To the Centre of New Zealand

good news here is that Woollies delivered the goods, i.e. firewood, on Monday
and we were able to have good roaring fires on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Monday and Tuesday we lit the wood burner in the dining room (Monday was extremely
cold – with the stove and electric heaters all going we were still freezing),
and on Wednesday we lit the open fire in the lounge and watched a couple of
videos. Thursdays we’re out doing life drawing (Ian) or folk dancing (Sandie),
and Friday is pub night. The weather got milder during the week, but we still
appreciate being able to have a fire to warm one room at least.


weekend we returned to the South Island, to Nelson where we went in April. We
flew this time, on one of the sweet little two-engined propeller planes that
Air New Zealand use for short flights. It holds 50 people, and has one
stewardess who delivers water and sweets during the 30-minute flight.
Unfortunately our early flight on Saturday got cancelled (an Air NZ habit), but
we found out before leaving home by checking the Internet. We finally left just
before 11.00 and had a bumpy flight through clouds until reaching Nelson, when
the clouds parted and the sun came out. We then had 1½ days of really nice weather,
which made it all worthwhile.


Saturday we explored Nelson and the surrounding hills, walking along the Waitai
River and then up to a hill which claims to be the Centre of New Zealand. A walk
along a ridge path eventually brought us down to the coast with a bit of a scramble,
followed by a stroll back to town while watching the sunset. In the evening we went
to the cinema to see ‘Mamma Mia’, which we thoroughly enjoyed. It showed that Meryl
Streep and the other oldies are really Supertroupers, though Pearce Brosnan met
his Waterloo when it came to singing. We also discovered a nice bar with a good
range of cocktails, which confirmed our impression that Nelson is one of our favourite
Kiwi towns.


On Sunday we drove down
to Nelson Lakes National Park, about 55 miles south of Nelson, and spent most of
the day hiking around Lake Rotoiti. The hills all round were covered in snow, but
the sun shone and we had a really good day. We did a variety of walks, along the
lakeshore and through the wooded hillsides, and ended up driving up a rugged and
exciting road to a viewpoint over the surrounding countryside. We returned to Nelson
and got the little plane home to the ‘big city’, and spent the evening watching
blood, guts and bodice-ripping – i.e. ‘The Tudors’ on TV.

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