A Travellerspoint blog

NZ dolphin day

7 December

overcast 19 °C

Or not.... Some Hector dolphins (smallest in the world) came to see us, but none stayed to interact. I had more near me than anyone else in our group of 11, but so fleetingly there aren't any photos. Disappointing, but obviously no guarantees with wild creatures. We were given a 25% refund, but obviously we'd rather have seen more dolphins. The boat's skipper said the early morning 'swims' are more successful at the moment - I think the afternoon ones run on optimism. Kaikoura, the primary victim of the most recent earthquake, is the renowned dolphin-swim area, but remains out of bounds, although there is relief that the Dolphins have remained in the area.

Acoroa is a unique town in NZ - French influence dating back to their purchase of the land and establishment of the township, but by the time they returned to colonise the area, the Maori had signed the treaty with the English. It's arguably somewhat contrived now for tourism purposes, but many businesses and roads bear French signs - the first thing I registered was the 'Gendarmerie'. The harbour and town is clearly within an extinct volcano and a long and winding scenic route with fantastic views has been built around the remaining rim. Tourism is everything here, including cruise-ships calling in on 77 days in the year - I can't see how it would survive otherwise.

So not one of my hectic days - a 120km drive, mainly in rain, from Christchurch; quite a lot of walking; a fight into a 5mm thick wetsuit, as sea is only 12°; quite a lot of treading water; not quite the thrilling experience for which we'd all hoped. Campsite just above the town, so more lovely views. Tomorrow back to Christchurch to pick up Tom for the last few motorhome-days - visiting Mt Cook (NZ's highest mountain), Lake Tekapo, Milford Sound, ending up in Queenstown to return the vehicle and do our skydive, before flying back to Auckland and a last couple of days visiting Waiheke Island and its wineries. Suddenly my adventure is nearly over...

Quick apology? justification? for yesterday's protracted entry... Blame it on the bottle of wine I shared with Tom and the fact I hadn't written up my journal, hence so much detail...!

Another side-note - Tom has an excellent camera and is developing his skills producing terrific compilations of videos and stills as lovely memories of specific times - the first one I saw was his Peru trip and I didn't initially realise he'd created it himself. He and Jess really impress me with their confidence working together with the camera and GoPro and the results are fantastic. I have his camera with me to try to contribute to what he can put together for me, but I'm a long way off their level... Anyway, I look forward to seeing what he produces for me as a memory of my most enjoyable Kiwi Adventure.

Posted by SueJWardell 01:22 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

South Island - West coast

3 - 6 November

First, two corrections:
1) Maori population of NZ - I misheard as 40%, but it's actually 14% - quite a difference, sorry. Of that percentage, almost 90% live on North Island - just yesterday, an Australian touring only South Island expressed to me her disappointment not to have seen any Maori, easily explained by those stats. The most recent census showed that Asians are poised to replace Maori as the second largest ethnic group within the next decade. 2) My Kiwi accent advice has taken a bit of a hit - we heard a radio-advert asking if "you need a new beard for Christmas", which seemed fair enough, until the narrative made clear it was about beds, thus a bee-ed... I've been told it's simply a regional accent, but have also enjoyed "beast" rather than "bist" for best 😊

Saturday 3rd - continued with my long drive southwest on virtually traffic-free roads, initially through luscious but hillier farms and wineries, followed by much swooping and swirling through densely-forested hills along the edge of the Kahurangi National Park. Time was pressing on as I navigated the dramatic Buller Gorge road through to Westport, with my fuel-gauge well below the recommended quarter level, but no open filling-station seen throughout the entire route. Hooray, edge of town ad for 24hr BP...except today it had closed at 7pm, now 8pm...Relieved to find another garage just before it closed, diesel a third dearer than I'd become accustomed to paying on North Island!! Relieved to have a full tank anyway, as already knew no further fuel for 100km, but pressing south along the coast with the ever-lengthening daylight. Then good old satnav announced road south "Unsafe. Avoid" - but there is no alternative route...Saw a freephone number for NZ Road Info - called expecting recorded message, only to speak to very helpful man, I think in Auckland, but able to tell me a landslide and roadworks meant it was now passable - what a great service.

Quite a distance before the road hit the coast, but when it did, it was a good craggy coastline, lots of small bays and beaches and ever-increasing erosion. Reached target of Punakaiki Beach Campsite at 9pm, still just light, reception still manned. Receptionist interested to see inside motorhome - or did she simply not believe there was only me in it, as charge is per person?! Suddenly a thump and considerable rocking of the vehicle - someone had reversed into the side and then sped away. Luckily the damage is only scuffing and I have full insurance, but quite a shock at the time.

Sunday 4th - early start to see the Truman Track and the Pancake Rocks - both striking examples of coastal erosion, and the latter still a bit of a puzzle for geologists. If only I'd managed to work out why my photos won't upload, I could show you - sorry! Briefly had my first Chinese encounter of the day - family very interested in motorhome and gave them a 'guided tour' - mother mainly traumatised l'm driving it myself and solo. On southwards through Greymouth = non-descript, then into Hokitika, location for 2013 Man Booker prize-winning novel, 'The Luminaries' by Eleanor Catton, which I now have to read, simply because I love this small town! It was built on NZ's gold-rush in the 19th century and still has many gold shops, but also a fantastic beach strewn with driftwood from the Tasman Sea, including huge tree-trunks and stumps. There is an annual festival to create artworks from the driftwood, which are then left until the sea reclaims them. Great waves and riptides on a very long beach of very dark brown and glittery sand. Yes, photo required again...

On south to Glacier Country, arriving at Franz Josef at 5pm. Advice is to take the glacier-access walks either early or late in the day, as there is always cloud in the middle, so I was in perfect time for a late-afternoon one-and-a-half-hour stroll (4miles?), as the cloud dispersed to order. It is a rough path, but like all paths in NZ, well-marked and it was still very busy. Various photo-opportunities along the way, so camera in and out of pocket, where my glasses were, as I'm no longer finding them ideal to wear all the time. End of path - signs to read, need glasses...where are they....? Searched all three pockets several times, as one does, because obviously a missing object will eventually magically show up if we look in the same place enough times...Careful return walk, scanning ground all the time, hoping someone may have seen them and placed them somewhere obvious; also still continuing pocket-search...! Half-way back and by some waterfalls, where I had definitely taken a photograph, start scanning larger area. Second Chinese encounter: "Are you looking for glasses? We just put some on a trail-post" - daughter dashed off to retrieve them and yes, they were mine!! A little worse for wear, but still wearable. What was the chance of that??? I was so relieved and couldn't help but make the Chinese connection - the only day I have spoken to any - paying it forwards indeed 😊 Anyway, the glacier is quite dramatic, but perhaps a bit of an anti-climax for Europeans who have visited the Alps. Still a lovely evening, so I drove the next 25km to the Fox Glacier Township - a much smaller settlement, described as more like a small Alpine resort, with which I concur. Just a few hotels, cafes and bars and a nice little campsite in the evening sun, ready for an early start.

Monday 5th - 0900 and on the path to the Fox Glacier, much less visited, but actually a more dramatic setting with a more interesting but shorter access-walk. The higher-level blue ice is visible from a distance, but at the end of the path the only the lower area is visible and is much grubbier with accumulated rubble etc, so quite disappointing for some. On my return walk, a Japanese family, including a quite elderly lady, asked me how far it was to the glacier, because they just wanted to touch the snow, and simply could not believe that would not be possible - it is the reason they visit... Next stop Lake Matheson - famous mirror-lake, although generally only early or late in the day, so I didn't really stand a chance. Oh well, I had a great brunch at the award-winning cafe and enjoyed the approx four mile walk through the rainforest around the lake.

Back on the road and necessary to return the same way - again no alternate route exists. Couple of hours back to Hokitika and a stunning afternoon. Explored a local lake with Freedom campsite, but having been warned the weather was due to break overnight, didn't settle. Fish and chips is popular in NZ and I'd noticed the local shop always seemed to have a queue, so gave it a try. Most fish served are found only in NZ, so I took my Rig and Elephantfish to the beach - both very enjoyable white fish, no other illuminating observations! Enjoyed the sun, sea and sand, but forced myself back in to the driving seat, as the next phase was to cross the mountains and I didn't want it to be in poor conditions in the morning.

Good road east towards Arthur's Pass, mainly without much interest until Otira Gorge, the hardest part of the pass to create between the mountains, requiring an avalanche-shelter over the road at one point, followed by a sweeping viaduct. Both features have viewpoints above, both of which I utilised and in both of which I was delighted to meet up with several Kea - large, green mountain-parrots, unique to NZ South Island. Signs warn they are fearless and inquisitive and not to leave car-doors open, as they will hop inside! They seem to jump on all vehicles - and apparently sometimes tear rubber from windscreens - I found them most entertaining, more so as I had not expected to see anything like that.

On into the mountains, but I found the road quite disappointing, as it is so good and surprisingly fast overall! Having driven many twisting, challenging hillsides during this holiday, this was notably the first road above the tree line, but the scenery was reminiscent of various areas in northern England/Scotland/Wales. It's also a very long way with very few facilities and I knew I would be Freedom camping. Not keen on first option by the railway in the uninteresting tiny village of Arthur's Pass, not that I can imagine there would have been any trains at that time. Next option Klondyke Corner - a large area where everyone else seemed to be camping in cars and treated me with some 'suspicion', so onwards again. Next site was definitely Lake District-y - pleasant lakeside site with lots of other motorhomes, so settled for night and a definite change in the weather - windy and much cooler.

Tuesday 6th - early start again, still sort of disappointed with the remarkably good mountain road, but enjoyed the scenery without finding it spectacular. Suddenly out of mountains. Another good breakfast-stop - The Yello Shack cafe in Springfield. Cafe-food would be my downfall if I lived in NZ - most places bake their own savoury pies and pastries of all types, massively better than the most widely available commercial pasties etc in UK. On to Christchurch to find a campsite and wait for Tom, who is working in the city this week. Opportunity to shower and do my laundry. Afternoon wandering round the city with Tom looking at the progress with the recovery from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Extraordinary to see the mix of brand new buildings, cleared areas in temporary use as car parks, construction, fenced-off closed buildings, collapsing walls, the remains of the collapsing cathedral - which some still hope to somehow save, the transitional Cardboard Cathedral built on a base of shipping-containers, the pop-up shopping-mall created from shipping-containers, the containers holding up collapsing buildings for the time-being. Works of art, formal and informal, proliferate to lift the city; a particularly touching memorial of 185 white chairs is to represent those who died, including a baby's car-seat and a high-chair for the two youngest victims.

We enjoyed a meal in C1 Espresso, resurrected from the rubble and reopened in a grand former post office - 3 'sliders' = mini-burgers are served in a metal tube fired from the kitchen through a system of tubes across the ceiling and down the walls to deliver your order to your table. Back to the motorhome for wine and chat, before Tom returned to his motel to leave me to catch up with this blog. Tomorrow I'm booked to swim with dolphins at Akoroa (to the east of Christchurch) - I hope they turn up.

Posted by SueJWardell 01:32 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

New Zealand - first days on South Island

1-3 December

Saturday 3 December 2016 - Writing the day and date is for primarily for my sake, as I generally haven't a clue otherwise - I love holiday-mode for that, including the oddity of the start of summer being 1st December. Beautiful blue sky and warm sunshine as I write, seated at the table in the motorhome, Tom driving, Jess in the passenger-seat. We've just spent the night in Golden Bay on the eastern side of the northern tip of South Island, having driven around the periphery of Abel Tasman, NZ's smallest National Park, a "trampers" and kayakers haven, which can be walked or paddled in 3/5 days, but no roads at all. The route in and out is via a "stomach-churning meander over Takaka Hill", 10km of hairpin-bends either side and some superb views.

No internet-access right now, but I think I last wrote the night before the ferry. So, early start for all over-nighters on the motel 'powered' carpark. Heavy traffic already, but we were at the port for 0730 and over an hour wait to board (it felt as though a cross-channel port would be a shock to their systems). Tom was disappointed for me to make the crossing in dull, low-cloud conditions, but the view was quite atmospheric. A slow departure through Wellington harbour and along the coast - and a full-breakfast - then an hour or so across Cook Strait to the Marlborough Sounds and another hour through to the small town of Picton near the head of "the majestic Queen Charlotte Sound". Although we'd now arrived on South Island, we were actually no further south, the weather was better and the scenery still wineries and farms but hillier. I did feel as though in a different country, perhaps simply because of many crossings of the English Channel.

A straightforward 2-hour-drive through to Nelson to meet Jess at the quite small but busy airport, before heading into the town for Tom to make some business-calls and for me and Jess to have a look around. Great town - everything you're likely to want, attractive including a striking art-deco cathedral, right on the coast with lovely beaches. Yes it adds another flight to every long-distance journey, but there's a good schedule. Tom was already a fan and has now convinced Jess of a possible place to live away from Auckland. On to Motueka overnight, the next town Tom had to visit the following day with a substantial prize - a free holiday - to award to a busy travel-agent.

Friday 2 December - Work and motorhome tasks completed, we headed for the first and best-known access to Abel Tasman Park, at Kaiteriteri, a busy small resort with a lovely beach and the first stop for the sea-shuttle/water-taxi, which calls at all the main beaches around the park's coast. It must be packed during the main season of Boxing Day through to end-January. But it wasn't what we came here for, other than to view it, so back on the road for outward leg of the drive we made this morning, but continuing to the carpark at the very end of the road, near Wainui Bay. A woodland-walk for about a mile delivered us to stunning, large beach with the tide out. The amount and variety of driftwood was extraordinary, particularly in the absence of any other flotsam and jetsam. This region is home to blue penguins, not that we expected to see any - wrong time of day, as they come ashore at dusk, and not quite the right place - but we were sad yet curious to discover an undamaged, washed-up, seemingly recently dead one. Unquestionably light sky-blue and about 30cms long, Jess named him Darwin. I hope to see some waddling on a beach later in my travels, perhaps on the east coast. We were then excited to find millions?billions?trillions? of tiny - a few mm - mussels covering many rocks around the beach, often interspersed with oysters, occasionally with mussels of the size we are more used to seeing, and even more occasionally empty shells of approx 5+". Cue a Google session on our return. We scrambled over rocks in the hope of progressing across several smaller beaches to an ultimate specific point (Taupo), but the tide was beating us and we retreated to study the mussels and rocks some more before reluctantly leaving a truly special beach, which we had had entirely to ourselves.

There is a very large, free campsite at Totaranui on the opposite side of the headland from where we were, which was really tempting to seek out, but signposted only for tents, 12km down a dirt road marked unsuitable for caravans, and it was already mid-evening, common-sense prevailed and we headed back to civilisation, arriving in Pohara Beach just as the rain started and low cloud blanketed the world, so it was probably a good decision! Mussel-study commenced, the main lesson being about size, minimum to maximum of which we had seen on 'our' beach - farmed mussels usually harvested at 4-5cm, although in NZ I've seen the popular green-lipped variety routinely served at more like 7-8cm and delicious with it. A pleasant, cosy evening with one of those great what-have-we-got-in-the-fridge/cupboard-to-throw-together meals.

Checked out Marahau = third 'gateway' to Abel Tasman this morning. Also Split Apple Rock, a huge granite Boulder in the sea (just off another lovely beach), which looks like...a split apple obviously! The Tasman Sea is beautiful turquoise and light blue in different areas. Now we're working our way back to Nelson airport for Jess to fly back to Auckland and Tom to Christchurch, both for work, but I'll pick up Tom again on Thursday for our last few days on South Island.

Tom has driven today, as I have a long way to go this afternoon, working across to west coast and then heading south towards the glaciers. Now feeling very aware I'm past the halfway mark of my NZ extravaganza - days rushing by.

Posted by SueJWardell 02:08 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

New Zealand - last days on North Island (for now)

29/30 November 2016

Another blue-sky morning in Napier - Tom departed early for work, lots of calls to make on way to Wellington. I took a more scenic route south, through wineries and farmland - clues to the better climate in the available crops: avocados (or avos, as generally called here), nectarines, oranges, lemons, kiwi fruits (of course!). Weather started closing in - here we go again... Temperature plummeted, very wet, but suddenly the wind was the problem - so strong I was struggling to hold the motorhome on the highway. First the concern was being blown into the barriers, but then it became being blown over. Speed down to 50 kmph (approx 30mph) on main highway. Rang rental company helpline for advice, also in case handover should have included rules such as "Don't drive in high winds". Useless input = drop your speed to 80 (from 90)!!! Also said they'd never had one blown over, my call whether to continue or not. Now roadsigns warning of strong winds on mountain-pass, but trucks still going, so I followed their lead. It could have been a lovely drive, and was still quite spectacular, but I was quite busy gripping the steering-wheel to avoid being blown into the side of the gorge while negotiating the hairpin-bends at 25kmph. The good news - I wasn't driving the company's first vehicle to be blown over, although that was almost a surprise... It was some of the toughest driving I've ever experienced, and that's saying something. Happily the weather was clearer in Wellington.

Arrived at distinctly mediocre campsite approx 20km outside the city - but biggest and most splendid reception I've ever seen, and the bathrooms/showers are the best ever. I've also been interested to see all sites provide a fully-equipped kitchen for campers, usually along with a dining area and lounge, as well as a laundry, including iron etc - much more than I've seen in any other country.

Tom was happy to go into the city for the evening, so I had my first look at "the-disaster-waiting-to-happen". "Windy Welly" = officially the world's windiest city - is undoubtedly an attractive city, "nestled between a dazzling harbour and a striking amphitheatre of pretty tree-lined hills", the capital and second most populous urban area of NZ is ranked 12th most livable city in the world and "the coolest little capital in the world" - and built on a major, active fault line... The latest big earthquake (Kaikoura) has left many buildings damaged, many more closed off still awaiting inspection, several to be demolished - and a lot of people much more nervous than previously. The city looks small viewed across the bay on approach, but feels much like any other when amongst the buildings, although there is an interesting mix of old and new, and I love the prevalence of public works of art. Bitterly cold, strong wind forced us indoors in to the Belgian Bar for a delicious meal, before returning to camp.

This morning, after Tom left for work at 0730(!), I relocated us to a site as close to the harbour as possible for our early ferry to South Island tomorrow - actually it's a motel carpark with electric hook-ups, but it serves a purpose. Another wet morning with very low cloud, I donned my most touristy outfit = walking trousers and shoes, an anorak (of sorts) and backpack and caught the bus into the city. Cable-car up the hill to the Botanic Gardens, hoping for great views over the city on the walk back down - didn't happen, but I enjoyed the walk anyway. People jogging all over the place in their lunch-breaks, pleasant wander along the waterfront, takeaway lunch from busiest and most-generous-portioned healthy-food salad/sandwich shop = Kapai. Met Tom later to visit the renowned Te Papa museum and its absolutely stunning Gallipoli exhibition with the most amazing 'sculptures'? 4x life-size models of soldiers, perfect in every detail - incredibly moving. Excellent dinner at Crabshack on the waterfront - so busy. Then mild trauma of Tom's phone completely flat battery, so no way of summoning Uber for taxi for RTB... But we found the bus stop and made our way in the old-fashioned manner safely back to our 'carpark'.

Tomorrow South Island and Tom keeps telling me I ain't seen nothing yet re scenery. I'm looking forward to it, not that North Island has disappointed.

Quick tutorial on working on your basic Kiwi accent - substitute all 'e' sounds, usually for 'i': eg jit-lag (= jet-lag), fince (= fence); igg (= egg); or 'ee': eg reegister (= register), veege (= veg), first learned when I thought I heard a man order a chicken and peach pizza... Tom pointed out it was chicken and vege - actually more logical from the spelling of vegetable than veg... All good fun - and good night x

Posted by SueJWardell 02:05 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

27/28 November 2016

sunny 26 °C

The good news - the peacocks did let me sleep; the first bad news - electric sockets not working, so unable to charge camera battery, or use non-essentials such as the toaster/kettle. That's okay - I have gas options, except that I hadn't turned on the gas supply = important detail, because I had to have on me the key-bunch for opening external lockers. Thought also good time to wander to the main building to pay for my late arrival. Exit motorhome to be met by a dozen hens and two peacocks converging on me, so closed the door just in case any chose to hop into the vehicle (might seem unlikely, but having once had neighbour's hens in our house, I'm slightly sensitive...!). More hens, chicks, ducks and the now-unpenned alpacas to accompany me, and then a young sheep running around inside the cafe, including the kitchen, being filmed by helplessly-giggling young Japanese visitors. Back through the chaos to the motorhome to find the second bad news...the door had locked when I shut it... No phone on me to contact rental-company and only the man in charge(?!) to ask for help. His inability in that regard was immediately evident, as he brandished a huge screwdriver and looked around for somewhere to force open! As my initial panic subsided, I remembered I had the locker-keys, one of which is for the relatively small door to the under-bed storage locker. Yes, I managed to crawl in and through the bed-supports, while pushing the base and mattress upwards. Hooray, back inside. Telephoned helpline to ask advice re sockets and mentioned the problem with the door self-locking. Cue one highly amused customer-service rep, who said he'd never heard of such an entrance to the vehicle, but would bear it in mind for any future problems! Also reassured me that they have agents in every town, so help would not have been far away, as I was very near Taupo. Then I was slightly embarrassed to realise the mains power-supply was the problem, sockets. Tom phoned as I was leaving, also highly amused and somewhat surprised at my "bogan" experience - I called it "Hicksville", an American term, and T said Kiwis use the Australian bogan - today's new word 😊

The biggest laugh came less than a mile along the highway, as I passed the large, modern campsite I realised Tom had expected me to find and use!

Just a few miles to Huka Falls, where NZ's longest river, the Waikato, is slammed into a narrow chasm and churned into a stunning icy-light-blue tumbling mass through the chasm to a 10m drop into a surging pool - no, Zack, absolutely no craft are able to navigate it safely, including enthusiastic kayakers! The water-flow would fill 5 Olympic-size (50m) swimming pools every minute.

A drizzly morning was becoming wetter and low cloud closed in completely as I reached the shore of Lake Taupo, NZ's largest lake and a major holiday-destination. All I could see was water resembling a choppy sea and it was evident the weather was not going to improve, so time to head east to meet up with Tom. Serious tip now: always ensure at least quarter of a tank of fuel, as there's every chance of long distances between towns and absolutely no services - lesson also learned in Scotland and NW Lake District! Yes, I did fill up before hitting the highway and 140km of nothing.

Wipers on maximum, crosswinds gusting and a dead-straight fairly featureless road. Having gambled putting on shorts in the morning, I watched the external temperature drop to 10° as the conditions continued to worsen. Then I hit the long mountainous stretch, twisting and turning through many valleys as the sky cleared. By the time I entered the Hawke's Bay wine area and started the long descent towards Napier, the temperature was 20° and climbing! Called Tom at the edge of the town and we arranged a seafront rendezvous to the south - he has a hire-car, having flown in from Auckland - which worked perfectly. He had already scouted a Freedom Campsite - permitted no-cost camping in self-contained units - right by the beach near Hastings, having dismissed the only nearby RV park he'd found, so we duly claimed a sheltered spot - sunny and 26° but windy - before returning to explore Napier. The first town I've seen to really make an impact - really attractive with its art-deco theme, even down to the relatively meagre Christmas-decorations in place, presumably of their time. Definitely worth visiting. Supermarket time, and Tom also realised he'd forgotten his travel-iron, so a cheap one + board purchased - he would normally be staying motels and needs smart shirt and trousers for work everyday. Minor glitch - freedom camping doesn't provide power... Luckily he had something neat enough in his bag to get away with today, and I am about to find us a powered site for tonight. Quite amusing to wave him off to work at 0830 from a motorhome by the beach!

Afternoon plan is to visit a winery or two, before heading south in convoy to Wellington tomorrow, Tom making visits along the way. Yes, his boss knows how he is working this week! It should actually save the company money on hotel-bills, even with him paying for sites and dinner - a win-win for all 😊

It still seems novel to have gone north for the sub-tropical climate, cooling off as I head south. Apparently Wellington, at the bottom of North Island, is very windy, so it can be 10° warmer at the northern end of South Island, but that doesn't last. In fact, Queenstown, where we finish up to hand in the motorhome on 11 December, currently has several inches of unseasonable snow...!! No, I didn't bring clothes for that - hopefully normal conditions will have been restored by the time we get there - today is officially the first day of summer... I recall learning long ago that NZ was like Britain, but nothing here other than sheep, so I didn't expect the generally much better climate, particularly in the north, but clearly just as unpredictable - with, of course, the extra dimension of the widespread ongoing earthquakes, towards which we are heading...

Random mention of news here: I'm enjoying listening to the radio, as most stations seem generally middle-of-the-road, one playing only hits from the 50s, 60s and 70s. News feels very local as I travel, particularly as there is a relatively small population. Only limited international headlines crop up, such as Jensen Button retiring from Formula 1 and Wayne Rooney breaking goal-scoring records... Biggest news story of all, mentioned on every radio-station many times every day since I've been in the road, is that a record 100,000+ tickets sold in less than an hour for three concerts by Adele in March. First date sold out within 15mins, so a second added with same result, so a third added and now a fourth is under consideration. Many competitions to win tickets are running and Air New Zealand have already announced extra flights purely for the concerts. Tom says hardly any big names come to NZ, as it is labour-and-cost-prohibitive logistically, so the norm is for Kiwis to fly to Australia to attend gigs, hence this really is a massive story - as I can tell every day!

Now time to hunt down a campsite where we can charge batteries and iron shirts.

Posted by SueJWardell 13:21 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

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