Thursday, 21 February 2008

Te Anau

Thursday, 21st February

Sorry if I confused everyone with my hasty blog last night, but the computer was about to crash on me! More time tonight.

We're in Te Anau, the most beautiful lakeside town at the foot of the Alps, and the most modern, glamorous site yet. Tomorrow, early, we set off to do a cruise on Milford Sound, which is I understand quite spectacular. Then we're back to this site to pick up the vans and drive up to Queenstown before nightfall, where we stay for 2 nights. There, we're having a special meal on an old, restored motor vessel on another lake (something like Lake Wakatipu, if I remember correctly), and after that we move north again to see the rest of the south island. It's all mind-blowing, so much to see and places to go. We're getting to know the other people on the holiday, which brings me back to my babble of last night:

We got chatting to one other couple at a barbecue that the people escorting us around put on for us, which was very nice indeed, and it turned out that his name is Leo O'Brian and his grandfather, father and uncles ran the oil works business in Brunswick Road (for those who don't know, that's where I was born and brought up in Altrincham). I thought I recognised his wife's face, and I've obviously seen her around. They now live in Timperley Village. We got chatting about scouting (don't know why) and it turned out he was a scout around the time my brother was and my parents were involved etc. And he is a good friend of Judith and Brian Holly - who are good friends of my sister-in-law Ruth and her husband Alan! Then I asked him what he done all his life - and it turned out he was with Manchester Police for 30 years, did his training at Bruche (where I worked for 4 years) and knows Mark Linnell and Alan Jobson very well. Can you believe it? Such a small world.

We have met all sorts of people who are doing similar holidays. One couple we met this afternoon have been on holiday for 3 months now, starting in Thailand, Singapore, all over Australia - including a month at Melbourne with family over Christmas - and now 6 weeks in New Zealand. Then they go to Hong Kong and home. We're wondering why we waited so long before coming here - we should have done it years ago. Richard should have retired years ago, as well. 

Yesterday, we had a really mad day. We were taken up to a penguin reserve at the end of the Otaga Peninsula to see some really rare penguins that a farmer and family are looking after - that was amazing. Then we were taken to Lanarch Castle, further down the peninsula, to hear the story of the Lanarch family - that would make a great soap opera! And finally we were dropped off at the station in Dunedin to take the Taeira Gorge train. Wow - what a journey. We travelled I don't know how many thousand feet up this gorge on a single track, and it was so hot! The sun was just bouncing off the rocks. When we got to the top, there was really nothing there and we came back again. Apparently, the thing was built because there was a gold rush in the 1880's or something and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Certainly a tourist trap now! You can see that this whole holiday will be quite exhausting - we're certainly packing it in. We'll be glad to get to Brisbane and Jane and family to have a rest.

I'll finish now - there's a bit of a queue behind me to use this computer. Will speak to you all again as soon as!

Love to all

Christine and Richard from the Shaky Isles

1 comment:

milkmenandmorris said...

That's more like it. Sounds great. Have you chance to put pictures up on here?