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2nd Three Weeks in New Zealand – this time Greytown

Posting this a few weeks after our trip is over and we are back home – mowing lawn, weeding, finding leaks from the rain that visited more than ever whilst away and left our “garden” as an overgrown plot for a Steven King movie. The front yard – wow! – so in a fit of overwhelming embarrassment we have been trying to make our property appear as if someone has once-upon-a-time lived here. Nevertheless, here is our second stay with Narda’s writing in italics and Terrell’s – being me – in whatever is not italics. Cheers.

Sunday 9th – Left our wonderful stay @ Riverpark Drive, Kuratau on Lake Taupo 8.45 am in search of our next house-exchange in Greytown (they say Greytown-Wellington though it is a couple of hours drive through mountains between the two places – perhaps it is a New Zealand thing to lump places together).

This would be our last drive up the hill through the Tongariro Alpine crossing – National Park – where we could see one last time the three andesitic volcanoes at the heart of the park, the mountains Tongariro, Ngauruhoe (the Hobbit’s Mt Doom) and Ruapehu, forming the southern limits of the Taupō Volcanic Zone, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Unfortunately, there was a lot of cloud cover so the volcanos could barely see us, but we did get glimpses on the way out of the National Park on our journey toward the sea. We stopped at, Manawatū-Whanganui. Of course, we drank the coffee we brought from home at the station café. Such cheap-skates.

We took a box load of photos along the way of Mount Ruapehu, and they all looked about the same – I could zoom in a bit to see snow but for the most part, bloody clouds…

And a six-second YouTube video of Mount Ruapehu in our rear-view mirror. https://youtu.be/m8UqKhLNGq8

We packed up and hit the road again. National Park is actually the name of a snow resort town an hour up the road, literally. A nice spot for coffee.

Our next stop was Whanganui, where Leon’s sister lived. A nice town, with a river through the middle.

We checked into the Grand Hotel, only to find no booking. It turned out to be my fault; I had used the wrong date. But they had room for us, in fact the hotel was just about empty. A shortage of cleaning staff, all the doors to rooms were open and left unserviced. We had to wait a bit, but we got a decent room, old, but the beds were comfy and it was really quiet.

Our dinner was amazing. I had pork ribs, so good.

We popped into the Makatote Rail viaduct rest area beside the highway of life we were exploring. The bridge was built in 1905 which I thought was cool as that is the year my father was born, not that there is much more association with him as he was in New York, and this is not NY otherwise what a synchronicity. Also, (not linked with my father) The Makatote River, below the Makatote Rail viaduct, is home to the Whio (or Blue Duck) which is unique to New Zealand. We did not see any such duck, but I took lots of photos of the bridge.

We even found someone who would take a snapshot of us in front of the Makatote Rail viaduct.

See our 15-second videoclip @ https://youtu.be/LyHB-wNo13g

Makatote Rail viaduct rest area

Our room @ the Grand Hotel was not ready until 4.30 pm so we walked around Wanganui for two hours The Grand Hotel https://thegrandhotel.co.nz/   was once a grand hotel – now it needed more work than our “garden” after a few months away. Walking around the hotel all the room’s doors were open and peeking in we saw they were not cleaned yet. Probably had not been for quite some time. A dude at the desk said they had to get someone in to do our room, apparently it has been difficult to get workers post-covid. We heard this throughout our stay in New Zealand. It is the same in Australia. Not sure why, but there are a lot of jobs out there not filled. We were told that due to the high cost of living in New Zealand – inflation and all (of course, Fox not-news blathers on that it is President Joe Biden’s fault, high-inflation all over the world) folks are looking for the highest paid job available and cleaning probably is down the list. I had a very good pasta dinner and since I am taking a week off from measuring my sugar levels, I do not have diabetes for a week. Yumm! Yippie!!

Found a really neat place to sit – now I want one like this at home – if anyone has one – we will buy it for a nominal fee minus shipping. Thanks.

Some photos from the town of Wanganui. It is a good-looking city at the mouth of the Whanganui River. As you would know, Whanganui is the ancestral home of the Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi and other Whanganui Māori tribes. Slideshow of several wall-art pieces:

Saw this dude – told him he looked cool – he said it was heritage month– sure that was something we should have followed up on, but we didn’t but you can at https://www.whanganui.govt.nz/Your-Council/News-Events/Events/Whanganui-Heritage-Month-2022

Last photo of Whanganui. This alley looked worth exploring but we didn’t, if you do, let us know in the comments below (ha ha as if there was such a place on this blog).

We did the number one tourist thingy in town – The Durie Hill Elevator which is a public transportation elevator. It connects Anzac Parade beside the Whanganui River with the suburb of Durie Hill. It is ranked by Heritage New Zealand as a Category 1 Historic Place and is New Zealand’s only public underground elevator. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durie_Hill_Elevator see our 2-minute video @ https://youtu.be/_rnsR-edVrc  It is actually part of the metro system – like a bus ride to the sky (if going up) or toward the centre of the earth (if headed down). The image below is my photo of their photo of the building of the Durie Hill Elevator. Once at the bottom there is a long tunnel (213 metres) see me in the tunnel below with other captives. Then you get to the elevator door at the inner end, ring the bell and, if you’re lucky, you’ll be greeted by an attendant who will press the button that sends the lift shuddering up 66 metres to the top of Durie Hill, where you’ll emerge to wide views all around — and a chance to get even higher. (not by smoking some pot but by climbing to the top of another tower which we did – well I did – Narda is not too keen on heights higher than the top of my hat – see our video).

In the evening after our fine high-carb dinner we went over to the coast to watch the sunset. Parking at Castlecliff Beach (ranked No.16 on Tripadvisor among 37 attractions in Whanganui.) we walked along the shore. The black sand beach was amazing – I suppose it is volcanic rock ground to sand over millions of years. I asked everyone in the room just now, and she didn’t know if that is true, but it seems so. We also learned heaps about what to do if a tsunami came at us as we were grooving upon the shore.

wood drifts up on to the shore where folks gather it and make fires in the evening. Here is what it would look like a few hundred years ago if I were to be burnt at the stake for being a vegetarian.

Our next exchange

Our new house is amazing. Huge. It’s a farm outside of Greytown.

They have a friendly cat called Tilly and six chooks to feed. The chooks can only be accessed through the back paddock which includes close contact with many cows and three bulls. 

Heard on the news on the radio in the car. “Suspected arson attacks on several buildings in the countryside behind Greytown. This happened at 4am yesterday.”

 The next day I am standing in front of the chocolate counter in the local supermarket, eavesdropping. There is a tall bearded scruffy young man nearby talking to an older woman, perhaps his mother. 

“I finally bought a house, it cost me $550,000.”

“Oh wow, that’s really great”

“Hey and did you hear the news about the fires?”

“Yes?”

“That was me. I was trying to put it out with my hose, and I couldn’t. I rang the fire brigade and they sent five appliances”.

NO COMMENT 😆

Little update: we saw in the local paper that they have charged a woman with arson. So much for my story. Moral: you can’t always believe what you hear in the supermarket!

A nice drive yesterday on some unsealed roads using our loaner vehicle, a new Mitsubishi Triton. Drives a treat. We might have to upgrade to one of these.

Behind our property –

This is the bike path leading into Greytown. A nice historical place, Terrell will fill in the details. I bought four books at the second-hand shop which I did not really need but will read. 

Greytown… I am about to add a bit to Narda’s writing – photos. On Greytown. We will come back to her in a moment (if you are a fast reader – or like to scan past my fast pass ramblings.) I recall Narda commenting sometime over the past couple of decades, perhaps more than once; “you’re not as funny as you think you are”. Damn that hurts – well here goes.

Firstly, we were and are surprised that folks around New Zealand have heard of Greytown. Just a very small town, 2500 plus us and Tilly the cat. It was awarded the title of New Zealand’s Most Beautiful Small Town 2017 (pop less than 5,000). After doing a deep dive into how many cities were up for this award, I discovered there were in total, 44 cities in New Zealand – a lot have more than 5,000 – bottom line not too many with less than 5,000. Nevertheless, Greytown is a tidy town. The place claims to have the most complete main street of Victorian architecture in the country, and of being the first planned inland town. It is a fact lots of people flock here on weekends – a very touristy town. We love the place. Not that we spent much time in the actual town; we lived on a farm ten-minute drive away or by bike (which we did once) a half-hour (Google says 12-minutes but what do they know?) – or closer to 45-minutes as we stopped a bit (often) as the bikes were not electric. See slideshow of us doing the one-off one-time only – bike ride into town. Our excuse? The bikes were not the right size.

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The Cobblestone Museum, Greytown.

Much of Greytown is still as it was in the late 1800s. You can do a heritage walk down main street and the houses (still occupied) have plaques with their history on them. 

The museum itself has a “town” of relocated buildings set up, full sized with buildings, full of furniture and artifacts

My favourite place in Greytown is their little museum, the Cobblestones Early Settler Museum. Many of the original buildings from the 1800s have been dragged into an area with a town square giving a feeling of being in the actual town when it was the actual town. As we were the only ones there, getting there close to closing then asked to leave and returning the next day we had free run of the place. A must see is our 2:49 (that’s minutes not hours) video clip for this https://youtu.be/zn9uDbRwuuQ  with Narda playing an old organ from back when and me teaching a class (Narda being the only student – all the others had left as I was so incoherent – or was it the accent?).

Cobblestones Early Settler Museum. – this is one video you do not want to miss – really!

The old teacher me came out and I had to give a lesson in math –

I tried telling one of my favourite jokes to Narda…though in full transparency – I had forgotten the punch line.

We made a quick stop at the dentist…

And an even quicker stop in the emergency room…

And of course, you are invited for tea with us as we are now preparing it for your special visit.

And that was our visit to the old town museum.

We also caught up with our previous hosts in a coffee shop in Masterton, half an hour up the road. Very nice people who generously let us use their car to get to our new place. We drove the two cars to the coffee shop, and then were able to return theirs. Interesting conversation. It’s always nice to meet our hosts, but often not possible with trying to line up flights. 

On Friday we drove to Bogey Bay to check out the wet-lands.

This is an amazing beach in the town of Pirinoa. Again black sand and lots of timber washed up. The story we heard was that loggers let the unwanted timber wash down rivers into the sea, then it washes up into the beaches with the tides.

Slideshow of the wetlands below

This is an amazing beach in the town of Pirinoa. Again black sand and lots of timber washed up. The story we heard was that loggers let the unwanted timber wash down rivers into the sea, then it washes up into the beaches with the tide.

Friday 14th Boggy Bay (Boggy Pond and Wairio Wetland are on the eastern side of Lake Wairarapa, 22 kilometres out of Featherston. Access is from Parera Road, off Kahutara Road.), Lake Ferry, Okorewa Lagoon, Kaaje Ōnoke, Ōnoke Spit, Palliser Bay, town of Pirinoa, Ruamahanga River, Lake Wairarapa, Western Lake Road to Featherston, Western Lake Road

Ōnoke Spit is a four-kilometre-long stretch of sand infamous for its wild, windy weather. Coupled with the dramatic scenery this makes for an exhilarating visitor experience! 

Named Ōnoke because of the worms found there, it was a significant gathering place of local hapū that were dependant on tuna (eels) for food and their economy. Huge numbers of tuna would gather at the lake mouth between January and April, during the heke tuna (eel migration to the ocean to breed). Around this time Ōnoke Spit would naturally extend to block off the opening to the sea, and the water would back up causing the lake levels to rise. This was known as Hinurangi. 

According to legend, Rakai Uru, a totara log that was the kaitiaki (guardian) of the lake was responsible for this seasonal closing.  When the tuna migration was approaching he travelled out to sea, and the mouth of the lake closed behind him.  

Just west of Lake Ōnoke is Kiriwai lagoon, asmall dune wetland and the site of an early Māori fishing village. Kiriwai is the name of one of the waka belonging to Kahungunu. When Chiefs arrived at South Wairarapa, they gave the waka to Rangitāne in exchange for lands on which to settle. 

Lake Ferry is a cute little settlement on the shores of Lake Ōnoke, with breathtaking panoramic views from the lake out to sea. Sometimes wild and windy, this spectacular spot is the backdrop to a fascinating history. 

Lake Ferry was one of the first places settled by Māori in Wairarapa. Ōkorewa lagoon was a fishing village at the mouth of the Ruamāhanga River, and a significant focal point for the harvesting and trade of tuna (eels) and other fish. Tuna were the backbone of the economy for Wairarapa hapū (sub tribes). Since European settlement, numbers of tuna and other native species have dropped dramatically because of flood protection schemes and changes in land use throughout the Ruamāhanga catchment.

Lake Ferry got its current name from the ferry service set up in 1850 by the owner of the first hotel. He could only get a hotel licence if he provided a ferry service across Lake Ōnoke to enable travellers to journey up the Ruamāhanga River. 

As you walk to nearby Ōkorewa lagoon from Lake Ferry you will see community plantings, led by South Wairarapa Biodiversity Group, designed to increase habitat for native wildlife. Native birds often seen in the area include poaka (pied stilt), matuku moana (white-faced heron), pīhoihoi (pipit), and pūtangitangi (paradise shelduck). 

the internet
Our 2.20-minute clip https://youtu.be/cQnuUIoFO4Y  explains this view of the Tasman Sea from Palliser Bay with the stop at Boggy Bay much better than I can with words – but let me. try.

We were having a lovely drive through the wetlands when suddenly there was an electric line across the road – no warning and we had driven down this narrow road for half an hour or more. Sign said something about cows (the small sign said ‘stock on road STOP’ I saw it afterwards.) So, some farmer decided to rope off an area for his/her – their (etc. pronouns) cows to have a feed without a warning for those of us who had decided to drive around Boggy Pond. Turning around and going back to New Zealand’s concept of a main road (two-narrow lanes – like driving through Ireland on those narrow roads – or Holland or Scotland…we’ve done them too) was OK the issue was that I tried to pick up the wire across the road before realizing it was electric. I did get a shock and having a pacemaker/defibrillator stuck in my chest I was lucky to be here writing this and you are lucky being the reader. We are equal lucky folks.

Beautiful countryside to the bay (Palliser Bay), we stopped at the Pirinoa General Store and bought a bottle of water and had sandwiches made this morning at home (big spenders). A lovely spot in the world.

 The shore is fun to be on – being a windy day, we did not go up to the Cape Palliser Light House. There is a pub but we didn’t go in at Lake Ferry (Situated on the shores of Lake Onoke, overlooking Palliser Bay, the Lake Ferry Hotel is one of the oldest licensed hotels in New Zealand. https://www.lakeferryhotel.co.nz/). Some pics of the lagoon/Lake Ononke – Tasman Sea…

We made lots of short trips from our home on a farm in Greytown. Really different for us being so rural. Aside of feeding the  chooks every day and getting such fresh organic eggs negotiating daily living with a cat that we were a guest of and going for walks we would go and talk to the cows every day. Here is a short click of Narda singing to them ‘Narda serenades the herd’ https://youtu.be/3ngFu4BOoWU

Here is a short click of Narda singing to them ‘Narda serenades the herd’

Just a note about Tilly. Not having a cat together (past 20+ years) and Narda never having a cat (I grew up with lots of them in Clifton Park, New York, and my children and I always had a cat or two in the 1980s and 1990s) we were not used to such a critter. Tilly had her routines and was very strict with them. I left her inside one night thinking that she would like that but somehow, she managed to open doors – get into the bedroom and meow in my ear at two am so I put her outside. She liked to be outside at night – hunting. Her owners said she was a good hunter and would catch a rabbit. So, rabbit-breath would meow loudly to come inside about 7 am beg to be picked up and spoken too for a bit then she would go into a closet in the hallway and sleep amongst towels until noonish when she would spend the rest of the day in a window sleeping until late afternoon when she would follow us around and meow a lot until she was picked up. When we would go away for a day or two, she was quite happy to see us and would talk non-stop probably telling us off for not being there for her.

For those waiting in anticipation of our cat-drop – here is nine-seconds of Rabbit-breath upon our return home

Obviously, they are referring to a shopping cart – or a trolley if you are in Australia. We think.

Train to Wellington

train to Wellington New Zealand

In the next week or so, we took 2 return trips to Wellington by train. We have to go through some pretty serious mountains, but there is a long tunnel when you go by train. On the first leg we visited the Te Te Pa museum and saw an amazing and moving exhibition of the WW1 soldiers storming Gallipoli. The story of the futile battles, the huge loss of life is told through the lives and records of 8 actual New Zealanders who took part. It’s incredibly moving, with huge figures displayed, very life-like. Gallipoli @ Te Papa Tongarewa Museum https://youtu.be/C0RpAyO8J_8

Gallipoli @ Te Papa Tongarewa Museum

It was not all gloom and doom at the museum at the Te Papa Tongarewa Museum.

There is a large natural things part. For example, this large whale heart,

We learned about kiwi beaks –

We found a wonderful rain-forest walk – see our video for this place – https://youtu.be/grBA9FWTi24  and I was able to record lots of bird sounds for background noise in my video clips which is fun (for me).

video of of the museum and of the cable car – not to be missed

Narda learned about snails so any questions, she is your source of info –

Then there was the cable car which ended in amazing views of the city – to Mount Victoria. See our wonderful slideshow below

The Cable Car, a funicular railway, between Lambton Quay, the main shopping street, and Kelburn, a suburb in the hills overlooking the central city, rising 120 m over a length of 612 m. The one-way trip takes approximately five minutes. We spent the afternoon wandering around the top – taking selfies as us young people are known to do and saying wow wow wow.

Overall, we enjoyed Wellington. It seems much bigger than Adelaide though the population is about half. Probably because Adelaide is so spread out. A picture containing outdoor, building, sky, street

Description automatically generatedMuch of the dock, Wellington Harbour, seems built in the past twenty-years. I think I even read that somewhere on the internet.  The old dock area is nicely merged with new crap which is good. The Old Government Building (built in 1876) is one of the world’s largest wooden structures. We were there on a market day – which is shown in our video above. Below feel free to groove on our slideshow of a few photos of Wellington from our collection of hundreds.

We had a good smorgasbord @ James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor with a view toward the bay from the 17th floor.

The next day we hoped a ferry over to Picton on the southern island. I think it was about $35 USD each way per person – quite an inexpensive trip – a bit less than four hours. I liked it and took less than a thousand photos – some are in the sllideshow below.

And of course, obviously, https://youtu.be/NJQt3vadLM8 our YouTube clip.

We got to Picton in the afternoon and wandered around the small town (about 4500 folks – twice as many as our hometown Greytown – which as you would know from reading above was neatest or tidiest or grooviest place in all of NZ a few years ago – when Tilly, the cat, was mayor).

 October 2022, Picton ferry

The second train trip, a few days later, was a little more ambitious and included a return ferry ride to Picton on the South Island. A highlight was meeting two young folks, just randomly really, not a couple. One was a girl who looked just like Mau 20 years ago. We started talking and then switched to Dutch which was fun. Good practice. She, a Dutch girl named Neinke, a veterinarian from Nijmegen, was travelling alone, and had arrived in New Zealand after travelling in Korea.  Then another interesting person joined us. Daniel, a software engineer was Ukrainian, living in Israel. We chatted for quite a while, great conversation. We formed a WhatsApp chat group and decided to meet again for a meal in Picton.  

 here is some stuff to help you on your next quiz night

The ferry ride back was late leaving and so we missed our train on the return to Wellington by two minutes!!!!!

Another over-night stay, this time a backpackers near the station. It was fine. Lucky to find it as the hotels are pricey.

No train, only a bus to go home.

They only send buses in the off-peak hours. No tunnel, a really hairy trip through very steep winding roads, shared with logging trucks and very steep sides. Not my favourite, though the scenery is pretty speccie. One-minute clip @ https://youtu.be/-bRPwni9FQ0  

It’s actually much worse than it looks. 😨

The town next to us, they did not make it into the tidy town winning circle as Greytown did – but still the place is OK, Featherston has seven bookstores in a town of 2500. New Zealand’s ‘only’ booktown.

Wow! Was Narda excited. I am sure we got to at least ten of the seven bookstores during our sojourn in Greytown. And of course, we lugged a pile of books home even though we were pushing the allowable weight limit on New Zealand’s skimpy weight allowance.  My favourite bookshop had a bit of a coffee shop too which made me happy as I could sit with my coffee and keep up to date on social media as Narda read the first twelve pages of every book in the store. This particular shop according to Narda was overpriced charging up to six or seven bucks (New Zealand or a bit over $4 USD) – lucky for our weight limit we (she) found books for a buck or two at another shop in a limited fashion.

Featherston had another bonus. It is ranked as the town with the most bookshops in New Zealand. So naturally I bought 5 and a half kilos of books to transport home. Including 2 wonderful books by Amatov Ghosh. We were still within weight on the trip back but only just!

Fell Locomotive Museum

So, what happens when the rail is too steep? In Switzerland they built a cog train. Here in New Zealand a guy called Fell designed and built a locomotive that uses the cogs, but sideways. So, there is an extra engine underneath all the carriages that clamps onto a third rail from two sides, giving the train the ability to ride on a steeper incline.

The brakes are made of soft iron. They would be white hot at the end of each climb and descent and would have to be replaced with new ones each time. Quite the project. It was discontinued in the 1950s. Now there is a long tunnel instead. We saw all this in a museum in Featherston. Really interesting.

According to Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fell_Locomotive_Museum, The Fell Locomotive Museum in Featherston, New Zealand, exhibits the only remaining steam-powered Fell railway locomotive in the world.  It is all quite impressively really. Before the tunnel, which we had been through a few times taking the train in to Wellington the train had to go up over the mountain range – the same range we went over on a bus a week earlier – we talked about that a few paragraphs earlier.

See 35 seconds of train wheels going around and gasp at the real train sounds I added to the background.

Another one of those things you should know for your next quiz night

Narda has seemed to stop writing. She has gotten into drawing which is nice. I am not permitted to share these drawings (with Narda’s knowledge but meet me in disguise after ten pm in the alley outback and I will share a glimpse.) Saying all that there is not much more to say about our NZ stay except for a couple of other little excursions we took beyond the bookstore town and our local cows and with the non-blessings of Tilly the cat. I will go on about just two of these places. Castlepoint and Waiohine Gorge with NZ’s longest swing bridge high over the Waiohine River which we even crossed (most of the way).

Forget all that she wrote this.

It seems there is white sand on the west coast and black sand on the east. The weather was gorgeous, so we took a drive to Castlepoint Beach, about 1 ½ hours’ drive. Pretty speccie. It has a beach, a lagoon fill by large waves and a huge rock 165 metres tall.  We also saw a fur seal swimming in the shallows. Pretty popular, it was the last day of schools’ holidays and also a sunny weekend.

Here is what we discovered in New Zealand.

  • They call shopping trolleys, trundles.
  • Folks are super friendly and helpful.
  • There is no rubbish on the ground…zilch!
  • The road signs are more gentle, eg,  instead of saying
  • “Drink and drive and you die” the sign says “if you have been drinking it’s better not drive” ….or similar.
  • It’s expensive. 
  • They say cheer instead of chair, sees instead of says, teak instead of tick. Bit confusing really. 😄 
  • It’s basically a huge golf course with many very rugged mountains, weirdly rugged, lots of jagged bits, nothing smoothly predictably rolling.
  • The beaches are covered with firewood.
  • It’s incredibly beautiful. 
  • I have never seen so many landslides! (See photo a bit later in Terrell’s “rambles” – it’s OK, I said that)

I have decided to try to learn to draw. I like a style called Urban Sketching which combines the use of black line sketching with simple watercolour painting. 

This kind of thing. Basically, you draw what you see.  I love the informality of it, and it will be interesting to draw things we see on our travels. 

(Me editing in real time – how modern)

Castlepoint is a small beach side town with a groovy lighthouse. It was about an hour from home. As I say in my video clip, Castlepoint has a fossil-rich limestone reef, safe sandy beaches and features the stunning 162-metre-high Castle Rock, one of the most spectacular sights along the Wairarapa coast.’ See our spectacular or not clip at https://youtu.be/AcsVc_7WWMM

A few of the less than a thousand photos we took:

Perhaps due to a lot of rain or poor road construction, earthquakes, bad drivers – whatever, we found too many roads on our many little trips that had washed away or just fallen off the cliff. What made driving really fun was when coming around a curve and suddenly there was only one lane and for an even greater thrill a logging truck was coming around quickly on the other lane. It was only scary when I was driving as I drive faster than Narda.

The Waiohine Gorge

It was lovely weather, so we took a very scary drive into the nearby mountains to see the nearby gorge. I say scary all the time I know. This time it was a loose gravel, very narrow road, mostly only room for 1 car, and with a significant drop to the left. We didn’t run into anyone, but I did reverse for one soul, and hit a pot-hole on occasion.

I got 67% of the way across before the wind almost blew my hat into the river far below – making me scurry – as I hung on for dear life to get back to some sense of normality which I am almost back to at present several weeks later. See photos below to confirm this tale.

Martinborough

Then there was an impromptu turn off to see a different town, very close to us. It was a bit like the Barossa, lots of wineries (20) and a charming little town with a town square and a nice little pub. We ate dinner there, fish and chips, me with a very impressive cider. Even the local supermarket was very gezellig. We ate at the Pukemanu Pub https://pukemanu.co.nz/ a good feed indeed

Martinborough seemed like a pleasant town – they have less than 2000 inhabitants – and unlike Greytown never got to be tidy town of the year.

One of the last things we did before leaving Greytown to go to Wellington to fly back home was to attend the Carterton Fair. If you don’t watch our other videos, I would suggest watching this one if you want to see a real sheep race at a real rural country New Zealand yearly fair. https://youtu.be/gNEOICnl30Y they had a very fine bagpipe thing happening – it’s on the video above –

the amazing only in New Zealand sheep race

they had a very fine bagpipe thing happening – it’s on the video above –

some old fart played country and western music – quite good I should add and yes it is on the video clip above.

we had a real fun time at the Carterton Fair.  Oh! Almost forgot – it’s in the video above, obviously, I got excited about watching the lawnmower races – really, and the horse jumping. I have heaps of photos of folks jumping around the place these are two I sort of like more than some of the others.

BTW, this dude lost, though I thought he did quite well. I guess it is because his horse knocked over a bunch of those polls. They probably shot him after for being such a fool.

And that is it for Greytown – just wanted to add that at the fair as with all country fairs they had the hall of showoffs – locals showing their flowers, baked goods, stitchings, photos and the like and having them judged. Just between you and me, and I am not bragging or putting myself on another pedestal (beyond the one I have already placed myself upon), or acting like a Yank in another country,  but… my photos are way better than what anyone else showed, the lemons on the tree in our backyard (not really our backyard but the backyard of where we are living at the moment which makes it our backyard as the people whose backyard we are enjoying are in our house in Adelaide with our crappy backyard and dead fruit trees – but that is not the point) are so much better than the stupid dried up little lemons on a plate that won first prize were. This is our lemon tree (if it was truly our backyard)

it has been great – we have had lemon juice everyday – and orange juice too – the orange tree was amazing. And our flowers (if truly they were our flowers) in the yard (our yard if it was truly our yard) are much better than the winners of prizes at the Carterton Show.

see what I mean? BTW here is a shot of their

 and first place flowers –

Thanks for agreeing with me. For a moment there I thought there could possibly be something wrong with my thought patterns.

We will miss our little section of paradise in NZ – when we got home our lawn was terrible – weeds had taken over our home and garden after two-months away – we forgot to hire someone to do anything with our garden the whole time we were away – or maybe we were too cheap – forget which – and it rained in Adelaide most of the time away so the people here wanted to play golf and hike did not get as good a trade as we did in NZ where it was warmer and not many rainy days. Their property was so fantastic – and our friends the cows and Tilly the cat and even the chooks made us feel very relaxed. Our first stay was wonderful too – you have already read all about it in the previous blog. Overall, we loved NZ. A few of the many snapshots of our backyard if it was truly our backyard.

We did the hour and half drive to Wellington over the mountain in five hours – pretty good time for us. We have a video clip of this drive – with all the cliffs and mountain passages included. https://youtu.be/t6Sv2MqBuKY  

We stayed once again at the Brentwood Hotel in Wellington. We were there at the beginning of our trip in NZ and collected the car from the first house-exchange in Taupo. We drove our second car (lovely new Trident 4×4) to Wellington from Greytown and left it at the Brentwood for the people who were at our house to collect when they flew in, the same day as we were leaving. They left our car at the Adelaide Airport which made it easy for us when we got in at midnight to have our car to drive home. At the Brentwood we learned that the Rolling Stones had stayed here too long ago and even wrote one of their songs here. Cool.

GOODBYE WELLINGTON NEW ZEALAND

and this sign we see all over NZ – why?

and this sums up our time in NZ

thanks for coming along with us – our next trip is a month caravan trip to Victoria and within that time a week with my son, Sacha and his partner, Georgia, camping with us – can’t wait

Our next OS trip is Pakistan for February and the UK for two months after – see ya somewhere in the world…cheers Narda and Terrell

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