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About this blog

An account of our travels and tribulations.

Entries in this blog

 

Adelaide

Adelaide is the largest city in the state of South Australia. It is the smallest of the five cities in Australia with a population over one million. It is located on the southern coast of Australia in the State of South Australia. The Murray River is the largest river in Australia and its mouth is just east of Adelaide. It was the Murray River that we crossed on a Ferry on our way into Adelaide. We have arranged to have some repair work done on the caravan at the Britz office in Adelaide on

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Langhorn Creek and The Bleasdale Winery

The campground at Mount Gambier was in a difficult location to find and when we did, it wasn’t the best place to stay. They let us choose our own site which was their way of not having to listen to us complain about the assigned site. We found no level sites and settled for one that was nearly level. It was at the bottom of a slope and back away from the road for some distance. This became a concern when I heard it start raining during the night. As the night went on, the rain continued in

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Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road

Leaving Melbourne we head southwest toward the coast and a road called the Great Ocean Road. It is a little more than a hundred kilometers to the coast. When we reach the Great Ocean Road we find a curving, hilly, narrow road. Reaching the ocean, we are rewarded with wonderful views of a spectacular coast. We spent three days on the Great Ocean Road. We found so many viewpoints that we were unable to stop at all of them. The coast in this area between Melbourne and Adelaide is rugged limes

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We’re Back in the Camper Again

Arriving at Britz at 7:45 a.m. we found the place locked up. It was not only locked up, the parking lot was gated and there was no place to leave the luggage when we got out of the cab. The driver suggested that we go to a shopping center a block north of the Britz office. We found a bench near the mall entrance and piled our luggage there. Here we were homeless, we just needed to find a shopping cart for our possessions! I waited while Louise went inside to find a cup of coffee. When she

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More Exploring on Tasmania

Day six was a late start as we planned a late night activity. Mt. William National Park in the northeast is known for its abundant wildlife. Most marsupials are active at night and the information on this national park suggested spending time after sunset observing the wildlife. Many of these animals we had seen along the roadside, killed by automobiles. Now we wanted to see them live. We hiked to the top of Mt. William in the late afternoon and returned to the car as the sun was setting.

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We Explore Tasmania

Our second day we drove south to Hobart and Tasman National Park. There we saw interesting natural features, tessellated pavement, sea arches and a blowhole formed when waves cut a tunnel through the cliff front so that water comes bursting through with each wave. At Eaglehawk neck we walked from one shore to the other in five minutes. A low sandy neck of land connects the area to the south to the north mainland. On the southern peninsula lies the town of Port Arthur which was a penal colony

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Ferry to Tasmania and a New Home

Our wake-up call on Monday, March 3 was set for 6:00 a.m. so we could get a cab to the Spirit of Tasmania terminal by 6:30 a.m. Boarding would start shortly thereafter. Everything went on schedule and we were the first to board. The ride to Tasmania is scheduled for 9 hours and we arrived at 5:00 p.m. Avis Rental Cars has a facility in the terminal in Tasmania and we were second in line to get our car. The process went much faster than at an airport in the US. We were on our way by 5:30 p.

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Melbourne - Life in the Big City

We spent three nights in a hotel in downtown Melbourne which gave us two full days to explore the downtown. We walked to the Carlton Gardens Park the first day, a good six blocks from our hotel. The grounds were lush and green with huge trees of all kinds growing along the walkways. The park is closed to bicycles so it is walkers only. They do allow families with young children to bring their bikes to the park. We saw groups of people playing various games, exercising, doing yoga, and just

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Good Bye New Zealand – Hello Australia

Thursday, February 27 would be our last full day in New Zealand. On the top of our list was turning in the campervan. We packed up all our belongings in our suitcases and I dropped Louise at the Sudima Hotel which is right at the Christchurch airport. The Britz office was just around the corner, walking distance from the hotel. The process of turning in the campervan was much easier than I had anticipated. Being there early helped. The agent dig through several dozen contract packages befo

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Christchurch – The Rebuild Tour

Our second day of touring Chirstchurch we chose to take a tour sponsored by the Canterbury Museum. Titled the Rebuild Tour, this bus trip through downtown Christchurch showed us much of the destruction of two earthquakes, September 4, 2010 Magnitude 7.1 and six months later on February 22, 2011 at Magnitude 6.3, which literally wrecked the city of Christchurch. The theme of the trip was the effort to rebuild the city with building codes that would help the city withstand further earthquakes.

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Christchurch – Gateway to Antarctica

Leaving Fairley on Monday morning we drove through farmlands with the first real crops we had seen in New Zealand. We had seen many hay fields but these were wheat and corn fields, cultivated crops. We stopped to enjoy the view from a high vantage point overlooking this agricultural land. Traveling along, we had a running debate on where to go next. The first 40 kilometers would get us back to the main roads and from there we had choices. We could take NZ 1 directly to Christchurch or we c

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The Mount John Observatory

Fairley is a small town which was the subject of an earlier post on the people and culture of New Zealand. We booked a tour of the Mt. John Observatory when we arrived at the TOP 10 Holiday Park on Sunday, February 23. The weather was mostly cloudy and it was sprinkling rain but I figured we needed to take the chance if we were going to have a chance to visit the observatory. They do day tours but I was most interested in the night tours. Two night tours were offered, one starting at 8:30 ab

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The Otega Peninsula and Taiaroa Head Reserve

By now we have learned that penguins are best seen very early in the morning as they are going from their nests to the sea or at sunset when they are returning. Leaving Dunedin we decide to give penguins another try. This time we plan to start early enough to get a good chance to see penguins on our way out of Dunedin. The Otega Peninsula extends from Dunedin to the northeast. At the far end of the peninsula is Taiaroa Head Reserve, prime territory for seeing wildlife. There are two routes

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Kaka Point

As we drive on to the east, we are getting further south as we go. We are near the southernmost point of the South Island of New Zealand. The southernmost point is on private land and we missed the sign for that so we came close but didn’t get to that spot. One of my goals is to see penguins and we had already seen a pair at Curio Bay the day before. I woke Louise early this morning so we could get to Kaka Point in time to see the penguins leave their nests in the morning on their way to the

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Taieri Gorge Train Tour

This day is February 21, 2014. We are now in our final week in New Zealand. Our objective today is a train tour into the Taieri Gorge. The tour starts at 2:00 in the afternoon so we had a leisurely morning before catching the bus just a block from our holiday park. The bus driver was quite friendly. We paid our fare, $5.50 NZ for the two of us one way to downtown. The driver took cash and made change. The bus drivers in Dunedin carry large amounts of cash which they use to make change for

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Touring the Catlins

We called our support number for our campervan to get some repair work done. We had two cabinets which had latches that seized. One was under the sink and the built-in garbage pail was there, partially full of garbage. Sooner or later we were going to have to open that door. So they scheduled us for a stop at an auto salvage company first thing in the morning. When we arrived we were quite surprised to find a nicely appointed office. The owner of the company made us welcome, offered us co

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Te Anau to Invercargo – The Scenic Route

There are two ways to get from Te Anau to Invercargo. The fast route is inland and shorter but the scenic route is recommended by the guide books and it is designated as a scenic route by New Zealand so we’re taking the scenic route. The route stays close to but not in Fiordland National Park, running along the eastern side of the mountain range. Still, the glacial evidence abounds on this side of the mountains. The valley is broad and flat and the road is good for a scenic road. Being glac

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Fiordland National Park

Our second tour was a bus and boat trip to visit Doubtful Fiord and a power plant. Both Louise and I will never pass up a chance to tour a power plant. Combine that with the fiord tour and we were all in. So much so that I packed all my optic equipment for photography and bird watching and then walked out of the campervan without my camera! We were on our way on the tour bus before I realized I didn’t have the camera so there was nothing to be done. I have not a single picture from the tri

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Glowworm Cave Tour

Glowworms are found throughout New Zealand. There are numerous glowworm caves. We chose this one partly because of the sightseeing and partly out of curiosity. I didn’t know what to expect. I think the mystery is part of the sales pitch. So if you don’t like people spoiling your suspense and surprise, turn off the sound right now. We were in Te Anau at the TOP 10 Holiday Park and made reservations as we checked in at the desk. The tour left from the Real Journeys tour office in Te Anau, j

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Finding New Friends

Leaving Haast, we immediately stopped to pick up a couple of hitchhikers. This isn’t something you’d do in the US but here in New Zealand there are lots of young people who are out and exploring. There were two young men along the road just as we were picking up speed so we stopped and took them down the road to their next destination. They were college students from Holland. Both were civil engineering majors. They have finished their third year and are taking a 5 month break before finish

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New Zealand – The Culture and People

I shall attempt to share some personal impressions of the culture and people of New Zealand. New Zealand has a number of things that remind me of the US in the 1950’s. Traveling through the small towns and rural areas is a distinctively different experience than traveling in the larger cities. The larger cities have motorways which are similar to our limited access highways with high speed exits and entries onto the highway much like ours. There are even some access ramps in Auckland which h

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Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier is the name of a town and the name of the glacier itself that lies just a few kilometers from the town. We stayed at the TOP 10 Holiday Park in Franz Josef Glacier, the town. It was a pleasant enough park, clean facilities. When we got ready to go in the morning, the campervan would not start. The battery had been drawn down by the headlights so we had to call for a jump. We called the 800 number the rental company had given us. After some discussion it was determined t

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Westport and the Seal Colony

It is now Tuesday, February 12 in this series that started on January 29 with our departure from the US. The actual date of this posting is later because it has taken me quite a bit of time to catch up with recording and posting these entries. The first few days kept my mind fully occupied with all the new things to absorb about this vacation. Then there were the internet challenges. We subscribed to an internet server that is common throughout New Zealand at the TOP 10 parks where we stay m

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Into the Mountains to the Tasman Sea

February 11 we left Blenheim on Highway 6 which runs up the Wairau River valley. This river drains the eastern side of the mountains. Its valley is wide and straight, formed by ancient glaciers and now filled with the silt and sand of those glaciers. As we drove up the valley the vineyards gave way to sheep and cattle grazing land. We stopped at Nelson Lakes National Park to hike for a while. After the Visitors Center and gift shop, we went on to hike a trail partway around one of the lakes

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Well We Missed Wellington

On Saturday, February 8 we woke to rain and heavy low clouds. Our plans had been to drive from Rotorua to the National Park and do some hiking and sightseeing around the mountain territory in the center of the North Island. Since the scenery would be hidden and hiking in a constant rain would not be our idea of fun, we decided to turn the day into a travel day. We needed to be in Wellington on Sunday night so we could get on the Interislander Ferry to the South Island at 9:00 a.m. on Monday

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