Sunday, August 14, 2005

Drifters Backpackers....

Our good friends, Pete and Veronica, set up Drifters Backpackers on Gloucester Street, Christchurch, last year. They too are recent arrivals from the UK. They have started a ski/snowboard equipment shop, Snowmania, along with the backpackers (these guys never stop!!).

Drifters is also the venue for lots of "meets" where we get together recent arrivals and old-hands for drinks and nibbles! Well, mainly drinks...... It's a great chance for newbies to meet up and swap info and advice. Many of them we have previously "met" on one of the emigration forums we belong to.

A few pics from last night!!

(From left to right - Richard, Tara, Dan, Richard & Warren (he IS awake apparently!)

Me and Tanya (Richard's (far left in above pic)wife)

More of the mob!

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The Moorfields are Coming...

My brother, Mike and his wife Mia and two girls Ellie and Caitlin are coming out on 5th December for whole MONTH!!

We can't wait... and neither can they it would seem ...

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New Fence, New Lawn

It's not all mountains and sight-seeing. We do have to maintain some sort of "real life" here - and maintaining a house is enough to bring you back down to earth with a bang!

In the next few weeks we are having 40metres of fencing replaced, a massive poplar (30ft) removed and a large portion of the garden turfed. It's nearly Spring here so it's worth getting it done now before everything starts blooming.

Having said that, it's very strange to have daffodils and snowdrops growing alongside each other. And a couple of our fruit trees are blossoming too. They're all a bit confused because of the unseasonably warm weather. Last week I was able to sit in the garden in a t-shirt!! We are, however, expecting a very cold blast from the antartic in the next few days (which, in turn, will give a nice dump of snow in the mountains so Warren and I shall hopefully be taking off for a few days to Queenstown and/or The Remarkables.

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

A Weekend in Hanmer

Last weekend we packed up the car and headed to North Canterbury and the thermal spa resort of Hanmer Springs. It's a lovely 1.5 - 2hr drive from Christchurch.

Hanmer is situated in a high country basin 385m above sea level and is the International gateway to the South Island. You can sit in the thermal pools all day, different temps and water types (i.e. with or without stinky sulphur!), or take advantage of all the spa treatments. We didn't "do" the pools this time round as we forgot our togs (that's Kiwi for swimsuits!). And I didn't fancy "hiring" a swimsuit there (ewww gross!!)

We stayed in a great motel where we had a "townhouse" to ourselves. The bonus was that they allow dogs to stay too! For an extra $10 Summer could come AND stay in the property. The place was called Greenacres Motel Hanmer is one of the few forest areas in New Zealand where the Dept of Conservation (DOC) allow dogs. The Kiwi, Takehe, Weka and Kakapo are some of New Zealands flightless birds which must be protected, hence the heavy restrictions on where dogs can be walked.

Some friends had told us to wrap up warm, so we did. We arrived in Hanmer to find summer temps and people walking around in t-shirts!! We slowly stripped down to thermals and tee's as we walked around the High Street!

The view from the lounge balcony:

The view from the bedroom balcony:

Summer inspects her accommodation!

Hanmer's main street:

The result of a clear night - a frosty morning walk!!

On our way back we took a drive up through Lewis Pass. We stopped at the beginning of the St James Walkway (famous 5-day walk), but no dogs are allowed on the walk so we went for a riverside wander....

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