Restoring the Soul

September 8th, 2020|Tags: , , , , |

When you lose your home, it’s incredibly traumatic.” These are the words of Evan Smith, Christchurch resident and spokesperson for the Avon-Ōtākaro Network (AvON), who along with over 5000 other homeowners was forced to abandon his home in the residential ‘red zone’ following the 2010/11 earthquakes. This 11km stretch of vacant land ribbons its way [...]

  • Stafford Literary Institute stands watch over the Stafford Loop Road, now in its 150th year

From Junction to Jackson

September 8th, 2020|Tags: , , , , |

Kumara Junction, 25 kilometres south of Greymouth, marks the beginning of the Glacier Highway. We swing west but don’t get far before we pull into Needful Things, a quirky treasure trove of retro, its entrance marked by a blue Morris Minor. Inside, the store is brimming a cornucopia of antiques, books, clothing and curios. With [...]

  • Back and front — VW Beetles in a row

Kombis, Pies and More

September 8th, 2020|Tags: , , , |

Joc O’Donnell loves Volkswagens. And in particular she loves that icon of the Flower Power–hippy era, the Volkswagen Kombi, or Microbus if you are American. Joc (pronounced Joss as it is short for Jocelyn) and her husband Scott O’Donnell preside over the enormous, Invercargill-based conglomerate HWR, which has interests in the transport, petroleum, concrete, contracting, [...]

  • A peaceful morning at Halfmoon Bay, Stewart Island. Photo: Stewart Island Tourism

Land of Glowing Skies

July 5th, 2020|Tags: , , , |

Crossing Foveaux Strait for the first time can be intimidating. The stretch of water between Bluff (at the bottom of the South Island) and Stewart Island/Rakiura has a reputation of providing one of the wildest ferry rides in New Zealand. As the ocean depth is shallow – only 30-metres – it chops up quickly with [...]

  • The view of Queenstown, from the top of The Remarkables

Ticket to Ride

July 5th, 2020|Tags: , , , , |

I peer out the plane’s oval window, across snow-covered mountains to the shimmering Tasman Sea in the west and down into remote valleys looking for good lines to ski. We fly over Lake Wakatipu and circle around the craggy cliffs of The Remarkables – far below houses line the lake shore. As we lose altitude [...]

  • Either walk or take the Skyline Gondola for a spectacular view of Queenstown

Queenstown, A Winter Playground

July 5th, 2020|Tags: , , , |

The brown Otago landscape is a welcome sight after the drenched green fields of Taranaki. The deep blue water of Lake Wakatipu is surrounded by mountains sweeping skyward, their rugged peaks draped with snow. The mountain air is brisk – my senses seem to sharpen with its chill. Downtown-Queenstown visitors are busy with their cameras [...]

  • The former Mananui sawmill is full of rusty relics

West Coast Wilderness Trail – Fossicking in the Wilderness

March 7th, 2020|Tags: , , , , , , |

I became officially designated a fool in a town called Ross. You see a few days earlier I had travelled up the coast with a riding mate on our way to the official opening of the Paparoa Track. Given the long journey from the Deep South, we decided to break up the road trip and [...]

  • Tony shapes the wood with traditional tools, passed down to him by his mentor (Photo: Lana Taylor)

The Trug Maker Takaka – Carrying on a Tradition

March 7th, 2020|Tags: , , , |

Trug maker Tony Hitchcock is a survivor of a critically endangered species. According to the Heritage Crafts Association (of which The Prince of Wales is president), the Golden Bay artisan woodworker practises an ancient craft in danger of dying out in England, its country of origin. Trugs are traditional shallow baskets made from shaped slats [...]

  • Heading off into the wilderness, leaving civilisation behind

Cycle + walk trails – St James Cycle Trail

March 7th, 2020|Tags: , , , , |

I had been looking forward to this trip for some time – a true ‘out of the way’ ride with stunning backcountry scenery – although I admit I had some apprehension. While the trail is near to Hanmer Springs, I would be cycling alone at altitude, away from roads, with no mobile coverage, rivers to [...]

  • The dining carriage has seating for those that want to sit there

Coastal Pacific – RV, Rail and Runways

March 7th, 2020|Tags: , , , , , , |

When we organised our recent trip to Christchurch, our plan was to drive to Wellington via Napier and Martinborough, ferry to Picton, then drive to Blackball, visit Greymouth, and then head to Christchurch via Arthur’s Pass to deliver the Dethleffs Distinction Trend motorhome to UCC. For the return journey we had the option of either [...]

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