Local Heart, Global Soul

June 1, 2010

To Market, To Market, show me your wares… or Not, as the case may be.

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Our time in Hanmer Springs is at a close, we have to say farewell and head back to the  city of Christchurch for our flight tomorrow. The gifts we bought  here for family have been replaced with ones be have received and the suitcases are bulging. The amount of items that we are leaving in storage with my Aunt and Uncle has grown, things like beach towels that we will  need next next time we are here but are not easy to lug back to the Netherlands each time.

We are counting down the days and are still not ready to leave, Hanmer Springs has a hook in our hearts and the line is begging to be reeled in… just not this trip Hanmer, but one day eventually, for sure.

Every Saturday (at least in the Summer months that I know of) there is a small market on the Green in the centre of Hanmer Springs. Stall holders set up with a variety of crafts and services, everything from hand carved wooden bowls to back massage therapy lessons.

I wandered around with my camera in hand and went to pass by some of the  market stalls…  not looking to buy though since I’d been in the centre of town to say our goodbyes to several local people there and Himself was waiting back at the house with the van and the luggage for me to get back to so that we could head out of town.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then a strange thing happened, I raised the camera to get one of these shots and from behind me an angry woman’s voice demands that I not take photographs…  I first assume I may have accidentally gotten a child in a close up and she didn’t want me taking photos of her kids…  which I would respect and delete the photos immediately, but no, it’s a lady from the stall directly behind me, they are selling handmade soaps, and she’s now angrily accosting me, demanding that I leave and to definitely not take photos of her stall… wow.. I’m in a public place and I wasn’t even taking photo’s of her stall!

Such rude  behaviour I have not struck ever in a market or public place in New Zealand, so first I stand there rather stunned, wondering what on earth I might have done to provoke this outburst?

I tell her “Sorry, but I wasn’t taking photos of your stall“,  then walk away quickly because it’s an uncomfortable situation and I’ve been so caught off guard that I’m not quite sure what to do, and because I’m preoccupied with getting back to Himself  who’s waiting for me and  wanting to get away to Christchurch.

On the walk back to the house I reflect on what just happened…  Your guess is as good as mine as the the reason that the  Soap Lady was so agitated about the possibility that I might take a photo of her stall…

So… If you fancy guessing the possible reasons, I’d love to hear your comments.

I’ll get the ball rolling…  my wild guess: Is it that she’s doing a spot of less than official selling  today and doesn’t intend telling Mr New Zealand Inland Revenue Department mayhap ?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 31, 2010

Spying out the Land of Dreams and Reality.

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I have a crazy dream… .. a dream of starting a cafe as a sidekick to a small business in Hanmer Springs.

Himself and I have been looking for a larger plot of land with a view to starting an outdoor enterprise with a cafe attached. Of course it would mean that we would have to sell up everything in The Netherlands in order to cover the investment costs, but it would be possible.

The down-side is that we would loose many opportunities by leaving the Netherlands, not least  the amazing school that our kids go to and the fact that Himself’s work is very specialised and not transferable to New Zealand.

My work is also very specialised and  not easily transferable so if a New Zealand enterprise didn’t work out I would not have a fall back option.

Himself’s Mother is 88 years of age and he would find it very difficult to leave her at this moment in her life, she would find it especially difficult to see him go to live on the other side of the world.

But the biggest difficulty is that Hanmer Springs is too small a town to support a secondary school, so the options are either boarding schools in Christchurch or a long daily bus ride to Culverden.  Neither of these options appeal to us  for our kids.

I wish I were brave enough to throw everything into the wind and start the small business of my dreams, but reality is that I’m the breadwinner in the family and that I have responsibilities that weigh heavily.

The  perks in my job contract that stack up too strongly against the risks of an infant business.  The hard work isn’t a problem, nor is the business plan or type of business, it’s the sacrifices that my family would have to make in order for me to achieve my dream.

Himself would love to live here, make no mistake about that… but he’s more practical  than I am, and whilst he’s keen on the idea, all the pieces of the puzzle would have to fall perfectly into place for him to persuaded and rightly so.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

But in the end it would have to be a perfect location, suitable land size and appropriate price, for us to even remotely consider the sacrifice that the idea would have to be made concerning  our children’s education.

We spy a lot of 50 acres on sale in the Hanmer Basin,  it’s land the size we are interested in, but I’m wracking my brains to envisage the actual location since the listing says it’s only 10 minutes drive from Hanmer Springs.

In the end that turns out to be Real Estate Agent speak  and is more like 15-20 minutes.

We head out into the Hanmer Basin to have a look…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There’s a track up the hill…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And a small grassy knoll around a bend a third of the way up…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Around another few bends further there is another grassy area, it’s pretty big…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And there’s even a tractor hidden in there LOL…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The fact that it has both level ground and a hill is great, there’s already an access track, also good… but in the end it’s just too far out of town for what we want.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Still, it was worth a look and if you don’t look then you’ll never know… but for the moment reality rules and we dream on…

May 30, 2010

Tie your shoe laces tight…

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Hanmer Springs, in the South Island of New Zealand is a small alpine village with thermal hot springs.

There are only about 900 permanent inhabitants but hundreds of tourists visit every day, and in the school holidays or National holidays that number can raise to thousands.

Luckily Hanmer manages to retain most of it’s small village charm, and is a lovely place for walking as there are forests on several sides and walking paths that lead directly in and out of the village.

We have had a constant stream of visitors and have been enjoying walks in the Hanmer region…

Tie your shoe laces tight and come walk with us…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A carpet of flowers…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A flax bush…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Crawford Walkway…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 29, 2010

When Going Boating means bring Stout Shoes and a Shovel…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m still standing at the Waiau Bridge outside Hanmer Springs, New Zealand.

The Bungy jumper didn’t jump but I got some nice shots of the bridge surrounds anyway…

I turn to go and have walked a few steps when a familiar noise halts me in my tracks. a boat, but not just any boat,  …a jet boat.

I was going to tell you all about Bill Hamilton, but when I went to look up some facts, I found that Wiki had written it wonderfully so I’ll quote directly from there (with a little editing for conciseness)

It’s well worth the read because this is an invention that was truly born out of the necessity of trying to get around a high country station and one of the wide shallow rivers that flowed though it.

Sir Charles William Feilden Hamilton (26 July 1899 – 30 March 1978), commonly known as Bill Hamilton, was a New Zealander who developed the modern jetboat, and founder of what is now the world’s leading water jet manufacturing company – CWF Hamilton Ltd.

Hamilton never claimed to have invented the jet boat. He once said “I do not claim to have invented marine jet propulsion. The honour belongs to a gentleman named Archimedes, who lived some years ago”.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

What Hamilton did was refine the design enough to produce the first useful modern jet boat.

Hamilton was born at Ashwick Station near Fairlie in the South Island of New Zealand.

In the 1950s he set out to try to build a boat that could navigate the shallow fast flowing rivers where he lived. The rivers were too shallow for propeller driven boats to navigate as the propeller would hit the river bottom.

He investigated the American Hanley Hydro-Jet, a model which drew in water and fired it out through a steerable nozzle underneath the boat. Even when further adapted it did not work well. An employee suggested to have the nozzle just above the waterline.

When he took one of his early demonstration jet boats to the US, the media scoffed when he said he planned to take it up the Colorado River (U.S.), but in 1960 a Hamilton jet became the first boat to travel up through the Grand Canyon. The critics were silenced further when the boat also went down river through the canyon.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The jetboat was one of three things that transformed the way the New Zealand High Country, the First is of course at the very Top of the List, are the indispensable and highly trained Sheep Dogs, without who’s help, rounding up sheep over the vast distances and rough terrain of High Country Stations simply would not be possible.

The Second is the Jet boat, which enabled farmers to reach pockets of land that had only been accessible by long hard overland hikes or  by vehicles that were regularly cut off by the rivers that navigated though the Stations large tracts of land and swelled quickly in heavy rains.

The Third innovation that transformed the High Country was the helicopter,  Musterers (people who use the dogs to round up sheep) traditionally had had to climb all of the tall peaks, and then, with their sheepdogs, transverse entire ranges, working as a team to drive the sheep down to lower elevations for shearing, lambing or  for feed when the higher altitudes were due to be covered in snow.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

These days the bigger Stations have their own helicopters and the smaller ones will lease one for the duration of the Muster. A Muster done pre-helicopter generally took at least three weeks, now, with the musterers dropped off at the tops of mountain ranges and the helicopter to search out pockets of sheep in gully’s, the muster can be completed in around four days, depending on the size of the Station.

In the “old days” pack-horses would be bought up high into the hills, saddle bags and billy cans laden to the hilt with food, carefully prepared so that it could be easily cooked in one of the bivvy’s (a crude shelter usually of a lean-to variety) and dropped off at a designated spot for “cook” to collect and prepare for the very hungry musterers after a day spent hiking in the tops.

But enough of the Muster, and back to the jet boat….  Not only did the nations High Country farmers appreciate the jet boat, thousands of New Zealanders took to it as well for recreation, especially on the massive braided rivers that are an amazing geographical feature of the South Island.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

If a Kiwi ever offers you the chance to go jet boating up one of these rivers, then seize the opportunity as fast as possible  as it’s an amazing experience that you will remember for the rest of your days. Here’s how it works: First you will need three things.. life jacket, strong shoes and a shovel… You are going boating but you may be spending quite a bit of time walking if you aren’t too lucky.

Two experienced people are essential to the trip, the driver and the navigator…  both know how to deal with the river, but have different jobs to do. This kind of  river is a strange beast,  braided pieces of water that may or may not be interconnected, mostly it can be compared with a Maze. There  will be some dead ends, and the depth of the water will be anything between several feet and three inches deep, alternating regularly throughout the braids.

The braids of water will branch constantly and but since you will be going up river at speed it can be very difficult to know which of the branches will lead to the next patch of deeper water and a bigger braid further ahead and which the boat should take.

The driver sits at the wheel, gaging the depth of the water and adjusting the speed accordingly, the more shallow the water the faster you need to go. The Navigator stands up next to him for a clear view of the river, making split second judgments on which direction to take every time the braid of water splits … and the braids split incessantly.

Knowing the river well can help tremendously but since a heavy rainfall in the upper reaches of the Alps can change the water patterns and water flows in the braids within 12 hours, it’s also an art-form to be able to”read” the river. Sometimes though, there can  be a certain amount of guesswork needed.

This massive fluctuation in water levels can be accommodated easily by a jet boat, the pump is sucking water in though the intake and expelling it though a small outtake, the effect of which is that the boat is propelled forwards, and at a decent speed the boat skims over the top of  the water and can operate in less that three inches of water.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

If you are in a branch of the river where the water is say 30cm deep (1 foot) and you can see another branch ahead that looks about the same depth, it’s entirely possible that the multiple links between the two branches are less than three inches deep, but, sheer speed will glide you over this patch and back into the deeper water ahead.

Herein lies the fun bit…  in the above example the navigator can see the branch he’s in and the one he wants to get to and the thin links of shallow water between them, but Nature is not so ordered or polite,  and in reality there are bends in the river, islands, some with just river rocks and stones and others with low trees and scrubby shrubs. Visibility can be clear ahead, or not.

A good navigator can “read” the river quite a lot, and navigate accordingly but there will be some places where it’s simply impossible and a quick decision needs to be taken because you are travelling at great speed. Sometimes you guess wrong and what started as a branch of the river that looked deep, suddenly peters out into a dead end.

The driver has kept the speed up in order to get over the shallows, but all of a sudden there is a gravel bank around a corner and it stands between you and the next main body of water… Jet boats are renowned for being able to stop at almost point blank range but believe me, some of these shallows can disappear into nothingness in a nano-second,  and in which case, no, the boat doesn’t stop in time and crunch, ends up on dry land, or half in and half out of the water.

Either way the boat stops, and without the speed to keep it planing above the water, it sinks down like a stone.I have first hand experience that  jet boats are heavy… and to be honest it’s logical they are are more comfortable being in water and not half on dry land.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is where the shovel comes in… everyone takes a shovel and starts digging around the boat to make a trench so that it can be floated back into deeper water and you can take off again. Sometimes it’s also not clear where the deep water and the rest of the river has actually gone to…and that’s where the  strong shoes come in, the passengers will take turns to start looking for the deeper water and figure out how to get to it.  Riverbeds are not kind to soft shoes.

It’s not to say that you will have to do the walking and digging parts of th equation because often the rivers are kind and you don’t run out of water… but it’s always a possibility and in a way, if it happens it’s a shock and a giggle, one second you are in a boat skimming over silvery water with the sun dancing off it, next you are half on dry land with a thump and everyone is laughing at the navigator, and grabbing shovels to help out… One thing is guaranteed, no matter  how easy or how difficult the trip you will get the boat ride of your life and laugh more in a few hours than you have in years.

Sadly this type of  really fun “back block no frills” jet boating is not offered to tourists as a matter of course… they get  offered the “safer, deeper water jet-boating experience” in sections of the rivers that are more predicable and reliable.

The tourists get offered rides like this one on the Waiau in these photos.

Is it exciting?  Heck Yes!

…Is it half as exciting as the “off-road back blocks High Country version?”

Well, I’m a High Country Gal at heart so would it really take you three guesses to figure out my answer to that one?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Hamilton_%28engineer%29

May 28, 2010

Bungy my Dear, Spring back to me!…

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

At the Waiau River Bridge, outside Hanmer Springs in the South Island of New Zealand, there’s a second frequently asked question: newer, fresher and less historic than the first statement, ” Hey we are almost there!”

The second question still comes out like clockwork… “Do you think we will see any Bungy jumpers today?

Yep, the Waiau bridge is one of New Zealand’s  Bungy bridges.

We are constantly on the lookout to see if there are any foolhardy brave souls waiting on the little platform, ready to jump.

So far we’ve had no luck, but today I decide to park the car back along the road a bit and to walk over and take some photos of the bridge, river and gorge anyway.

The weather is warm and windy, so it’s a nice chance for a walk and a closer look at the view that usually only flashes by as you drive oven in the car.

I was on the bridge when along came a group of people, and one man all harnessed up, walking with his son.

They all make their way to the center of the bridge, hey I’m about to get some bungy jumping photos!

They are there for a good 10  minutes or more, the bungy ropes are sorted out and dangle over the edge of the bridge.. then I hear a countdown  … Three, Two, One…

Camera at the  ready I wait for the moment when  the guy launches himself off the edge, but it doesn’t come.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There appears to be some sort of consultation going on, the guy sits near the edge of the platform for another 5 minutes at least.

Eventually it’s clear he’s changed his mind and won’t be jumping after all.

I back off my end of the bridge and the group pass back by when they leave with all the gear. I be honest I respect his decision completely,  I couldn’t do this either.

His son gives his Dad a covert hug as they head down the path away from me… good on you lad, It must have been a tough thing for Dad to admit that he didn’t want to go though with it.

Himself says he might consider a Bungy jump if someone would pay him say a million dollars to do it…

Me,  Never Ever, not for all the money in the world.

(but you already know I’m a wimp, right?)

May 27, 2010

You know when you’ve reached the Bridge, you’re almost there…

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m not a gambling type of person (OK, ok,  do you really count the single lottery ticket we buy as a family per month so that we can dream a little about “what if“?)

Well, If I were a gambler I think I wouldn’t get good Odds from any locals on the wager I’m about to mention now…

If you are travelling on  State Highway 7 inland towards New Zealand’s Lewis Pass, then you are by coincidence on the Hanmer Springs access road

Then comes a turnoff, (that some inspired person in Planning proceeded to call “State Highway 7A”)  it’s well marked and from here to the Waiau River and bridge is literally just a few minutes drive from the turnoff.

In turn, from the Bridge to Hanmer Springs is also just a matter of minutes drive …

If I were God and could hear all the conversations going on in all the cars that travelled this way, then sure as eggs, surely every family with kids rounds the bend, see the Waiau Bridge come into view and the words ” hey here’s the bridge, we are ALMOST there!”  drop out of the parents mouths…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s just the thing that everyone says almost without fail and if I could lay bets on it I’d be rich today and retiring tomorrow LOL.

Surely you can also think of a landmark somewhere that you know well, where similar words are uttered because it’s a wonderful signal to squirming restless kids in the back seat that freedom is close at hand if they can hang on for just a few minutes more.

So a bridge is just a bridge?  Not necessarily.. This one is 100 years old for a start… lets take a look around…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

.. and when I see this bridge come into view, I feel in my bones that I am home.

May 25, 2010

Good News/Bad news/Good News with the van, and the Hot Springs Hotel…

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are in Hanmer Springs, New Zealand and one of my Kiwi friends is visiting us from the North Island. She has bought along the youngest of her four daughters so our kids are delighted to have a familiar playmate for a while.

Amongst other things we have made a trip into Lake Tennyson via Molesworth Station, She’s made a hike up one of the surrounding hills and tonight she wants to take us out for dinner.

One small hitch is that we got back from Molesworth to find that one of the bigger rocks has given us a slow puncture in a rear tyre of the van, and since we need to drop people off at Christchurch Airport  tomorrow morning it’s important that we get it changed and the tyre fixed as soon as possible.

It’s early evening and it’s only when we are leaving the house to got out for dinner that we discover the flat tyre so Himself wants to change it and contact the garage whilst the rest of us walk on to the restaurant down the road.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s a matter of good news/bad news /good news…  It won’t be safe to drive the hour and a half into the city on the emergency spare so Himself manages to ring the local garage minutes before closing time, explains our need to drop off our guests at the airport and they agree to sort out the tyre early tomorrow morning before we start out for the city.

The bad news is that Himself can’t find the jack for the van anywhere, in order to fit the emergency spare but luckily he manages to contact the owner of the small rental car company we use each visit to New Zealand and we find out that the jack in the van we are using is  hidden in a panel under one of the middle passenger sets.

The Good news is that after fitting the emergency spare he makes it to the restaurant in time to order dinner with the rest of us (one time when having a busy kitchen and a longer than usual waiting time works brilliantly in our favour).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The  Hot Springs Hotel is on the edge of Hanmer and a short walk from the house, so it’s a nice evening amble. The wind has picked up a lot so we are pleased to get inside, and there a quite a few diners so the kitchen is busy.

The staff are friendly though and I explain that Himself will be joining us late and they will do their best to fit in his meal with ours. Usually you place your order and when your meals are ready a number flashes up on a small  screen and you can collect them from the counter.

The tables are make of large trees sliced, and a massive open backed fireplace helps keep two rooms cosy in winter.

The food is good, the kids are happy with the offerings and we are all hungry so it’s nice to enjoy a relaxed meal together before our two sets of guests have to leave tomorrow. We will drop off our Pacific Island friends at the airport after our garage appointment and Kiwi friend will leave a little earlier with her daughter to catch her flight.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Iconic Kiwi “Tomato” tomato sauce bottles…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There’s a little Pavlova hiding under all this cream…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We laugh a lot around the table and as the sun starts to set we take tired kids home to bed… the surrounding views are the icing on the cake for the walk home.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 23, 2010

And feather canyons everywhere, I’ve looked at clouds that way…

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The title of this post are the words of a song that my mother taught me when I was quite young.

I liked to sing and I think it must have been a favorite of hers so I suppose that’s why she taught it to me.

I knew at the time that it was called “Both Sides Now” but I only just now looked up who write it.

It’s a song by Joni Mitchell (not that that told me much, as this song is before my time). I can’t ask my Mother, she lost her with battle 19 years ago…

Still, these are the words of this song that sprang instantly to mind when I saw this amazing cloud formation outside  the house in Hanmer Springs…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 16, 2010

The pull of the hills draws me into the High Country…

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I was born in the hills and grew up in either the shadow of, or within eyeball range of New Zealand’s South Island Southern Alps…  and now I live in what is probably the flattest country in the world.

To say that I have withdrawal symtoms for my beloved mountains is an understatement.  At the back of Hanmer Springs  is the Acheron road that leads first to the Ski Field, then on to Molesworth and St. James Stations.

Molesworth is New Zealands biggest Station at 180, 476 hectares (approx. 500, 000 acres, or over 700 square miles) .

The Molesworth Road is only open to the public for  part of the year, from 28 December to 5 April, and from 7.00am to 7.00pm but the road may be closed  at times without warning due to weather conditions or fire danger, so it pays to check their website for updates if you are intending to take the road.

Other information from the Molesworth website is “The Rainbow-Hanmer Road linking St Arnaud (gateway to Nelson Lakes National Park) and Hanmer is only suitable for four-wheel drive vehicles. This is a wilderness driving experience and travellers must be self-sufficient and prepared for sudden weather changes. Allow at least three hours to drive from Hanmer to State Highway 63 at the St Arnaud end.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Travel through Molesworth is at your own risk. There is no cellphone coverage. Automobile Association breakdown services and some vehicle insurance policies do not apply. Fill your fuel tank before setting out and carry a good quality spare tyre.”

Molesworth endures a continental climate of extremes. Hot and generally dry summers are followed by harsh winters. Snow may fall at any time of the year, sometimes covering the entire property for up to eight weeks in the winter.

Knowing that the weather in the mountains can be very unpredictable, we pack spare clothes, water,  a large picnic lunch,  check our 4 wheel drive van’s tyres and oil and in the bright Hanmer sunshine we set out…

Here is our journey into the hills… and our journey as we head towards Lake Tennyson…

We leave the Hanmer Basin behind and the road climbs steeply (first photo) from then on in the scenery  and the road gets rougher…  and more beautiful…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

New Zealand has many different types of scenery, this is off-the-beaten-track rugged sort…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Wild ponies?…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Since Himself is driving, I’m the designated Gate Opener ( and closer..)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The “paddock” is kilometers long… tussock grasses are some of the only plants that can handle the variation of heat and cold up here.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Many people have mistaken tussock at a distance for sheep LOL…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another Gate…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are almost at Lake Tennyson, the wind is increasing and it’s almost 10 C degrees cooler than back in Hanmer, some clouds are brewing in the Alps… we will have to see what the weather is like further in…

http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-visit/nelson-marlborough/south-marlborough/molesworth-station/features/

Stay tuned.

May 15, 2010

Wai ariki Farm and Nature Park, A Hanmer Springs Gem!

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

No-one with kids should miss the opportunity when in Hanmer Springs to visit the Wai ariki Farm Park.

It’s a short drive or bike ride around the Golf Course, or if you are walking, take the Crawford Walkway that makes a short-cut between Amuri Avenue (next to the YHA Hanmer Kakapo Lodge Packpackers Hostel) and exits at Argelins Road.

From there, you turn left  on Argelins and after a minute or two you will find Rippingale Road on your right.

Wai ariki is a 5-10 minute walk from there depending entirely on how fast your kids can run or if they are classic dawdlers. We have one of each, so I had to oscillate between shouting orders to the kid far ahead to slow down and the kid far behind to keep going.

Each of them proved that their little legs worked perfectly despite initial protests that they didn’t (read laziness) and we all got there in the end.

Wai ariki is a little Farm Park,  Café and Gallery that opened in July 2005.  The total land is about 14 acres amongst which 2 acres houses:  Deer, Pigs, Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Chicken, Ducks, Llamas, Alpacas, Scottish Highland cattle, a Tibetan Yak, Texan Longhorn cattle, a Clydesdale horse, a Donkey, Goats, Sheep and in summer, Eels!

Our kids love that we can buy small bags of feed and they are allowed to feed most of the animals. Little Miss even got seriously brave and held out her little quivering hand with a single pallet wobbling in her palm  for a Deer to scoff, once her initial terror that she might get her fingers nibbled off proved unfounded she was hooked and no animal was destined to stick to their usual rations that day!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

After feeding the animals, the kids remember that maybe their own stomachs might be rumbling so after some good hand washing, we  make ourselves comfortable in the Café for lunch. The kids usual favourite is a ham/cheese toasted sandwich and Himself and I opt for something different almost every time we go since there a fairly good variety.

As a Foodie, I love the fact that a lot of the produce is grown in Wai ariki owners own veggie garden and that they make the best of the seasonal selection that their garden produces.  Greener, fresher and tastier you simply can’t get!

The Craft Gallery has a selection of crafts and crafts,  made by local artisans using local products. The Café walls are a gallery of  works by local artists, so if you see something you like they are  possible to purchase.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In the end it doesn’t matter if you are visiting Wai ariki for the animals,  gallery, Crafts or for a bite to eat with your tea or coffee, the familiar face of Grace Downs behind the counter, is a friendly one and she’s kept very busy because  the cakes, cookies and food is almost all made on the premises.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

For parents of small children Wai ariki is great becuase there is safe space for the kids to let off steam,  entertainment and excitement of the various animals,  Qu: Who can shriek the loudest when a greedy goat shoves his head though the fence towards your little paper bag filled with pellet food! Answer: Little Mr. !   (but to be fair some of these animals come waist to shoulder height on him and he’s not the bravest of souls …yet! LOL).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

He liked the food, but was cheeky too… when we went to leave him so that we could feed someone else we got this as our thanks!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There is also a trampoline complete with safety net on site so one way or another the kids were kept more than happy. Sitting quietly in the shade keeping a watchful eye on the kids whilst we enjoyed coffee, tea and lunch ticked all the boxes for us as parents too.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’d highly recommend a visit to Wai ariki in Hanmer Springs. New time we are back in New Zealand we will be back in Hanmer, and if our kids are at all predictable, (and three visits in three trips says they are) back at Wai ariki too.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Grace and Tim Downs

Wai ariki Farm Park
108 Rippingale Road,

Hanmer Springs
Phone or fax (03) 315 7772

Email: enquiries@waiariki-farmpark.co.nz

http://www.waiariki-farmpark.co.nz/index.html

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