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Archive for June, 2016

This year for the Queen’s birthday weekend, we, along with our friends who are an Australian couple, decided to rent a bach together on the West Coast next to Lake Kaniere.  In typical C fashion, he decided to get sick right before the trip!  His timing for this sort of stuff is uncanny!  This time it was a ruptured eardrum!  The day before we left he was completely miserable and Jeff had to come home to help me.

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Sick wee man.  C finally went to sleep when Jeff arrived home.   Typical!

As we drove through the Alps to get to the West Coast, we were greeted with snow-capped mountains.  I just love snow-capped mountains and it’s massively bothering me that I can’t get out and tramp this winter!!  The snow came down to the road in some of the shadowy places.  The boys wanted to get out to build a snowman.  We stopped at the DOC visitor centre in Arthur’s Pass and the second the boys touched the snow their desire to build a snowman completely disappeared!  It was just too cold for their wee little hands.

When we stopped at New World in Hokitika to get our groceries for the weekend, I was utterly excited to find spaghetti squash!  Jeff said it was ok for me to get some.  Next thing he knows, I’m totting four massive squashes to the cart.  He gives me a strange look and says “Don’t you think that’s more than enough.”  I quickly responded “not when you very rarely find these sold in New Zealand!”

When we arrived at the bach, it was an ice box.  Mark and Fiona were sitting outside reading the newspaper, which I thought was odd until I entered the house.  The house made outside feel like it was a warm summers day; that’s how cold this house was.  But once we got the heaters going and a fire roaring, it became nice and toasty…as long as both of those were still going!

Before settling down for the night, we decided to visit the Hokitika Gorge.  It’s an absolutely gorgeous sight and I definitely think it’s better to visit it in the evenings.

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E posing at the beautiful gorge.

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Family shot at the gorge.

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I seriously love the color of the water.

I guess the main point of this trip was for Jeff and Mark to go mountain biking. While they were out and about in the mornings, Fiona and I stayed with the boys either hanging around the bach or walking around the lake.  When they returned around lunch time we were filled with stories of their trip.  From what they said from their first trip, they didn’t really enjoy it as much as they thought.  I think starting on the advance track first might do that.  But, they gave it another go the following morning on an easier track and seemed to enjoy the idea of mountain biking better.  Both afternoons the entire gang decided to hike parts of the Lake Kaniere Water Race Walkway and the Lake Kaniere Track.

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Lake Kaniere.  Down in the distance were two swings.

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32 weeks pregnant.

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I can see the advantages of having a chalk-able wall now that I have children. 

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The boys thought “Bambi” was hilarious.  Here they are feeding Bambi all the playing cards and eventually the magazines underneath the tv.  The boys also enjoyed “playing” Monopoly. 

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The water race walkway led us by multiple sluice boxes.  The boys walked really well with Mark and Fiona.  In fact, they did better with them than they do with us!  Although, they were spoiled a bit by them as they were picked up a lot.  I didn’t mind though.  Plus, the game of hide and seek is more fun with new players.

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Flying E.

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Mark and C are excellent hiders.

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The boys coming around the bend on the Lake Kaniere Track.

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Dorothy Falls.

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An attempt at a family photo at Lake Kaniere.

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Goodbye Lake Kaniere.  Thanks for four beautiful and clear days, which is pretty much unheard of for the West Coast of New Zealand.

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Jeff here.

A guy from work and I have been planning a tramping trip for the last few months but each weekend the weather was terrible. A few weeks ago there was finally a weather window large enough for us to tak a trip and ironically enough the best weather on the South Island was on the West Coast which is one of the wettest places on earth. We decided to go to Cedar Flats Hut.

The walk is very straight forward. You walk up the river and in some cases the track ends and you walk right on the rocky banks of the river. It is fairly slow going because of the boulder hopping. We drove from Christchurch to the start of the track and then walked to the hut and made it with plenty of time before sunset.

IMG_8676The view of snow capped mountains as we crossed the Waimakariri River.

IMG_8686Start of the track.

IMG_8788About 1km of the track was along the rocky river bank like this. Slow going!

IMG_8775There were lots of waterfalls into the valley.

IMG_8726Just before the hut, we had to cross this ‘1 person’ cable bridge. It was extremely bouncy and in the morning it was icy!

IMG_8728View from the cable bridge.

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Cedar Flats Hut. You can see the old Cedar Flat Hut in the bush to the left.

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It’s a very nice hut that must have been added onto over the years.

There was a guy from the West Coast staying the night in the hut as well. He said that the firewood was too wet to start a fire. My response was “challange accepted.” It took me about an hour but I got the fire started.

The next morning we were going to go to Adventure Bivy but we weren’t really feeling it so we decided to go find the hot pools instead. They were a little hard to find. There’s a track with a sign pointing to where they were but the track led to the river with no pools. We then crossed the river and found the pools on the other side. They were really shallow so we dug them out a little and built an earthen dam complete with spillway to deepen the pool. Once it filled up we lounged in the pool for about an hour.

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There was a rainbow the next morning as we walked to hut pools.

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We searched around the river for the hot pools and then finally found a rather manmade looking pile of rock on the other side of the river.

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We found a shovel that had been worn to a nub. I found a stick to use as a handle and dug out the hot pool.

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Harwoods Hole

Over ANZAC weekend at the end of April (Yikes!  I’m a bit behind on the blog.  Apologies.) our family drove up to Motueka near the top of the South Island.  We prepared for the five hour car ride with a planned playground/food stop in Murchison.  C has this uncanny ability to get sick either right before a trip or during a trip.  This time it was a stomach bug.

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The boys were complaining that they couldn’t see because the sun was in their eyes.  I turn back and this is what they were doing.  Too cute.

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We stayed at a bach located on a farm.  E made good use of the lemons by turning them into throwing balls.  The boys absolutely loved staying here.  The farm had horses, chickens, ducks, cows, and peacocks. 

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In the paddock next to the bach was the home to hundreds of free range chickens and a couple of horses.  This is how farming chickens should be!  Every morning and evening we were able to watch the feeding of the chickens.  I even found it cool.  The revving of the four-wheeler instantly informed the chickens that food was coming.  They would all quickly scamper up the field towards their hen houses to partake in their daily meals.  Who knew chickens could run so fast!

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The boys visited the chickens often and took delight in feeding them our food scraps from the organic bin.

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We decided to take it easy while in Motueka because we didn’t want C’s stomach bug to worsen.  So we chose to do the short (2.9 km one way), but very easy hike as a family to Harwoods Hole.  Harwoods Hole is the deepest vertical shaft in New Zealand (176 metres deep).  The beginning of the track is littered with “warning” or “danger” signs informing the hiker of what lies ahead.  You definitely can’t say you weren’t warned!

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I can’t remember what they were pointing at, but I thought it was cute.  C is a good pointer.

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Harwoods Hole.  The shaft is so deep that you can’t see the bottom.  It’s hidden amongst darkness.

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Right before you get to Harwoods Hole there is an option to see the hole from above.  I definitely recommend walking to the top.  Here are the boys from the top.  E is pretty excited about that fact.  It’s extremely rocky on top hence why Jeff is carrying him on his shoulders.

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The top also presents amazing views of  Takaka Valley and Gorge Creek.

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The further into the track, there are lots of rocky bits.  E really liked this one as it was a “tent” and politely asked for a photo with it.

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The game we played along the way was finding the next blue triangle.  I would go ahead of everyone, find it, informed the boys of my find, and then Jeff and the boys would race to me. Somehow E always managed to win.

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The boys running off some of their never-ending energy at the Murchison playground on the way back.

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The plan worked and both boys gave us at least an hour of silence in the car…

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where Jeff and I could enjoy the views in peace.

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