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Got back from our recce a while ago .....

Got back from our recce a while ago .....

Old Mar 22nd 2008, 7:31 pm
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Default Got back from our recce a while ago .....

...... and finding it very hard to settle down back in the UK. Lots of very mixed emotions and a whole different set of questions for us to think about.
The good thing (?) is that we cant go anywhere for a few years so there is no urgency .. but doesn't stop us thinking about it all every day. Never mind Summer is coming even tho we have this icy blast to remind us that Winter hasn't quite left ... yet!

Anyway thought i would post some of our thoughts about our travels... and I will offer apologies in advance if I inadvertantly offend anyone!

We flew out on 31st January with Singapore Airlines and they were just as good as everyone said they were. Would definitely recommend them especially for service. We had a 30 hour stopover in Singapore which, for us, was not long enough to really explore the city but was too long to stay in the Transit Hotel. We stayed in a Copthorne hotel between the city and the airport which was very comfortable but a bit far out. We did the "city tour" but we were a bit dissapointed with that. Would stay longer and in the heart of the city next time but dont get me wrong we still enjoyed!

Attachment 64039
Another good flight took us to Auckland where we stayed for 2 nights. Now I have read a lot on this forum about Jaffaland and I dont pretend to have seen much of it ... but what I did see I quite liked!! I liked the fact that the city has such great access to harbours and beaches and I like the ethnic mix of the city. So as cities go (and I am not a city girl) it was surprisingly ok. My OH hated it however although he did appreciate the harbourside restaurants and the view from Skt Tower I tried to get him to jump off but no joy!
We stayed at the Copthorne Harbour City which suited us perfectly - fab view, not too expensive and easy walking distance to the train station.
[ATTACH]Got back from our recce a while ago .....-cimg1112.jpg[/ATTACH]
Attached Thumbnails Got back from our recce a while ago .....-cimg1133.jpg  
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Old Mar 22nd 2008, 7:59 pm
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Default Re: Got back from our recce a while ago .....

Caught the Overlander train down to Waikannae Beach where our friends live. This was an early start (7am) and a very long (11hrs) jurney but totally worth it! Jet lag made us very tired at time but we were too afraid to take a nap in case we missed something. Scenary was fantastic and if you want a good description of the journey check out Marika's post about her trip at New Year. How she remembered all of that I dont know!
Anyway the commentary from the "Auckland Crew" was fab but less so as we travelled south. Food on the train was pretty good and fairly reasonable - as trains go! We paid about $100 for the two of us and we thought it was good value.
Ok so we could have travelled down by plane in a fraction of the time but we got to see parts of NZ that even many Kiwi's have not seen. We also got the see the less scenic stuff like all the graffiti but that was ok because it helped remove some of the rosy tinge to my sunglasses!
We booked online and there was a list of stops which did not include Waikannae but apparently if you ask the crew they will stop at any station? Our friends picked us up from Paraparam which is only about 15 mins from them so no sweat.
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Old Mar 22nd 2008, 9:23 pm
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Default Re: Got back from our recce a while ago .....

Our friends emmigrated over 2 years ago and we were their first visitors from the UK.
It was good to see how they had settled into their new life and we learnt a lot from our week with them.
We met some of their new friends who have been very good to them during difficult times. They have had 3 immediate family bereavements since they left UK and 3 new grandchildren so it has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for them but they would never go back to the UK. They have embraced their new lifestyle 100%.
Not sure if I could get into all the socialising that they do, although they did more than usual for our benefit they said. It would be easy to get into that way of life (to make friends and settle) but I prefer more time to myself and my own space. OH loved it tho!
I also noticed a lot of recism towards basically everyone except white people but especially towards the Maori and this made us both feel uncomfortable. Is this common I wonder? Obviously when people have had a few drinks and feel comfortable amongst friends all sorts get expressed that wouldnt be talked about in more superficial conversation .. but disconcerting all the same.

We liked the area - Kapiti coast is very pretty and felt like a nice place to live. Dont know about schools etc as we dont have school age kids anymore. It was good to know that we could afford a nice house (4 beds/2baths) near the beach and that we could manage reasonably well financially.

Visited the Wairarapa (felt travel sick going up all those hilly bendy roads) and had a lovely lunch in in Greytown - nice quaint town which we would never have visited otherwise.
The car museum in Waikannae is brilliant by the way and really cheap to get in - $10. Even I enjoyed it and I'm not fussed on cars! Cars from all over the world and loads of them. Brought back memories of my youth - God I must be getting old!!

OH enjoyed a trip out on the boat around Kapiti Island and he really enjoyed. He caught loads of fish including a king fish which we barbercued for supper that night. He also got to see fur seals and penguins![ATTACH]Attachment 64047

Got back from our recce a while ago .....-p1010018.jpg[/ATTACH]

Despite our friends being well settled, when it was time to leave the husband became very upset and admitted that we had unsettled him more than he would have thought possible. He had intended going back to the UK in August but now feels afraid to do that and will wait a bit longer. Too many long chats over too many drinks late into the morning if you ask me! I guess that you never get over being away from family and friends?

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Old Mar 22nd 2008, 10:13 pm
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Default Re: Got back from our recce a while ago .....

I was a bit disappointed in Wellington but I didn't get to see it at its best and to be honest I didn't get to see much of it at all.
It was Chinese New Year so the streets were clogged up but we couldn't actually see the parade. We couldn't get out to walk as it was raining and we didnt have coats but we spent a long time beside a car wash which advertised the "best hand jobs in town"

Attachment 64049

Attachment 64050

We also had our only disappointing meal in Welly but hey ho thats not bad for a month of travelling. Would like to visit again and spend more time there, dont feel we saw enough to have a true opinion of it.

After a week we left our friends and flew to Christchurch, flew with Virgin Blue - had a really good price in the sale, $78 for both of us. Had a quick look around the city - found it very pleasant and pretty and for as much as I saw I preferred it to both Auckland and Wellington.It was cold though - 10 degrees colder than Welly, bit of a shock at first.
We stayed at the Arena motel which was walking distance to the city but not in it - and we had fabulous service from the motel owners. Comfortable room, reasonable price but a very personal and friendly service. Offered to pick us up from anywhere if we got lost and took us to the train station next morning for our early ride to Kaikoura.
The train ride across the Canterbury Plains showed more of NZ as I imagined it to be, lots of sheep and very rural. Pretty but mostly flat and I am used to a few hills around me. A few hours later we arrived in Kaikoura where we were able to check into our Top 10 studio unit early and where again the service was very good as was the actual accommodation. We were only there for 2 nights but managed to get on a whalewatching trip for the next day. That was well worth doing - got to see a whale up close but for me the highlight was being so close to scores of dusky dolphins who were sooo playful
Also saw fur seals and lots of bird life including an albatross which flew right across our boat. If you are going to Kaikoura you need to book ahead - OH wanted to do a fishing trip and swim with dolphins but all booked up. Sleepy little town but well geared up for tourists.

[ATTACH][ATTACH]Attachment 64053[/ATTACH][/ATTACH]
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Old Mar 23rd 2008, 1:43 pm
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Default Re: Got back from our recce a while ago .....

We got back on the Tranzcoastal for our onward journey to Picton. The weather was bad as we left Kaikoura which meant the Pacific was a dull grey as we left and the coastline was mostly rocky so a rather grey start to the day to be honest. Even so I took the opportunity to get out on the open viewing deck and just enjoy the fresh air and witness the power of the waves. Still lots to see, fur seals and bird life etc
Attachment 64097

I really enjoyed our train journeys but OH found it a bit slow and even got a dose or two of "scenery overload". He found it really frustrating that all the cars were overtaking us - the man has no soul!
Attachment 64096[Got to Picton at approx 1pm. The train is timed to connect with the 1.30 Interislander by the way and it is just a short walk from the train station to the ferry terminal. An even shorter walk for us was to Pegasus car hire which is actually located at the train station. We picked up a car for our 3 night stay in Tahunanui Beach, Nelson.
We took the scenic route to Nelson (Queen Charlotte Drive) and if you get the chance do it! We were going to drive straight there and drive back that way but since it turned out to be a lovely day we gave it a go even though we were travel fatigued by this time. As it turned out when we came back 3 days later the sounds were shrouded in mist.
Attachment 64099 ATTACH]64100[/ATTACH]Attachment 64101

It was a relatively easy drive over to Nelson. I have to do all the driving because OH has eyesight probs and this was the first time for me to drive in NZ even though we had been there about 2 weeks by this time. I have to say that my experience as a passenger in Waikannae was far more scary than the reality in South Island. Not sure if that because there were more "hoons" around Waikannae or whether every mistake or difficulty was being pointed out to me or whether its because I'm fairly easy going and drive around the place in blissful ignorance! We were given an old car (6/7yr old) but it turned out to be a fabulous little runabout but lots of oomph for all those hills.... and much cheaper than the UK or US.

We stayed at the Driftwood Motel which I got from a link off this site. The owner is an ex pat himself. The motel was great - very comfortable, clean and friendly - good location too.We liked Nelson area as soon as we got there, still not sure why! Sure its got loads going for it - weather, scenery etc but it was something less tangible than that for us and even now weeks later we cant quite put our finger on it. Some people(especially those from North Is) warned us that we would feel isolated if we lived there. But we didn't feel that - I am sure that there are people out there who are of the opinion that if you dont live in London then you are not really living! Hell, we havent even been to Cardiff which is only 30 mins away for over a year and we are doing ok!! I guess it might be different if you are younger or haven't travelled much. We felt there was plenty on South Island to keep us busy for years and North Island is only a flight away.
OH enjoyed our first evening there because he was able to catch up with a bit of 6 nations rugby! We had the most friendly welcome when we landed at Auckland by the way. The immigration officer shook our hand and told us the good news - Wales had beaten England whilst we were flying. Makes a change from when we fly into the States where it is all very serious
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Old Mar 23rd 2008, 4:59 pm
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Default Re: Got back from our recce a while ago .....

On Saturday we went to the farmers market in Nelson. This was really interesting. There was a good mix of fruit and veg, deli type foods and arts and crafts. Not so much tat as we get in some of our markets in the UK although OH did pick up a surprisingly good pair of polaroids for $15.
It felt good just to soak up the atmosphere although I wonder what it would be like in the winter? Nelson had the feel of a "real" town/city about it and I'm not sure what I mean by that. Yes it caters for tourists but it had a heart to it as well!!??

One of the local characters!
Attachment 64109

In the afternoon we went for a drive and called in at Rabbit Island and went for a walk on the beach. It certainly is a beautiful and unspoilt place. We then drove further on to Mapua and enjoyed a nice coffee on the wharf and whats some little kids trying to fish whilst some other kids were jumping off the wharf. It didnt matter that they were unlikely to catch anything with all that activity going on, they were just enjoying "having a go". I have enjoyed visiting places that I have read about on this site - it has brought your conversations to life. Now when you go off for your picnics/meet ups I will almost be there!
Mapua
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The next day we had booked a 3 hour boat trip of Abel Tasman park on one of the water taxis. It departed from Marahau which was about 1hr and 20 mins from our motel. We stopped off in Motueka for breakfast and were surprised and pleased to see that there was a vintage car rally going on. It was lovely to see all those old cars out there doing their thang!

Our boat trip was a real highlight - we enjoyed every minute. It was a beautiful day and the coastline and the water was simply stunning. We went in and out of bays picking people up/dropping them off and met people of all nationalities but all of us just very pleased to be in such a beautiful place.
Attachment 64114Attachment 64115
We got to see stingrays, fur seals (again) and those fish that jump about in the sea!! Where is OH when you need him!
We called back at Kaiteriteri on the way back and just sat on the beach for a while. What a lovely spot to sit and relax. Lovely beach, beautiful golden sands, safe little lagoon for the kids, enough going on with all the water taxi's coming in/out and all the kayak's an all. Sorry that we didn't get chance to kayak - definitely something I would want to do if I went back. This was probably the best single day for both of us. of the entire trip and something that we will remember for years to come.Attachment 64116

The following day we headed back to Picton stopping off in Havelock for breakfast. What a nice little town. We were accompanied on our journey at various times by some of the vintage cars that we had seen in Motueka although they struggled up some of those hills.

We caught the 1.30 ferry to Wellington but as I said before the sounds were rather misty that day and it was raining which was a real shame as we were really looking forward to seeing more of the sounds. Attachment 64117Got back from our recce a while ago .....-cimg1338.jpg
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Old Mar 24th 2008, 1:13 am
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Default Re: Got back from our recce a while ago .....

I'm loving your account of your reccie. Sounds like you had a fabulous time. Our experience of Wellington was the same - we couldn't see it for the rain!
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Old Mar 24th 2008, 11:07 am
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Default Re: Got back from our recce a while ago .....

Thank you, glad someone is interested

The journey on the ferry wasn't too bad but given that we choose the ferry because we wanted to sail through the sounds and weather wasn't great - next time I would go by plane!

We picked up our car at the other end. We booked with Ace cars this time who charged nearly half what Pegasus quoted us - saved us $370. Their office isn't at the ferry terminal but I phoned them and they picked us up, and their depot was not too far away. We had a newish (2yr old) car, Nissan Sunny which served us pretty well but was a bit under powered for the hills and those passing lanes!

We had left some of our gear (fishin rod!) at our friends house so we headed back up to Kapiti Coast for one last night with them. After some more emotional farewells we headed off the next morning to Napier where we had booked in for 1 night, to break up our journey as much as anything.
Our friends pointed us in the right direction having travelled that road many times. Head up H1 till you see the sign for Napier - so thats what I did! I kept on H1 until I saw a sign for Napier. However I should have taken the road for Palmerston North!
Anyway we had a lovely journey, the scenery was very impressive and the traffic light.
Attachment 64149Attachment 64152

After about 120 km we got chatting to a farmer from Hamilton who was out doing a recce to see if the road was passable for his caravan! He explained to us that there was 25km section of unsealed road ahead. I just thought it would be a bit of a rough road but I soon discovered differently

The road suddenly turned into slush! But I thought it will get better - did it heck! The road got steeper and steeper - apparently the road is closed in bad weather. All these 4x4's were screaming past me in a cloud of dust whilst we plodded along in our little nissan sunny. Dont think I got out of 2nd gear for hours! I'm a fairly confident driver but steep drops with no road grip is very scary and to cap it all the mist came down and my visibility was down to about 20 foot - although at times I would be laughing in a rather hysterical fashion - which scared OH even more. Apparently we took the Kaweka Forest track which believe me is very beautiful but not for the faint hearted. I went to the loo in a "campsite" but I didnt see any signs of life. The toilet was an experience in its self but by now I was desperate. Anyway we eventually got to Napier after 5 hours when it should have taken us half the time. We were absolutely filthy, our luggage in the boot was also caked in thick dust and we must have inhaled and swallowed some rubbish

Our hotel turned out to be a real haven of luxury! We were booked into the Quality Inn in a standard room but for some reason we ended up with a suite with 2 bedrooms, full kitchen and laundry and a sitting room and dining room. Lovely view of the sea as well.
Good job we had the laundry - first thing I did was get some washing powder and wash our clothes, and then we had a shower. Right pair of scruffy buggers we were!

Napier was very nice but it was quite late when we got there. We walked around the Art Deco district which was impressive and walked along the coastal path for a little ways before having a meal and going back to the hotel to do more washing and sleep. Napier passed us by to be honest, didn't take any photo's or anything.

Got on the road all refreshed (but with a stinkin car) early next morning and headed up to Papamoa Beach.
After the trials of the previous day we had a really pleasant journey - good roads and we made good time. By now we were desperate to stay in one place for more than a few nights so we were chuffed to put some miles behind us. We did however stop for brunch at Lake Taupo at a cafe called "Friendlys" which was really, really good. Never seen such a choice
We loved Lake Taupo - it felt like we were by the sea! The lake is huge and we spent a very pleasant hour or two there.Attachment 64156Attachment 64157
On the way to BOP we drove through Rotorua didnt feel inclined to stop for any length of time. Nothing to do with the smell, more to do with travel fatigue and the desire to "arrive". We did briefly stop at Lake Rotorua and very pretty it was too!Attachment 64158Attachment 64159

We drove through Te Puke which looked like a nice town but didn't stop and we arrived at Papamoa Beach just 15 mins or so later. Stayed at another Top 10 holiday park and it was very well equipped, clean, modern - lovely deck. Attachment 64160 Attachment 64161
Good location - on the beach but shops close by. OH couldn't wait and went fishin straight away and he was very impressed - caught fish and pleasant spot - what more could he want?
Next day he was up at the crack of dawn hoping for some more but was back in the apt by 8am declaring that the sea was "bloody unfishable" due to all the red weed that had appeared. To say he was disappointed is an understatement :curse:
After breakfast we set off along that stretch of coast to see if the weed was every where. The beaches at the Mount were clear of weed but too shallow to fish - apparently! Lovely beach in my opinion but more of a surfers beach I suppose.Attachment 64162Attachment 64163

Looks like the weed was a sign of something happening way out to sea because next day we had what turned out to be 4 days of practically solid high winds and rain. What we discovered was that Papamoa Beach is absolutely beautiful but ... what do you do when its raining? Ok if you live the because you have a life to live - work, kids, chores, shopping etc but if you are on hols?? And it was not just raining believe me, it was howling a gale! Some people had booked to get married on the beach - poor souls.

The beach doesn't look quite as inviting in these photos!Attachment 64164Attachment 64165

I had arranged to meet up with Marika, and Caroline so I spent a very pleasant few hours with them having coffee and a few glasses of wine. Thanks girls - I really enjoyed. OH wasn't so happy though - trapped indoors as he said - soooo dramatic!
Anyway we passed away the days shopping and eating! Went to some lovely restaurants in Tauranga which we both really liked although we nearly got blown off our feet! And after 5 days it was time to head off north where we were to stay 3 nights with his cousin ...
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Old Mar 24th 2008, 11:10 am
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Default Re: Got back from our recce a while ago .....

Wow Jackie, this is a great account of your reccie here, well-done for all that typing , .
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Old Mar 24th 2008, 11:26 am
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Default Re: Got back from our recce a while ago .....

This is so funny - Napier 'passed us by' too because it rained the whole time we were there - not one photo! We've even stayed at some of the same places!

Just a word that your attachments aren't working - they should be showing up as pictures in the post. I've clicked on the links but can't get them to work.
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Old Mar 24th 2008, 12:46 pm
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Default Re: Got back from our recce a while ago .....

Originally Posted by jackietyfry View Post
Thank you, glad someone is interested

We drove through Te Puke which looked like a nice town but didn't stop and we arrived at Papamoa Beach just 15 mins or so later. Stayed at another Top 10 holiday park and it was very well equipped, clean, modern - lovely deck. Attachment 64160 Attachment 64161
Good location - on the beach but shops close by. OH couldn't wait and went fishin straight away and he was very impressed - caught fish and pleasant spot - what more could he want?
Next day he was up at the crack of dawn hoping for some more but was back in the apt by 8am declaring that the sea was "bloody unfishable" due to all the red weed that had appeared. To say he was disappointed is an understatement :curse:
After breakfast we set off along that stretch of coast to see if the weed was every where. The beaches at the Mount were clear of weed but too shallow to fish - apparently! Lovely beach in my opinion but more of a surfers beach I suppose.Attachment 64162Attachment 64163

Looks like the weed was a sign of something happening way out to sea because next day we had what turned out to be 4 days of practically solid high winds and rain. What we discovered was that Papamoa Beach is absolutely beautiful but ... what do you do when its raining? Ok if you live the because you have a life to live - work, kids, chores, shopping etc but if you are on hols?? And it was not just raining believe me, it was howling a gale! Some people had booked to get married on the beach - poor souls.

The beach doesn't look quite as inviting in these photos!Attachment 64164Attachment 64165

I had arranged to meet up with Marika, and Caroline so I spent a very pleasant few hours with them having coffee and a few glasses of wine. Thanks girls - I really enjoyed. OH wasn't so happy though - trapped indoors as he said - soooo dramatic!
Anyway we passed away the days shopping and eating! Went to some lovely restaurants in Tauranga which we both really liked although we nearly got blown off our feet! And after 5 days it was time to head off north where we were to stay 3 nights with his cousin ...
Hi Jackie

When exactly were you in Papamoa? We were there from 14th Feb until 11th March staying with our daughter and family. We did go to other places as well as you will have seen if you have read my report. I agree its a lovely place but the same as anywhere else when its raining. Sorry but I can't seem to look at your photos for some unknown reason.

Last edited by Margaret Parkinson; Mar 24th 2008 at 12:51 pm.
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Old Mar 24th 2008, 1:02 pm
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Default Re: Got back from our recce a while ago .....

I have nothing to do with NZ - I'm just loving reading about your trip!
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Old Mar 24th 2008, 1:13 pm
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Default Re: Got back from our recce a while ago .....

Some of my photos taken in February

Got back from our recce a while ago .....-papamoa-beach.jpg

Papamoa Beach

Got back from our recce a while ago .....-mt-maunganui-beach.jpg

Mt Maunganui Beach

Got back from our recce a while ago .....-mt-maunganui.jpg

Mt Maunganui
Margaret Parkinson is offline  
Old Mar 24th 2008, 1:20 pm
  #14  
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Default Re: Got back from our recce a while ago .....

Thanks guys!
Some of my attachments have come up ok so I'm not sure what I am doing wrong - any advice appreciated.
We were in Papamoa from 20th - 25th Feb.

I'm actually going away today, just for the night so I will write a bit more tomorrow night or Wednesday.
Jackie.x
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Old Mar 24th 2008, 1:27 pm
  #15  
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Default Re: Got back from our recce a while ago .....

Our paths may have crossed.

I save my pictures to my documents then upload from there. You go on attach then upload your choice from your documents this takes a few minutes when this is done click on attach again and then upload all.

Last edited by Margaret Parkinson; Mar 24th 2008 at 1:30 pm.
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