do you know, it's Lynn.

Not all the seals survive to be adults. A young Black-backed Gull helps tidy up the beach.

More WWII bunkers.

The Royal Albatross Centre, where we didn't go on this "wildlife' tour. 
But wait, there's a Northern Royal Albatross flying.

We returned to Dunedin along the windy, but picturesque, Portobello Rd.

Painted, with a local theme, bus stop shelters.

Fishermen's (not to be lived in) huts, along the numerous bays.

                Dunedin's green belt.                 
The 'evil-eyed' (he was really a nice bloke) Haggis man. 
              Chris, Kay and Vincent were his happy helpers.             

The smell when the Haggis was cut nearly cleared the room.
           Once I had a taste (I enjoyed this one) I couldn't smell it any more.         

        Now we really know what Scotsmen wear under their kilts. 
         Kay wasn't going to show.         

                 Sláinte mhaith  - 'good health'                 

Some of the birds seen

c/w from left:   Royal Albatross,  Yellow-eyed Penguin,  Paradise Shelduck (male), 
New Zealand Scaup (female,this was the mystery bird diving under the water in Christchurch), 
Red-billed Gull,  Black-backed Gull with young one.

Cameras:  Canon PowerShot SX60 HS, Sony DSC-W690 and Samsung S5 (phone)


  1. What a varied and interesting tour. Thanks for sharing, Bill.

    1. You're very welcome catmint (it's been a while). The NZ trip was most enjoyable, although a lot of time was spent on the bus. After the 'official' trip had finished we had time to visit 3 gardens of friends we had made on previous trips. Hope you enjoy the rest of the trip as I get to 'blog' them.