Monday, 15 June 2009


The Introduction

Over the years we have - like all of you- taken small side trips to various localities around our home country.Our 'big' holidays have been spent offshore - after all that is where the adventure is- right?Well,yes and no.
So many of you come back to NZ again and again ( and the WH - for which our Bank Manager,Wine Merchant and ourselves are extremely grateful)...Why? Ok NZ is beautiful but we are a bit blase about this and so this year we went out on a tour of rediscovery.
There were of course several advantages for us - petrol prices are predictable,the currency doesn't fluctuate,we know the local wines and we understand the menus.Len likes the fact I don't need to shop......but need and want are carefully defined in my vocab so I sneak a bit of the retail therapy in anyway!
With certain dates in mind and knowing that April and May are pretty magic months in NZ - Autumn colour etc - we took to the road - armed with the trusty 1953(just kidding)AA Book of Road Maps and Tom Tom telling us in the sweet tone of Joanna Lumley - just where to go!!!
Why Stanav,I hear you ask? Well rumour has it it is quite good and last year in Italy- family guidance in the direction field proved quite stressful - for satnav read 'nagivator'.I drove while others told me where to go...if you catch my drift.Now Len doesn't like being told where to go....and ladies you know exactly what I mean don't you...but if Joanna tells him 'darling,you have arrived at your destination' - he is calmly accepting if not downright smitten!!!!!
I must admit to the odd bit of skepticism especially when the occasional instruction had us turning sharp left in 80 metres - over a vertical cliff - but we stuck to the visible road and discovered Paradise.

The Journey

Day 1 :South we headed via Route 72 - the Inland Scenic Route - to Geraldine then Timaru.Onward to Dunedin on Route 1 via Moeraki (for twilight dinner at Fleur's Place- a MUST DO).Late arrival in Dunedin and two wonderful nights at Fletcher Lodge.

Day 2: Discovered a few Antique shops but main purpose was to drive out to Portobello and the Peninsula and visit the gardens at Larnach Castle. Have to say the gardens were the star attraction plus the views - the castle itself is a little tired in parts but horrendously expensive to run but if you are there it's worth a visit.The drives around the bays and over the Peninsula are stunning. Next stop was a personally guided tour of Olveston - a local historic residence - quite wonderful and appeals to my anti-minimalistic tendencies! This was our second visit but this time we opted for the guided art tour... interesting pictures but they have become so conservation minded they have placed tinted perspex light shields in front of the windows - dimmed the lights - so we had to look at the pictures with the aid of a pocket torch- what a hoot!!!Trust me the ordinary tour is fine but must be pre-booked as it is escorted.
This took us all one day in Dunedin is not enough.
A wildlife trip to see the Albatrosses and Penguins is a must plus a guided City Walk or a visit to the Chinese Gardens...the choices are interesting and varied.

This is the wonderful view from the Larnach Castle Gardens

The next Blog...(I can see you nodding off here) will be Dunedin to the Goldfields and down to Te Anau...but tomorrow for that...

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