A BELATED MERRY CHRISTMAS & A HAPPY NEW YEAR ✨

20200121_104957
Central Otago
20200116_101501
Home in Alexandra till April.
20191205_133655
Bulmer Landing
2020-02-04 13.09.44
Sue at Lookout – Clyde Dam

Christmas has been and gone and January is now over.  I have been remiss in my blogg writing and keeping up to date with our travels, but life just seems to go on.

It’s so hard to believe that we have been on the road for 12 months. We celebrated this milestone on 28th January 2020 with a lovely bottle of German Bubbles and some fellow campers. Roll on the next 12 months!!!

Lets go from where I left off some months back and talk about our adventures in Opotiki……………… Wayne started work on the Kiwifruit Orchards working on the new plants along with thinning and some water system maintenance over our 3 weeks in Opotiki. Let’s say he is to tall for kiwifruit!

We stayed at the NZMCA park in the heart of Opotiki township. Close to all amenities, along with the 2 km walk/ride to the beach.  Good to have the town close as I had no vehicle over this time due to Wayne working outside of the  township.  Opotiki is a tired, small town, trying to survive in this world. Building were old and needed attention, but on the whole our experience there was good, with friendly locals, good coffee and a big thanks to Mark & Karen (Wayne’s Employers) who invited us for dinner twice and joined us out for dinner on our last weekend. They also played babysitters to our kayaks!! Mark is a fellow member of the Acromegaly society, so it was good for Wayne  to have someone to talk to who understands his illness. We did a day trip to Whakatane and loved the area. Certainly would like to see more of this area in our next trip North.  We also did a day trip up the East Coast to Waihoau Bay. Rather a remote part of NZ, but some lovely coastline. We also had a day down at Tarawera Falls and. Lake Tarawera via Kawerau. Very hot day and a lovely dip in the lake to cool off. Left Opotiki end of October.

We had 5 days in Feilding celebrating Wayne’s Mum’s 80th Birthday. We left our caravan at Robin & Faye Moore’s house in Kinlock. Picked up the caravan early December and headed up to Horahora Reserve in Waikato for a couple of nights and also stayed at Bulmer Landing by the lake for a further 2 nights. Good chance to relax and do some kayaking. We then headed to Pukekawa to Andrew & Sarah’s for Wayne to help out with the building of the cottage. They needed it ready by Xmas. Wayne dug drains, put in the pink batts and was general “all rounder” for 4 days.

We headed off to Waihi Beach for 4 days, staying at the NZMCA camp there. We loved Waihi Beach and is certainly one place we would like to visit again. Biking and lots of beach walks.  Wayne did some Kayaking. Headed down to Tauranga staying 6 nights at a CAP (Rona Murdoch – private property) and did some catching up with the Ross Families, Graham & Jenny  and Rob & Christina. Also managed to see Elspeth Beattie for coffee one day. Thanks Elspeth for giving up your time while in Tauranga. We also purchased a coffee machine while there and love it!!!

Headed back to Pukekawa for Xmas 21 Dec – 27 Dec. It was lovely to have Jeremy, Belinda and girls with us and have all our grandchildren together. Very special times. A wonderful Xmas and thanks Andrew & Sarah for hosting us all. A big thanks to Sarah for the  wonderful suggestion of visiting the Christmas Lights at Karaka. A magical experience.

Down to Feilding to have a late Xmas with Wayne’s family and then on the Ferry to Picton on 30th December. Stayed with our lovely neighbours Kevin & Lynette for a week, this allowed us to get our Doctors visits done and any other jobs while in Blenheim before heading south. Thanks to the Morrison’s yet again for always being there for us.

Made our way south on 7th January for Leithfield beach to catch up with Jacky (camped out in their driveway). Then onto Weedons MCA park for a night to visit Sue & Dave in Chch and have a lovely evening meal (Turkey Pie provided by Sue  as requested by me…thanks Sue). We headed onto Alexandra the next day, stopping off at Timaru for coffee with Ian Ellis and a catch up. Arrived in Alexandra late afternoon after a very long drive.

Our lovely hosts, Annette and Robert had reserved off an area for us, so along with the welcoming committee of 8 campers, we were back in our Central Otago home for another 4 months. Wayne is back into the swing of his job with Trail Journeys (4 days on & 2 days off) and I am settling into life here with work, biking (Wednesday mornings “Bumz on bikes” & Sunday mornings), Tai Chi (new interest for me 2 days a week) and this week I will start swimming at the local pool again. I go out with Wayne (if there is room) in the van/bus when he is doing bag shifting and people transfers around the area as far as Middlemarch. We have done a couple of 6.30am starts to Queenstown to collect people also. Weather has been really hot and the awning seems to get over heated. Nearly 40 degrees this week in the awning. and 35 in the caravan.  Wayne has his first tour to do this week. 5 days with 5 clients on the Rail Trail. He will be away 2 nights of the 5, so I am home alone. He can update next time on his adventures. (Rained for 1st 2 days of the tour)

Caught up with Carol & Barry before they headed home from Queenstown on the 20th Jan. Thanks for coming over to Cromwell for lunch and a catch up. Also got to have coffee with Aunty Rose in Cromwell. We hope you had a safe trip back to Christchurch Rose.

We have visited some historic areas like the gold sluices in Bannockburn, off road tracks over the old man range, swims in the local lakes.

Wayne did a mountain bike down the ranges…..pictures before they headed down. Nice lunch at the Old Post Office Cafe in clyde as a reward for the scary & hair raising ride. A few beers were consumed!!!!!! The girls & fellow campers who drove the vehicle back down made up a large lunch party of 9.

 

IMG_0586
Wayne, Robert & Ray. Top of Old Man Range. Mountain Bike Down!
IMG_0588
The boys – On Their Way

We did a 4wd adventure with a couple (Ray & Marylyn Cowles) from the camp here. Travelled in two vehicles inland to lake Onslow & onwards to look for the Serpintine church out in the middle of know where.  Let’s just say that Wayne found a track that ended up not being the one we should be on & after some hair raising manouvers ( closed eyes from me) we returned back onto the main road, & still did not see the church. Alas, we will have to go back again to find it. The two men are eager, but not sure about us ladies!!!!! We now know the Ranger can do just about anything!!!!!!! It has finally had a clean after its ordeal.

Well it’s sign off time and I will report back in a month or two for the update on our adventures here in Alex.

Love to all till next time

The Travelling Gypsies

On the Road Again

20190911_111730
Whangamomona Pub – Forgotten Highway
20191016_180327
Crafty Trout Brewery – Taupo
20191026_124117
Sue & Sheryl enjoying a brew on a stop over at Roosters, Napier (bike ride)
20191026_123930
Matt & Wayne enjoying a brew too!!

Hello again…..it’s been a while I know.
Since my last blog in early September we have left Taranaki and ventured further afield. Our story since then……

We went exploring the Forgotten Highway (no caravan attached) in mid September and spent a night in Taumaruni then headed back to NP via Ohura/Ahititi. Ohura is the closest to a ghost town I have ever seen. The only building with life inside was the local school.

I celebrated another year older late Septemer and we were so lucky that our wonderful neighbours, Kevin & Lynette from Blenheim came up and stayed 3 days to continue the annual birthday celebrations for both Kevin & I.  A wonderful weekend with laughter, wine, a bit of walking & more wine!!!.

We had another venture to Auckland to the family early October for 4 days to spend time with them all, do a little babysitting for the boys and be there for the baby reveal party with Sarah’s family on the Saturday morning. We will be welcoming another boy to our family in February 2020. We also had 2 dance parties while there. One to celebrate my birthday (cupcakes supplied, thanks Sarah) and a BBQ & glow stick dance party (for the kids….& me) with neighbours of Andrew & Sarah’s. A great few days and good to see the family settled on their “farm”. Headed back to New Plymouth from Auckland to start the packing process as our house owners were due back the next day. Handed back the house and reinstated ourselves back into our caravan. One night stayed at the local New Plymouth MCA camp & a lovely dinner supplied by Bryce (Wayne’s brother) then we headed out of Taranaki the next day.
Stayed in Mangakino for 2 nights at the local Reserve by the lake. A lovely spot and a great place to explore and get ourselves back into living on the road. Headed onto Taupo and spent 7 days there at the local MCA camp out by Taupo Airport. The weather was not great but we caught up with Robin & Fay in Kinloch and also went to the local Working Men’s Club & rock & rolled the Friday night away with Robin & Fay & friends. As usual visited a brewery…Crafty Trout in Taupo. Great pizza & chips!!! A walk on lakeside in howling winds &  a couple of bike rides for Wayne.  Time to find the sunshine so off we went to Napier.

We had a wonderful 3 weeks at the MCA camp. While there we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary…..that long says Wayne!!! We went to the Gypsy Fair (not as good as the one in Blenheim Belinda….tried to get you a fork ring tree but none there). A couple of visits to the Hastings Farmers Market and what a beautiful area with great stalls, live music and good coffee. Did a few bike rides together, with my longest trip being 40km return.  At least it was flat and easy riding along the trails.  We had a wonderful weekend Labour weekend, starting with Matt & Sheryl (From Masterton) staying over in Havelock North and spending the Saturday with us, riding a trail to our first stop the Roosters Brew House (see Photo’s) then onto a winery tasting at Unison Vineyard. Sheryl & I opted out and took the cars back to camp and Matt & Wayne road home in a head wind!!  We then dinned at the Thirsty Whale in Napier before they headed off to Taupo to finish their long weekend. We also caught up with Mike & Chrissy and their friends at the Westshore Pub and enjoyed a few drinks and live music. A great social weekend. We had a lovely lunch with Wayne’s Aunty Fay and Uncle Gary at a local restaurant on the waterfront. We visited the local beaches. Some good for swimming and walking but very windy on the days we visited, so did not get to spend a lot of time enjoying them.  Had a trip into Mungatutu Hot Springs – 60km inland from Napier and 20km of this is gravel road. Amazing place with two small pools plonked about the river with natural hot springs water…..estimate well over 40 degrees. A beautiful part of the country and thanks Matt & Sheryl for the tip. Wayne had organised the annual Acromegaly Coffee catch up meeting in Hawkes Bay and it was good to meet others with his condition and get a group together as support for each other in the area.  Went to an Open Home in Napier, out in the country with a wonderful view of the sea and port……not buying it as it is over our price range and it gave us an idea of what we would like to have in the future….just a bit cheaper!!!

Headed back to Taupo on 6th November to catch up with Robin, Fay and Don & Bev (from Picton and Rock n Roll Club). A lovely lunch in Taupo and lots of laughs. So good to see Don & Bev again. Stayed 3 nights and did a days Kayak on the lake, visiting the Maori Carvings and getting those arm muscles working again. Good to paddle in fresh water and not have to wash everything down after using it. Wayne received an email from a friend to say there was plenty of work in Opotiki in the kiwifruit industry so we headed that way on the 9th November………………………………….will report on our adventures in Opotiki next time.

Bye all and take care

Travelling Gypsies XX

The Naki Update

received_642404842947688-3
Ross family in Auckland on the “Farm”
20190813_105805
Urenui coastline – Coast north of New Plymouth
20190730_131534
Mikes Brewery New Plymouth
20190808_110132
The Deluxe Diner – New Plymouth
20190726_172642
New Plymouth MCA Camp
20190828_070303
Sunrise at Sampson Ave, New Plymouth
20190901_080415
The Mountain on a good day from kitchen window

I’ve been a bit slow on updates yet again. For one who talks a lot, it is getting harder to update the blog. I always have something to say, it’s just that we have not been moving around the countryside as planned in the last few months.

We are still in Taranaki, but have moved houses & are now in Waiwhakaiho, New Plymouth on the other side of the city. We are house sitting for Rae & Wietze (friends of Wayne’s from the past) who have gone overseas till early October.  Wayne’s work is on this side of the city, so it is only 5 min’s to work for him. He is still doing the 4.30 am get-up and home by 8.30 am, unless he is doing a Piloting job (has done 2 since he started).  He has also done a couple of extra days to fill in for people who are away.  We are lucky that we get the rest of the day together, though sometimes he does crawl back into bed to catch up on a few hours sleep. It also means I can complete my 10 hours a week work. I completed 5 years with Asset Insurance Partners also in July, and my Boss shouted Wayne and I out for a dinner and drinks. We went to Mikes Brewery……See Photo of Wayne.

Have done some sight seeing around the area and spent a day heading North up SH3 as far as Mokau. See photo of Urenui coastline. Very dramatic seas on that day trip. A lovely lunch of Whitebait sandwiches and omelette to complete the experience.

It’s been a quiet 5 weeks in Taranaki. The weather has not been that kind to us. It might start off sunny, but you can guarantee a rain and wind event will pass through. I have come to the conclusion that Marlborough has the best weather so far!!!

We have spent 5 nights back in the caravan staying at that the MCA Park in late July, as my cousins daughters wanted the house we were staying in.  The MCA Park is great with all amenities available and was close to Wayne’s work. See photo – our rig at the front. You can stay 21 days over a 60 day period, so a good place to go back to while we are here and if we have a few days to sort ourselves out before we move on.

We had a road trip to Auckland 17th – 19th August, to stay with Andrew, Sarah and the boys at the “farm”. Andrew and Sarah bought the house  at Pukekawa (south of Auckland) a few months ago and are loving the rural lifestyle. A lovely time with the family and Nana Sue & Sebala had quality time with the boys, no rushing to get to airports.  More great news, as Andrew & Sarah are expecting a baby in February 2020, so our grandchildren will  total 5. Sarah has got over the tiredness and feeling sick which is great. One very excited Nana!!!!

We had Wayne’s Mum & Dad come to stay 24th -26th August from Feilding. Was a lovely family weekend as it was Bryce’s birthday (Wayne’s brother). Bryce lives here in New Plymouth so we are getting to see him a lot more than we have in the past.  Wayne’s parents are doing OK…getting older and Wayne’s Dad is waiting to hear about hip replacements. Wayne’s Mum will be 80 in November, so we will have a trip to Feilding to celebrate that big milestone.

Wayne has done a few runs and a mountain bike ride at Lake Mangamahoe. The weather has not been great to get out there and do lots, but we have walked as much as the weather allowed, doing the coastal walkway, Lake Mangamahoe (1.5 hours top track), Te Henui walkway and checking out the streets etc in the area we are now staying in. I have not been on my bike for a number of weeks, so bike fitness has gone!!

Looking forward to 21st September when our Blenheim neighbours, Kevin & Lynette are coming up to stay a couple of nights and celebrate Kevin & my birthdays along with lots of laughter and good wine and food. See photo of The Deluxe Diner…for Rock N Roll lovers, it might be a good place to celebrate those birthdays!!

Love hearing all the news from home and friends around the country, so don’t hesitate to ring or email or pop a message through the blog site (it is not published unless I say so).

Best wishes to all

The not so travelling Gypsies

 

July In New Plymouth

20190619_104846
Sue on Coastal Walkway, New Plymouth
20190619_111207
Wayne at Te Rewa Rewa bridge on Coastal Walkway

Coffee - Do it yourself Shinning Peak Brewery

20190620_205207
Wayne & his 3 climbing friends & guides, 21 year ago in Nepal
20190620_204025
Wayne & 3 Nepal climbing friends today!
20190616_122724
Tawhiti Museum…Sue’s surprise.
20190616_111016
Tawhiti Museum – cafe. Dummy reading..Sue taking a peak.
20190616_135009
Wayne. Coastline at Hawera.
20190618_141138
Cape Egmont lighthouse & Wayne’s favorite Mountain.

Hi to All

Sorry for the lack of news from us. No excuse,  just chilling out with our new lifestyle.

From where we left off in my last update:

We headed out of Whanganui and onto Hawera…….Wayne’s old stomping ground (one of many in this area). We stayed at the MCA Camp in the township for the 4 nights. Did some visiting of Mt Egmont from the south side along with a short walk at Dawson Falls and a visit to the visitors centre. Weather not the best, so limited us to what we could do. Back at Hawera we did a catch up coffee with some of Wayne’s climbing friends ( all ladies mind you!!!) and also had a lovely evening at KD & Noleen’s with more climbing friends of Wayne’s. It was so nice for me to meet people who have played an important part in Wayne’s life. We also visited the Tawhiti Museum and Traders & Whalers Museum. Well worth the $60 to see them both and an enjoyable and informative day. As usual we did lots of walking and sight-seeing around the area.

We moved on up to New Plymouth and stayed at Warea (1/2 hour south from NP), Anne (Cousin) & Mo’s farm block. We have spent since 18 June to now between the farm (caravan stored out there) and Anne & Mo’s lovely home at Lynmouth in NP overlooking the port and coast. We are now house sitting while Anne & Mo have headed to Europe for 3 months to finish their wonderful 5 year adventures in the Northern Hemisphere.

Wayne has decided to add to the household coffers and got himself a job. He starts this Monday (he passed the drug test) working for Symons Group. A Truck and Transport Company. It is casual work for 3 months, working part time and I will tell you more about it once he has completed his induction on Monday and knows what he will be doing. We do know he has the 5am start to take the shift workers to Kupe where the oil & gas plant is, so that will be a 3 hour return trip, swapping over the workers. At this stage we are unsure of what other work they are going to give him, possibly warehouse and piloting work. It will be good for him to be doing something again and bringing that $1 or $2 back into our account.

We have caught up with Ray & Marylyn from Waikanae at the MCA camp here in NP. Was lovely to catch up with them and share a meal. Hopefully we will see them again in Alexandra next summer or at their place on our way south in the New Year. Also caught up by phone and email with Rowan and Dave & Kryssie who we meet in Alex. Dave & Kryssie, we hope that new caravan is not too far away and you enjoy it. Look forward to seeing it next time and of course you both.

Wayne has had a overnight trip to Hamilton with his brother Bryce who drives a Line-haul truck for PBT. I think the brothers had a great night and good for Bryce to have company as I am sure it is a lonely job. Bryce lives here in NP, so we will get to spend some time with him over the next 3 months.

Another dinner with Wayne’s friends here in NP was had late June. This was a special evening as the group of 4 that went climbing in Nepal 1998 were all together after 21 years. Photo’s attached…. think they have all aged just a bit.

We are settling into NP, with walks along the coastal walkway each morning if possible. Found a great coffee place 1 km away. It’s a business set up in a residential garage. They roast their own beans and make a great coffee. Called Pr%fit & Stock (Spelling is exactly like that). Wayne has found a barber that works from a caravan and I have managed to find a good hairdresser just down in the village below the house. Wayne has also had his injection while here, so another tick of the box. Joined the Library also.

The coffee and brewery journey continues, with our first deconstructed coffee, see photo, which is essentially a DIY. The Shining Peak Brewery was a good find.

We had a lovely long weekend down in Masterton recently with my sisters and families. Judith was visiting from Aussie and spent 5 days with Dianne. It’s been 3 years since we were together and so nice to share that time again. Yes I know what you are all thinking…..how were Wayne and Peters ears after we girls had taken a breath and stopped talking!!! Let’s just say, they both probably gave a sigh of relief when we parted company. Wayne and I stayed with Sheryl & Matt and can’t thank them enough for their hospitality and promise next time we will be there to have a pork roast….even if I have to cook it.

Hope all our friends and family are well and it would be great to hear what everyone has been up to.

Stay safe and warm.

North Island Gypsies

 

Winter in the North

Bridge -Whanganui
Bridge – Whanganui
Wayne. Viginia Lake
Virginia Lake – Whanganui

It is official…..we are back living in the North Island. Presently in Whanganui.

Our trip so far……..Arrived in Blenheim on 11th May to stay with no 7 Gingko Place, aka The Morrisons. Felt strange driving up the street & parking up at the neighbour’s house. As Wayne says, we had a number of Medical Experiences (aka appointments) to do, catch up with our family & spend time with our granddaughters, visit our rock n roll family, & of course morning tea with the Friday girls. Thanks so much to our wonderful hosts, Kevin & Lynette for having us & allowing us to stay in their home while they jaunted off to Hawaii for a much deserved holiday. In between, we spent a weekend in Auckland (Wayne had an Acromegaly AGM) with Andrew & Sarah & our grandsons. Return to Blenheim to finish our appointments and it was then time & we set sail on the Bluebridge to Wellington. A good trip with no incidents getting the caravan on & off the Ferry. Masterton was our destination.

Had a lovely week with Dianne (my sister) & Peter (brother- in- law) , Lucy (neice) & pooch. I don’t normally get more than a few hours with my sister, so to have 7 days was lovely. We parked the caravan up their drive & just used it to sleep in. Weather wasn’t too kind to us but we managed to get in a few walks, a 31km bike ride for Wayne (think I was shopping at the time) & a great night out with Sheryl & Matt at a fantastic pizza place (log house, not theirs!!!) out of Masterton. Good to visit my old home town & family.

We then moved onto Feilding to Wayne’s Mum & Dad. Plan was to help them out around the house…..Wayne as gardner & me as cleaner & chief cook and any other duties as directed!!!! Wayne’s Mum had just had her appendix removed & Dad has been recovering from a  stroke. We spent a productive week there. The caravan was stored on a friends farm while we stayed in the family home with a nice log fire. Lovely to have time again with family & although both Wayne’s parents are aging they are in good spirits. We manged to go to a club night at Rose City Rock n Roll. They made us feel so welcome…taught us some moves & we even won the raffle. I also went to an evening for the Feilding Music Society with my mother-in-law. It was based on Royalty & was a lovely night seeing local talent perform.

Last Monday we headed northfor morer adventures in NZ. We decided to head up the west coast & spend some time in Taranaki & surrounding area.  We went out sight seeing yesterday & there is a bridge sitting, built, ready & waiting to be placed across the Whanganui river to complete the Mountain to the Sea Cycle Trail, but all is at a stand still as aparently the Iwi now want money for it to proceed. See pic of bridge. It is sitting in a paddock!!!

Wayne would like to catch up with some old friends & haunts from his years working & living in the area, so it’s a few days here in Whanganui then onto Hawera. A get together has been organised for next Saturday with some friends from The Alpine Club. I am sure there will be lots of stories told.

Not sure when Wayne plans to look for work…..think he is having too much fun as unemployed!!!

Time to sign off…hopefully we have more pictures & adventures to share at the end of June. Take care everyone x

North Island Gypsies

 

Last Month in Otago

20190508_140728
Wayne doing what he enjoys….Valley Brewing Co, Geraldine
20190428_125335
Autumn trees on rail trail.
20190503_152540
Arrowtown….looking towards town main centre.
20190504_110602
Our home – In the process of pack up on a foggy, cold Otago day.
April 2019 Alex
Our home on a sunny Otago day.

Well our time down here is coming to an end for this season.  A few days ago we packed up the joint and headed off to Gore (sampled the moonshine while there & warmed us on a cold Sunday!!!)….yes heading the wrong way but making the most of our time and trip north. Our destination is Blenheim, so keep some time free from 13th May onwards for a catch up folks in Marlborough. Hope to be around for a couple of weeks. We can’t wait for the hugs from all the grandies.

We have had a great April here. Enjoying the following activities:

Social Life with fellow Campers:    Many happy hours had, although the sun is setting earlier and the nights are cooling down, so to compensate we have been starting at 4pm….someone has to do it!!!! A farewell dinner with our Hosts, Robert and Annette and a couple of other camper couples to say goodbye for their 5 month trip to Sweden.  Sad to see them go, but what a wonderful experience.  They have Roberts Dad, who is 91 years old and their son and daughter-in-law and other family there to see. Also a few goodbyes to other fellow campers who are heading north for the winter.

I have participated in book club again at the Monteiths Bar and also been a regular on the Wednesday morning bike rides to Clyde with the girls – AKA “Bumz on Bikes” Tried to get a T-shirt but missed out on one as they had just done their order. It’s been getting rather cold on these early morning rides & I had frost forming on my gloves while riding. Think I will be a warm weather rider from now on!!

We have ventured out of Alex when possible to see Wanaka & Arrowtown. Walked up & over Mt Iron in Wanaka.  Beautiful outlook 360 degrees of Wanaka. Walked to Diamond Lake on the Glendhu side of the lake. Did some beer tasting at the “Beerworks” at Wanaka airport. The photo says lt all… happy man. Spent a day also in Arrowtown. The trees were beautiful & got a good look around the area. Not so many tourists at this time of the year. We know we can’t afford to live there as land costs as much as a house is worth!! Love the area & would like to do some walks & rides next year when it is warmer.

Had a lovely couple of nights in the camp catching up with Rob & Deb from Blenheim & enjoying whitebait fritters in their bus for dinner. Thanks guys for calling in & we were pleased to hear Rob’s cold finally got better so they could ride the rail trail (twice as it turns out, as they rode out and back each day from their bus).

Sitting having our usual coffee as we always seem to be doing & who should come in but Julie Coney (Townsend – netball ) and “Smokin Joe” Joe Stanley (past All Black) and families. We mix in celebrity circles even if they are has-beens!!!!

Wayne’s turn: Work-wise it has been varied, which is exactly what I was hoping for. Occasional bus driving for my mate Ramash in Wanaka via Yello Buses, a whole grape harvest of Pinot Noir (5 days hand pick) courtesy of Grey Ridge vineyard in Alexandra, but more lately servicing of bikes, transfers of bags and bus / shuttle driving for Trail Journeys (Otago Central Rail Trail bike hire etc). All as casual employment. Great fun too. My aim is to get into Trail Journeys again next season but with more focus on the driving. Will see. I got on really well with the GM, and with 100% new ownership mid-year I think there will be a shift in style, the GM and I had some really good chats around marketing, vehicle fleet,  staffing and so on, definitely feel I can contribute more next season. AND he says he wants me back. Bugger me but Good on ya Mate… The driving involved an 18 seat bus towing a bike trailer, first up shifting trail bikers’ overnight kit from  one lodgings to their next, over the distance of the trail ( 150km), then loading bikes at Middlemarch and bussing a full load back to Clyde (175km by road). Peak season is summer-autumn so it is FULL ON. Sue here. I went with Wayne on 1.5 days of bus & bag transfer and loved it. Give me a clip board & I think I am in charge!!!…..back to Wayne. Yes, she definitely does think she is in charge – W.

As far as exercise is concerned, no need for much as handling bikes all day builds the strength up, walking vineyards covers off the distance aspect and cycling to work & back sorted the cycle legs. Need to get back running more though. Hope to do this when back in Blenheim mid-May for a couple of weeks, along with kayaking with the Pilsner boys again.

We solved the power issues – finally and hopefully forever. Have replaced the panels, upgraded the controller/regulator and changed batteries. No more issues. HOWEVER just today I pick up a brochure that happens to say that at 12.2 volts (what we are showing right now) the batteries are 50% discharged and that is after bugger all use in the evening and after having all day to charge, admittedly whilst travelling. ..  Bugger me this is confusing. Watch this space.

We’ll folks, take care & keep warm & we look forward to catching up very soon around a roaring fire with some form of hot toddy…

The Travelling Gypsies

10 weeks but whose counting…..

20190312_191054
Wayne with our daily diet drinks!
20190312_202512
Ophir -Blacks Hotel – Artwork only seen south!!!
20190324_141943
Wayne enjoying dip in river on 42km ride
20190324_142012
Selfie – look of enjoyment .At river on way home from 42km ride.
20190312_134217
Middlemarch cafe…no snogging when we were there!
20190312_145406
Wayne – Sutton Salt Lake
20190323_164015
Kids Bush – Doc Camp Amazing peaceful place

Hard to believe we have been on the road for over 2 months. They say time flies when you are having fun. Yes we are still loving the life. Possibly a bit too comfortable down here in our second home, but who wants to give up a good thing when it is happening. We love Central Otago, but now that the cold mornings are upon us, our decision to stay much longer may change. Snow on the hills and frosts happening, so time to rug up, turn the heater on & hope not to see a hoar frost while it is Autumn. Days have been bright and sunny but those day time temperatures have dipped a wee bit.

Update on Wayne & his employment.

  1. Contract now with Trail Journeys and he has worked 5 days over 2 weeks cleaning and servicing the hire bikes.  Really enjoyed it, but not as busy as he had hoped so not getting as much work, therefore, he then decided to look for something else to supplement the income in-between times……………….
  2. Hand picking grapes at Grey Ridge Winery. He worked last week for 5 hours hand picking pinot noir grapes for their white pinot noir wine. Really enjoyed the team ( small group) and the change of job. Is working again next week for 2 days that we know of. We did a wine taste there 5 weeks ago and look at the result if you ask for work!
  3. He had one last stint on the buses back in the middle of March. A long day out starting in Wanaka taking a bus load of males around the surrounding area for a stag do.  He enjoyed the group and from what I gather they behaved themselves with a couple of strong words from the Bus Driver and the brother of the groom. I think that will be the last of the driving in Wanaka till maybe next year.

We have been doing a bit more sightseeing around the area and been down as far as Middlemarch, being the other end of the Rail Trail.  I was not that impressed with Middlemarch, very much a ghost town,  but we did a lovely walk around the Sutton Salt Lake ( a lake inland that is salt water ). To Wayne’s delight Mr Emerson has opened a small brewery/cafe there, so we partook in a drink or two, then headed back towards home via the loop inland road past McCrae’s Gold Mine and stopped for a look at the most incredible hole in the ground and an amazing operation. Sad for the environment visually, but we girls like our gold!!!!! We stopped and had a lovely evening meal at Ophir, Blacks Hotel and enjoyed the central Otago wines.

We have also done a day trip up to Lake Hawea ( East of Wanaka) and what an amazing area. We spent some time at Kidds Bush Doc Camp on lake side….a beautiful spot, great swimming (but rather cool water – but its ok once you are in) and we will definitely take the caravan there for some rest & relaxation on our journey.

Still enjoying the walking, biking and kayaking.  My biggest ride has been to Chatto Creek on the rail trail and back again…42km. Good reward of food and drink at Chatto, but then the effort to get all the way back can make Sue grizzly. Wayne said I only grizzled twice….all the way there and all the way back. I must disagree with him on that one!!! We also have been kayaking on the Kawarau Arm of Lake Dunstan. Beautiful day out on the water and no wind. Helps when the lake has a strong river flowing in at that point so it helped us get back!! I have been on a Wednesday morning bike ride with our host Annette and her group called “bumz on bikes”. Lovely group of ladies of all ages, some with E-bikes and some not.  Rode from Alex to Clyde and of course the compulsory coffee and cake with some good old chatting also. Wayne and Robert ( our host) have had a couple of night rides around tracks in the area.  One night they forgot to come home in daylight hours and I think they dragged themselves into the pub in Clyde and forgot it was getting dark.  Wayne enjoys these rides as they are far more difficult that anything I will do! Swimming not so successful. Cold mornings and my last time there it was a cold shower so I have been reluctant to go back.  Will get my act together eventually.

Social Life at our Camp :

A very social last week with 13 (campers and our hosts) of us riding down to Ferris Rd Brewery in Alex at 4.30 pm last Saturday for Beer, Wine and Pizza and riding (wobbling) home at 8.30 that night. A great night and lots of laughs.  Then Sunday night 6 of us went to the movies in Clyde to see the NZ film “Daffodils”. Our opinion of the movie – Sitting on the fence (just in case anyone reading this is going to go and see it). Also…Wednesday night just gone we went to a Quiz night at the Dunstan Hotel in Clyde for a fundraiser for the Fire Department and the 2 people taking part in the Auckland Stair Climbing event (just like our own Steve Smith…all the best). We were there with the team from Trail Journeys and had a great night. For those quiz friends of ours, we got 6th equal – mid way, but bombed out with the local area questions as the four of us on our team were from out of the area. 1-10 was not our best score!!!

Catch up with old friends……………we decided to take a trip down to Roxburgh last week and stopped for a coffee at one of the local cafes (there are over 6 of them in such a small town) and the owners of the cafe were Bevan and Wendy Dorrington. I worked 30 years ago in the National Bank with Bevan in Upper Hutt and our children had had a couple of fun years together in that time.  Hugs all round and 3 hours later we left the cafe after lots of reminiscing etc.  Hate to say it but we were definitely all older!  They had only returned to NZ 15 months ago from living the past 25 years in Australia.. Fate took us there that day and it was great.

We also had a lovely few hours in Cromwell with Peter and Margaret Gibson. They were wonderful hosts and have a beautiful home in Cromwell with a lovely lake view. More people who I have known for many years. It is just lovely catching up with friends and having the time to do this.

We have had a very social day today with Peter & Margaret calling into our camp this morning for a quick visit in their motorhome on their way through to Ranfurly. Had a wonderful lunch in Clyde with Barry & Carol Mills from Blenheim, who are again down at their Queenstown home.  We were thrilled they made the trip over for a catch up.

Wayne: OK, my time. Being the MAN around here, it is to me that fix-it duties fall. And fall they have. Noticed a drip from the grey tank discharge area yesterday, and hoping it is only due to the tank being over-full in the morning. Still checking. The bathroom tap may be leaking, but not always – hmmmm. A couple of the kitchen drawers are a little askew and mis-aligned, so its toolbox time. I am going to tape over the bottom vents on the windows, to stop the circulating draft (as they are designed to do) as cold draft on a cold night makes for an unhappy Missus. The solar / battery issues remain, we have gone on to mains power courtesy of our hosts, after running 75m of cable. We have decided to upgrade the solar panels from 160w to 400w total, and a new MPPT 30A controller to get the battery power up enough to get us through winter and low-light conditions. We don’t want to have to resort to a generator, in fact I hate the idea – nothing worse than being in some idyllic bush or coastal setting and having a genset clanking away in the background. Oh, and our weather station packed a sad so have replaced it, yet to arrive so have missed out on seeing the outside temperature hit minus 4 degrees. 2x bikes need some minor tinkering, the bathroom fans don’t like working when cold or wet. All first world problems once again.

I am needing to finalise the Acromegaly Society of NZ year-end financial reports so they can be presented to the AGM in Auckland Mid-May. Best get on to it…. Dang – its coffee time….

Sue again: Well, time is up ( really it is wine time) and I will sign off.  Next report may be from our old stamping ground, Blenheim. We are due up there in the next few weeks, so watch this space.  You Blenheim folk had better put some beer & wine in the fridge as we have some catching up to do!

Take care – The Gypsies

 

 

6 weeks on the road…..

Wayne roxburgh
Wayne – Roxbury river walk
2019-03-09 14.58.51
Sue – Roxburgh river trail
20190302_155939
Ovation of the Seas
Alex
Snow on Old Man Range, Alexandra
20190307_152236
Wayne -Fraser Dam Alexandra

Well folks it’s time for a catch up from the Holtham Gypsy Wagon.

I suppose, I need to start with the dilemma department from last post!! THE FRIDGE……it is all fixed & going fine. We headed to Dunedin on the planned Tuesday. They took one look at the fridge & diagnosed immediately. A good clean out of the build up of crud  & an added an extension onto the flue and we were systems all go. Freezer freezing & fridge cooling. Stayed in the yard for an hour to make sure all would continue & then we headed back to Alexandra. I think the tank of fuel for the 5 hour return trip cost more than the repairs!!! Now, we solved the toothbrush charger by buying a new electric toothbrush. That was easy & painless. We have bought a new 1000w inverter, so our problems to charge laptops etc is now solved. To finish off the Ranger had a flat type the morning after returning from Dunedin. A trip to Tyreland and all fixed.  Our 1st world problems are now behind us, we hope. Well maybe not……batteries in caravan not holding their charge…..will continue that sago next time!!

Wayne can now look for a job…….yippee.   He has approached the 3 Rail Trail providers here in Alex & Clyde.  Two have said they are fully staffed. Rail Journey have a bike mechanic position & Wayne has been down to talk to them. They are based at the beginning of the rail trail at Clyde……only a 5km bike ride from home. Unfortunately, the boss is in Cambodia and not back until 11th March, so at the moment Wayne remains jobless. He would like the Rail Journey job so he gets a foot in the door and it may get him a shuttle driver or even tour guide position next year when we come down. He is not going to look at any other jobs as yet & will continue to be my ‘Domestic Goddess’ for a little while longer.  Have an update on that………He headed to Wanaka at 7.am Friday morning to do two days shuttle, bus and taxi driving for Yello. AMP show weekend in Wanaka. At last he is earning a crust………………..now I have to do the washing.!!! He is staying the night, so a first for me to be on my own in the caravan.

Wayne has had his first injection while we have been away. It went quite smoothly, although he ended up seeing the Dr first for all of 30 seconds before the nurse gave him the injection. His next one will be with the same surgery so should be all smooth sailing in 2 weeks time…..it will be for me anyway, I go shopping while he bares his left cheek 😂😉.

We have moved camp  or should I say site.  We are now on the other side of the camp and feel a bit like the ‘Gate Keepers’ as we are opposite the entrance to the camp site. Nice to be on our own and have a bit more space.

We have attended our first ‘out of town’ Rock N Roll Club night. It is based in Lowburn just outside Cormwell.  Small country Hall and all of 8 of us there.  A big change to Top of The South Club, but we were made to feel very welcome.  This club is sericing Akex, Clyde & outlying areas. They have a local dance on tonight and we were going, but unfortunately Wayne will not be back from Wanaka in time for us to go. Hopefully we can support them again in the coming weeks.

We have walked part of the Roxburgh River Trail but decided to turn back about 3 kms in as the track was poorly maintained and it was difficult walking through the tall weeds. As you can see by the photo, there were in places weeds taller than me. Not sure if the whinging & moaning from me was a deciding factor on turning round!!!!  Drowned our sorrows in not completing the walk by having a beer at the Ferry Road Brewery in Alexandra. Have been out and about sight seeing in the area also, (it’s not all about biking, walking and swimming) driving areas of the rail trail and looking at the dams. Have been to Falls Dam, Eweburn Dam and Fraser Dam. Walked into the Golden Progress Gold Mine area and amazing what harsh conditions the men worked in from 1880’s onwards. Makes me appreciate what luxuries we have.  Re-visited St Bathans and Naseby and was surprised everything was closed and not many people about. We believe these places survive on tourists in the height of the summer season. A couple of pubs on the market in these areas for anyone interested in a change of life!!! A few places we will go back to, to maybe do a walk or bike.

I have finally started swimming at the local pool. Been 3 times this week and loving it. Wayne came with me twice, but we will need to work on his technique I think. He has never been a swimmer, so it’s nice to be able to teach him something for a change. See he doesn’t know everything… Still biking daily to the cafe and of course town and the pool etc.  Been for a 6km walk this morning with Annette (property owner) for a coffee at another cafe on the rail trail.  Nothing changes, there must always be a coffee or wine at the end!

Weather has been great, but the nights are closing in and it’s dark around 8.30 – 9pm now. Mornings have been cold and dew on the ground so Autumn is here. We are avoiding winter clothes, but the Jersey has come out of storage. Had some good rain a couple of days ago, which is badly needed here. Hope everyone got a share of that weather pattern with the rain.

It has been wonderful to catch up with some of you in the past few weeks. We went to Dunedin  last Saturday (this time without the caravan) for the day to have lunch with John & Elspeth Beattie and Terry & Sheila Cattle who were attending the Eagles concert. Sorry Sue & Dave, that we didn’t get to see you. We had a wonderful time over a leisurely lunch and then afterwards we took a look around Dunedin and out to the Port. There were 2 cruise boats in and ‘Ovation of the Seas’ was amazing to see. It was 9 story’s high. I believe it does come into Picton also, well worth taking a look at.  Elspeth also called into our humble abode yesterday on her trip back from Queenstown, with her sister & brother-in-law. It was lovely to see them and have another catch up with Elspeth. Thanks for taking the time to drop in Elspeth.

Not so many happy hours now, with the weather changing and that is a good thing for the waist line……………too much drinking on school nights!! Wayne may argue that he has no school nights at the moment. Have visited one winery (boutique – Grey Ridge) and of course had to buy two bottles to add to our collection.  They did tell Wayne to phone them at end of March as they will be hand picking their vineyard, so there is a job if he misses out on Trail Journey!!!

I hope I have not bored you all with my rambles. Having a fabulous time and loving the life.  Until next time……..keep safe and love to all.

Wayne (Bus Driver) & Sue (Office Gypsy)

Otago is our home ……

20190211_084140
Wayne after hearing Gas Repairman sick in Queenstown!
20190213_124113
Queenstown tyre swing – reliving his youth
20190213_140137
Thought of swapping this van for ours. It is carrying more wine than ours! !
Me & Maddy
Sue & her best friend Maddy
20190213_134834
Us on floating bar in Queenstown

Life on the road is good. First there are no time frames. Now that is a hard one to accept. Been running to clocks all our lives & now ” its our time & when we feel like it”.

We have been in Alexandra for 2 weeks. Met lots of nice & interesting people who are stopping over for a few nights in what we lIke to call ‘our place’. Had some interesting conversations with people who have worked on the road while travelling,  so Wayne is now armed & ready to get a job. Unfortunately, our highlight for the past 2 weeks is our fridge!!! It had been going fine on gas as it always has & then it stopped. Our hosts kindly gave us power & a fridge freezer to put our stuff in & then experiments began. To not bore you all senseless, the upshot is that no one in the area wishes to touch 3-way fridges & after getting an appointment in Queenstown with a gas company we packed up camp last Monday & headed off to only get 15 minutes down the gorge road & got the call to say the employee was sick that day….#$@@!! Carried onto Cromwell & had coffee & breakfast & took a chill pill. Back to camp & set up again. I had the bright idea the next morning to try the fridge again & it went! It was all the tossing around on the road that maybe dislodged something.  Thinking we were safe to leave it going, we headed off to Queenstown minus the caravan the next day & had a lovely couple of days with Barry & Carol Mills at their lovely holiday home in Queenstown. The views are amazing & the hospitlaity just as amazing. Headed home via Arrowtown & took a look at the shotover river thrill seeking adventures. No trips for us as we both have done it before. Was concerned Wayne wanted to do white water rafting, but he said no & I breathed again. Arrived back to camp to find the fridge had stopped while we were away. OK that ends my career as a refrigeration engineer, appointment made with a Dunedin RV company for Tuesday next week for a service & diagnosis & let that be the end of this. Upshot of this is Wayne will look for work after the fridge is sorted. He does not appear concerned about being unemployed!!!!!

Oh yes another delemna is our electric toothbrush charger has decided to stop!! First world problem as Wayne would say.

Things we have been doing:

1 kayak in double kayak on Lake Dunstan…winds came up & not pleasant so aborted that exercise.  – Biking on a daily basis, either going to the recycling & getting rid of rubbish & getting a coffee. Washing in backpack to laundromat & getting a coffee, just simply riding for a coffee. Walking daily, mostly to the cafe (5km round trip). I intend to start swimming at local pool in next week or so. YES there is a coffee theme going on. ☕☕ Of course Wayne has started running, no real hills around us but enjoying the dip in the river before coming home. Wayne also did a return 40km ride to Chatto Creek on the rail trail. I was busy at the time!!!

Hosts have a dog called Maddy, she is my friend. Picture attached. It’s true!!!

Incidents along the way that may be funny for one of us ……. happy hours tend to happen around here daily, sometimes starting way before 5pm. You pick up your chair  & drink & gather wherever everyone is. One night we did not take our chairs but used a fellow campers & Wayne, he states he did nothing untoward, fell through the chair canvas ending up folded up in the frame. Now I don’t mean to laugh, but you had to be there. We did show care & concern after we got over the funny side of it!!! We were not allowed to replace the chair with a new one. Nice people are found on the road of travelling gypsies!

Walking on the rail trail can be hazardess as there is a golf course adjacent to the trail and once we had a golf ball sail right in front of us, so hence we stop & watch the golfers tee off to avoid concussion or worse. Entertaining for us!!!! Sorry to all you golfers out there.

I’ve been to my first book club….always wondered if they read books or discussed them?? Annette, our host asked if I would like to go one Tuesday night. It goes like this, you drive to the local Monteiths pub, order a glass of wine, put some books in the middle of the table, general chat for 5 mins about what’s good to read etc then 12 womens start talking all at once about anything. Great night out!! Those of you who know me so well will laugh when I worked out who was me in the group…yes the bossy one or organizer whose name was Barbara.

We’ve been over to Annette & Roberts home for a meal. Coffee at new Industry Lane Cafe on rail trail (our local). Breakfast at Clyde at Olivers Cafe (biked there). Lunched at old Cromwell Town (drove there). Monteith Pub for dinner with Graham & Jenny Savell from Tauranga. Wayne & Graham worked together in ANZ days some 25 years ago. They also stayed at Dunstan Road in their motorhome next to our abode that night.

Bits of interest ( this is mainly for us as a record of our adventure) – 1 machine wash costs  $4 & time of 25 min. Soap powder supplied. Coffee $5 each. Free Range eggs $5 on roadside. Blueberries down the road & fruit in abundance in Cromwell & other areas at roadside stalls. New bike pedals for Wayne & new column for my handlebars so I’m sitting up a bit straighter. Need to keep me happy so I will continue biking. So many E bikes around!!!! Slowly replacing broken glasses & have ordered a new lightweight dinner set online to be delivered to us in Alex. Looks just like the real thing not malamine or plastic,  so anything to get the weight out of the caravan. We will be boxing up our one & dropping it off in the lockup going through Blenheim & I’m sure there will be lots more staying behind.

My car was sold last Friday. Thrilled it did not take long, so watch out for that speedy blue Holden Barina RS all you people of Blenheim, its back on the road…mind you I have no idea who bought it!!! It could be anywhere.

Of course I am working hard & the rent money is coming in, so that is keeping Wayne in a lifestyle he appears to be enjoying far too much. Will report in once he has taken up employment.

Hope you are all well & life is treating you right. Stay safe, till next time.

The Travelling Gypsies…aka,  Wayne & Sue xx

Our trip so far……

 

It’s all reality now and we have been on the road with no fixed abode for 6 days. First night in St Arnaud. Great place to rest and recharge the batteries after a busy few days packing, cleaning the house for our new tenants and of course finding a spot for all our worldly possessions in the caravan. (We have taken far too much and will have to ditch some things along the way!!!).
Day 2 we headed off south for Leithfield Beach. Lots of roadworks & improvements to the in-land road, but rough & bumpy still in many places. Of course the compulsary coffee stop was had in Murchison. Arrived late afternoon & had a BBQ & a few bottles of wine with Ian & Jacky. Day 3 was catching up with friends and relatives in Christchurch. Headed out of Christchurch Thursday & stopped at Ashburton for first repair. Caravan front blind stuck so we got the experts to fix it. Unfortunately,  when we opened the door of the caravan, one of the draws had come out & we had smashed glasses & cups everywhere. Maybe we should look at plastic wine glasses for the future!!! Oh well, on the bright side it removed some of the clutter 😂. Stayed at Lake Tekapo for the night. Swim in the lake as temperatures in the 30’s and Wayne had a kayak. Was suppose to head to Alexandra the next day but we had gale force winds start at 3am, so hunkered down for another day and let the weather sort itself. No fun in towing in gales. Arrived in Alexandra this morning and weather was perfect. Caravan & awning now up and as our hosts said…make yourselves at home. So, Dunstan Rd will now be our home for however long is needed (and our hosts Annette & Robert let us stay 😀) I will start 10 hours work from next week and Wayne will take a well earned rest before he ventures out to find interesting jobs to add to our financial wellbeing.  Until our next report, we wish all our friends & family love & best wishes. Sue & Wayne