So I got a bus ticket, only $35 to Omarama from Christchurch.. cheap! It was a 5:30 AM depart time, and with advise from Carole to sit on the right hand side, I enjoyed the most amazing views all the way there. We arrived at Omarama about 15 minutes early, but not to worry! The Gold's are there and already waiting! Carole has picked up some groceries for her upcoming 8 course meal tonight! But it's hard to walk past and give a hug when a huge FOOTLESS dear stealing the show!
They have really good friends coming over for dinner and for them it's a normal meal. For us it would be Thanksgiving! Carole made 2 meats, lamb and chicken. And 11 vegetables. Eleven! And each of her friends brought beautiful deserts.. along with the wine. I'm so full I could bust! I'm so happy to be back!
That was Saturday and on Sunday we pack up the car and head south back to good old Mosgiel. Ross plans on driving me back the other scenic route that I missed last month. Remember the Brass Monkey Rally I attended and the roads that were closed due to strong wind and snow? Today's the day to see what I missed.
On the way out, we stop to visit family friends and their new baby. What a gorgeous family and beautiful place to live!
This is the South Island New Zealand and very much winter.
Once through the pass, we come back down to a non-snowy elevation.
How pretty is this!?? I'm really glad to be here and see this. Most riders experience New Zealand in the summer. Pretty, yes, but this is more spectacular!
On Monday the Gold's go back to work and what am I to do??? I did a sneaky one. I told them I'd have dinner waiting for them when they get home. No problem. Carole is humming along and says that she wants me to come back for Christmas. She is thumbing through her wall calendar and marking down the days I will be leaving NZ and home to Australia. And she says, I need to mark your birthday on my calendar too. "When is your birthday Sherri Jo?" I couldn't tell a lie, I said, "Today!" What!??? I'm sorry for the blurry photo because the light was low, but I love her excitement! It's nearly an exact match to the way my Mom used to smile and react. Those two would have been best buddies, I can assure you!
Firefighter Dave came to dinner too, which was really nice. He even brought me a cute birthday present! How perfect is this?? Legos, one of my favorite childhood toys (along with Matchbox cars AND Barbie) I probably shouldn't admit that, it's a strange indication to my adulthood. Anyway, this Lego set is a firefighter AND a motorcycle. Perfect!
Dave has just bought a motorcycle, so it was good for him to meet Carole and Ross as they are having a big Ulysses Moto party on the weekend. I won't be there, but it will be fun for them! But he did invite me out for a great morning hike near Dunedin at Tunnel Beach.
Last night Carole was explaining how she likes to liven up a party if it gets boring with planking. I've never EVER heard of such a thing. So Dave was happy to demonstrate for me here on the beach. We all will just have to imagine Carole doing this on furniture at a party??!! haha It's really quite strange, but funny! Is this just a Kiwi thing?
We took turns taking photos of each other up on the cliff. Cool!
So beautiful here, I think we might need to sit and ponder the world around us. I didn't get to sit down before the self timer sent off.. ha!
Afterwards we went back to the Port Chalmers Volunteer Fire Station for a proper firefighting experience?! Well nearly.
I got to wear the gear and ride in the big truck! Everyone should do this!
So if I want to make myself known, which siren sound should I pick?? I don't see myself as a wailing type of girl, definitely a yelper for sure.
Back home to Mosgiel where I plan to pack up and head to Auckland for a few days before making my way to Australia. Lovely Carole couldn't help herself and she gave me a heap of birthday presents to open. Since I didn't give her advance warning, she came home with all of these wrapped the next day! She knows I'm looking forward to being back in my own kitchen soon, so I got lots of fun kitchen gadgets AS WELL AS, the local favorite Kiwi cookbook, Edmonds. These are perfect and awesome too.. Between them and Dave, hey all made this a great birthday to remember. Thank you!!
The next day I flew up to my other home away from home, the Hubbard residence in Auckland! But unfortunately they are not here. They are riding a motorcycle completely around Australia at the moment! But I'm grateful as always to have wonderful place to stay as I finalize my last bits of New Zealand. Here in the hot seat salivating over one of Diana's local New Zealand cookbooks...
What a difference in weather from the South Island to Auckland! It was so hot I couldn't even wear socks and shoes whereas yesterday I was wearing 3 layers of socks on the South Island! I love the Birds of Paradise they have on the veranda, and it was more spectacular with the sun shining through.
I was lucky to meet another fantastic motorcycle rider. Shock1 He invited me for a day out to ride his KTM 990 while in Auckland!!!! Would love to!!! But I had sent every bit of my riding gear in the crate along with my bike from Christchurch. I have nothing! Supersize bummer!! But he was kind enough to offer a tour on 4 wheels. I can do that! He came and picked me up for a drive to his part of the world near Hanua Falls.
These are cool.. what's next? "Do you want to hike up and stand on top of the falls?" Sure! Nice little heart pounding hike, I needed that! Water drops on the camera lens.. sorry!
I've been to a zillion waterfalls on this world tour, but I can say that I've never stood right on the top edge of one. Awesome!
Next a drive to the other side of the North Island. It doesn't take long in New Zealand! And we go to check out another beautiful view, the lighthouse at Manukau Heads. It's easy to imagine what it would be like to be the lighthouse master guiding ships into the harbour.
I can't get over the colors here. Just gorgeous!
Not a bad spot! Thanks Jock!
This was so much prettier in person than through the camera.
Well, that was a wonderful and successful wrap up to New Zealand. I was lucky enough to spend 3 1/2 months in this country, and it quickly felt like home to me. I'm still blown away by the wonderful new friends I have here. Everyone treated me like family and I couldn't be happier. I will greatly miss New Zealand. But! The good news is that it's only a hop over to these islands by airplane from where I live in Australia, so watch out!! ;-)
One final bit of excitement. I am about to board the famous A380 jet liner. I couldn't get over it. I bought the cheapest ticket available from Auckland to Melbourne and this is what they put me on!? I feel like I won the lottery!