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New Zealand Lakeside

My first experience of flying business class did not disappoint. I was fed and watered every air mile of the way and being able to stretch out and sleep was worth every penny I made Simon spend on my ticket!! We are now just over a week into our 'grand adventure'. It has been absolutely fantastic to date. A few minor hiccups along the way but great nonetheless.

We had originally booked a 3 berth motor home, something like a long wheel base transit with bathroom etc, but when we went to pick it up we were upgraded to a large 4 berth house on wheels! It was brand new, only 94 kms on the clock. We have had a couple of issues with it so far, smoke detector battery playing up so the Kiwi answer is, take the whole thing out!

There were some issues with the battery

Then the cooker wouldn't work properly, 15 mins to do 1 side of toast when you have a hungry husband to feed is no joke. We took it to a garage in Rotorua and had to have a new gas bottle and regulator. Then we noticed this strange smell and also that the battery seemed to be charging constantly. The long and the short of that is that it was a faulty battery, which on inspection was leaking bubbling battery acid from both terminals, was red hot to the touch and all buckled. I am no expert but even I knew that was not right especially when we saw steam/smoke coming from it!

Another phone call and a trip to a very nice Kiwi gentleman in Gisborne (where Capt Cook first landed and the first city of the sun) who was shocked by the state of the battery telling us that, in his opinion, we were damn lucky the bloody thing hadn't blown up! Nice. A new battery was fitted and we were back on the road.

Now we were to share our space with some ducks

We found a rather nice little Dept of Conservation site at Tutira, right by the lake. We had a family of ducks (mum and 8 children), some black swans and sheep for company along with a very nice elderly NZ couple called Dave and Mary. We had a cuppa with them and they told us that they had sold the family home and now spend all their time travelling round NZ in their camper van, going home occasionally to check the mail and make sure their family is ok.

Thistles can be a problem here

We were woken up the next morning, by a low flying helicopter who was spraying herbicide on the hills behind us (we had been walking on them the day before) to kill the thistles. There is a big problem here with over grazing in the past which is causing massive soil erosion on the hills. The government are trying to kill off some of the invasive vegetation so they can plant fast growing poplar which, once the land has been stabilised, will be inter-planted with native oaks and other slow growing trees.

We spent one night in a place called Herbertville which really is the back end of nowhere. We were the only people on the site so it was very quiet. The weather was wild to say the least. Today it quietened down before we left so we had a long walk along a deserted beach and found a colony of fur seals at the end of it. There were lots of females, the odd male and I think the odd pup but I am no fur seal expert. It was a lovely reward for a long walk.

There are more sheep here than humans

We are now in Wellington after a long drive. It is true, there are 10 sheep for very human here and I think we have seen most of them. The scenery is stunning; in places it looks a bit like Scotland but with better weather and a lot less people. The people are super friendly, we keep getting invited into people's homes for tea and a chat. Two days sightseeing in Wellington and early hours Friday we will be boarding the ferry for the South Island. More adventures.............

We are having a wonderful time and, surprisingly, have not fallen out yet....

Part 2 can be found here.

By Lynda Davey

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