Zig-zagging the South Island

From further south, we drive up to Oamaru, a pretty little town. (Few towns in NZ are not.)

Oamaru harbor

It’s the home of an upcoming Steampunk Festival.

Downtown Oamaru

Frankly, ‘steampunk‘ is a phenomenon that I just don’t get. But Oamaru has other attractions.

There are penguins.

Penguin classics

And seals.

On the rocks

And water birds.

Pier pressure

We head for Mt. Cook. We stop to stretch our legs at a rest stop that contains some Maori rock art.

Not exactly the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

We are back in the mountainous interior.

Maria and Kiwi

We eventually come to Lake Pukaki. Difficult to tell in this photo, but it’s an unearthly blue.

Lake Pukaki

The lake is fed by the glacial melt of the Tasman River.

Tasman River

Approaching Mt. Cook, NZ’s highest peak.

Mt. Cook in the distance
NZ Southern Alps

These signs are regular sights around the country.

Words to the wise

We stop at a salmon farm and leave with lots of smoked goodies for the road.

We think Kiwi deserves a gift. Somewhere along the way, we find an inexpensive paua-shell necklace.

A kiwi for Kiwi

Kiwi is almost exactly like Matilda in Australia in layout and reliability. It feels like being home.

‘Life rocks, when your living room rolls!’

.We spend a few days at beautiful Lake Tekapo.

Lake Tekapo

The morning of our departure, a mist hangs over the lake.

Lake Tekapo

Zagging back out to the east coast, we drive across a scenic road on the ridge of the Banks Peninsula. Poor Kiwi’s brakes heat up like an oven on these steep, twisty roads.

On this particular day, the landscape is as stark and brooding and enigmatic as a Nick Cave composition.

Banks Peninsula

Next day is sunnier.

The town of Akaroa itself was founded by a handful of French families in the 1830s.

Akaroa, Banks Peninsula

We stay in a campground above town with a panoramic view.

At work on the blog above Akaroa. Or is it the NYT crossword?

We then zig once more across the island over to Nelson, via Hanmer Springs and the Lewis Pass. And zag back to Blenheim in the Marlborough region to stock up on wine and visit the local Marlborough Museum. Of course it has an interesting permanent exhibit about the local wine industry. We enjoy a section about the cork-versus-screw-cap controversy. The results in New Zealand:

The Death of the Cork

Then it’s a quick drive to Picton for the ferry back to the North Island.

Sight or Insight of the Day

Passing through the town of Little River, we see this unique accommodation constructed entirely of silos.

Bin there, done that

Having spent over ten years building silos in Europe at one time, I have to stop and investigate. I must admit, I often thought a modified silo would make an interesting dwelling.

They still haunt my dreams

Apparently I’m not the only one.