Sunday, 28 March 2010

A few untold stories - part 1

A lot has happened during the last 2 months and I'll try to fill you all in with some short summaries.
The first one: Moving house on 13th February 2010
It was a good day, not to hot, not to cold and dry, excellent moving conditions. George could borrow a van from work and Cathy was driving her horse float. We managed to fill them with our stuff quite efficiently and were able to move almost everything in one go. Thanks to the help of our friends Cathy, David and Sjon and Tim (a work colleague from George). Sonja (George's mum) was in charge of the catering. Everything went well and without stress or hassle which is great.

Monday, 8 February 2010

1 day to go...

Letterbox - Curtains - Stickers on toilet (grey water system) required by council... as if we were planning on drinking from our toilets  :)

Monday, 1 February 2010

Building progress - part 13 - last bits and pieces

About one week to go - the painters are back to do some touch ups. The carpet is in and that makes a huge difference, it suddenly feels as if the house is ready for us. The curtains are due on Wednesday. Two mirrors and the splashback are still missing but everything else is installed, connected and working. I could have sworn that we've chosen a rounded towel rail, we'll see, maybe the square one grows on us. They also installed a light in the bathroom above the mirror, it's a nice light and we like it but I am certain that we didn't choose it. I won't mention it to the project manager though as I think it can stay :)
Have a look at our house in Google Maps they have recently updated the aerial photos. Very cool!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Short break in the top of the South Island

We took some days off and headed up north for a short break. After a beautiful ride along the East coast we arrived in Picton. The next day we walked the first part (Ship Cove to Endeavour Inlet) of the famous Queen Charlotte Track (15km) in the Marlborough Sounds. Unfortunately is was a cloudy day which meant we didn't had the greatest views but it was still stunning. We saw many different birds including Weka, Robins and Saddlebacks (my book tells me). They are not afraid of humans at all as a Weka picked my finger (probably thought it would be an easy lunch) and a Robin was picking in George's boot trying to chase us out of his territory. After being picked up again by the boat and dropped in Picton we drove further to Nelson.
The next morning we had to get up early as we were supposed to be in Marahau (beginning of Abel Tasman National Park) at 8.15am. There we checked in and received our gear for the next two days:  a double kayak, paddles and life vests. It was still cloudy that morning but it turned into a beautiful day with perfect kayaking conditions. The first day we kayaked with a guide from Marahau along the coast up to Anchorage, about 12km. It was great to be on kayak again. We saw many seals with puppies on the way and occasionally also a blue penguin. We checked in on the Aquapacker (backpacker accommodation on a boat) later that afternoon where we enjoyed a couple of beers and a BBQ with the perfect view. Although the dorm beds are quiet cramped we were able to sleep quiet well, possibly due to being tired after a whole day of paddling and the rocking motion of the boat. After breakfast we were dropped off at the beach, collected our kayak gear and started paddling again. This time without a guide. We made our way further up north were we were picked up by a water taxi at 3pm to get a ride back to Marahau. Another perfect day - paddling and having a break on a random beach while having lunch - awesome! We finished a bit early and decided to head back to Christchurch the same evening. It's a 6 hour drive but as there is virtually no traffic and there was enough daylight to make it back it was an easy drive. This time we took the route via Lewis Pass, very nice scenery.
It was great!!!

Building progress - part 12 - almost there!

Not much longer and we can move in!! Here are some more pictures which speak for themselves...

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Holiday activities

Canterbury Rodeo 2010 in Mandeville
Rodeo is a sport arose out of the working practices of cattle herding in Spain, Mexico and later the United States, Canada, South America and Australia. Today it is a sporting category that consists of several different timed and judge events that involve cattle and horses (even sheep for the kids), designed to test the skill and speed of cowboy and cowgirl athletes who participate.

Weekend at Flea Bay on Banks Peninsula (South East of Akaroa)
After being picked up in Akaroa, we enjoyed a scenic 4WD drive over one of the highest passes on Banks Peninsula with some spectacular and dramatic scenery from crater rim of ancient Akaroa Volcano to volcanic coastal cliffs and Akaroa Lighthouse.
We went kayaking in the afternoon and saw many seals (some of them are enormous in size), birds and a few penguins. For a short time we were accompanied by 4 Hector Dolphins, quite special to see them right next to your kayak.

We stayed the night in a colonial Cottage (no electricity but solar heated water for the showerblock next door and a long drop)

Flea Bay is a small coastal bay nestled between dramatic volcanic headlands and part of Pohatu Marine Reserve. It is home to the largest Little Penguin colony on the mainland. The evening guided tour into the breeding colony to view the White-flippered Penguins was very interesting. Some of those little fellows need a bit of help to survive the first few weeks after hatching. They are hand fed some fish twice a day by the care takers.
The next morning we were dropped off at the top of the hill and than enjoyed a 2h walk down to the bay. That's a beautiful walk trough beech forests and lots of different ferns. Early in the afternoon we were taxied back to Akaroa but before that we had to visit the beach again to collect some shells. The big ones are called Paua. 
Perfect weekend and very good value - recommended!!