Saturday, February 23, 2013

From the Commodore - Day 9

Up early and ate breakfast.  Dad couldn’t eat as we had no way to cook his porridge.  Headed out of town by 8:30 and stopped for coffee and a mince tart for dad’s breakfast.  He convinced me to live a little and try the gluten free almond/orange cake.  It was okay but heavy. 

Left town by 9 to drive to Haast.  Drove to Queenstown and stopped off at Lower Shotover Bridge just outside of town.  Had our picnic lunch there.  Sunny, hot but lovely.  Headed into Queenstown which is on a lovely lake.  Since it’s Sunday here, everybody was at the lake playing football or swimming.  Stopped in the 10 minute parking zone to use the washrooms before heading out.  Stopped in the town centre to get groceries. 

Cruised through a local art gallery.  The paintings are all very sharp with bright colours rather than the washed out pastels of BC.  There were some nice things but outrageously priced so I didn’t get anything.  We drove north but the signage was confusing so we came back to town and the info centre to get directions.  We should have kept going and would have found the signage we needed eventually. 

Passed a puzzle place but didn’t stop as I didn’t want to get in too late.  The NZ’s have created maze farms with optical illusions.  Looked a bit like Science World from the outside.  Drove up into the mountains (Southern Alps) and saw a plane flying into Queenstown which looked so low it felt like we could touch it! 

Stopped at the highest point in the road and found a memorial to two families killed there a few years ago.  Someone planted a tree in memorial and I watered it.  Hope it makes it. 

On the way to Haast we stopped at the Blue Pools, a lovely walk and a bouncy bridge to the clear blue pools in the river.  Quite lovely.  Passed some other nice walks but it was getting late so skipped them.  Stopped to take photos of the Haast River which has huge boulders washed down it.  The rivers here are so different from home.  Because of the soil types they wander all over the place so the bridges are super long because the river keeps changing it’s course over the winter when the rains come. 

Drove to Haast and got in late (around 7) and cooked up last night’s dinner which was a couple of small minute steaks, very tender.  About $40/kg!  Had nuked potatoes and carrots which take a very long time to cook in boiling water.  I keep forgetting that the kitchens in the hostels have a boiling water tap so you can make yourself an instant cup of tea or coffee but I should use the water to kickstart the veg. 

Ate dinner about 8 and later found the washer and dryer but was told they shut down at 8 (the sign said 9:30).  Chatted with a German fellow who works for a car manufacturer making engines and got the name of a bug repellent all natural made here in NZ.  I’m covered with sandfly bites (the Dracula of flies worse than mosquitoes probably on par with blackflies) 

Drove down towards Jackson Point to see if we could see any crested penguins coming ashore (dad saw them here 8 years ago) but no luck.  Did see a herd of red deer which looked like tiny elk.  In the dark it was hard to tell and their shape and markings are the same.  Back to the hostel and played a few hands of rummy with dad and were in bed by 10. 

Slept like a log with weird dreams again.  Must be sleeping in all the different beds.