A combination of me leaving the written directions at home, a lack of phone coverage and me eating a messy pie while driving, led to Mr Pigalina being driven 18km more than necessary on gravel road on his birthday. I had planned a scenic route home from the Catlins but bungled the turn-off so backtracking was required.
We did however get to visit Toko Mouth.
We headed to the Catlins for Mr Pigalina’s birthday, to relax and do nothing. The goal was achieved.
On our Labour Weekend holiday we ventured out from our base in Riverton to explore the bottom of the South Island of New Zealand.
The first sight we discovered was a bra-covered fence, not unusual in NZ, with a sign declaring it to be “Tom’s Tit Stop”. We tried to get a good photo but the scary dogs barking at us and the presence of (we assumed) Tom, looking at us from his caravan, led us to conclude that the bras were souvenirs of unfortunate victims of Tom – like Wolf Creek.
From there we visited Cosy Nook, Monkey Island (pictured, top left) and Gem Stone Beach. While we didn’t find any gem stones we did discover a little house tucked behind a cliff and trees above the beach (bottom left).
Lunch was sausages in Tuatapere (right) the sausage capital of New Zealand. Now, I am one who usually prefers their sausages made from fungus (Quorn) but man oh man I cannot stop thinking about those Tuatapere bangers. I need to find a supplier.
From there we headed to Bluecliffs then onto the Cliffden Suspension Bridge, once the longest of its kind in the country.
A very satisfying road trip, ticking off many new places we never knew existed.
With gale force winds and rain forecast I envisioned our trip to Moeraki to be largely spent indoors. In fact we had quite the opposite, apart from a blustery late afternoon.
We visited the reserve by the lighthouse and discovered the field that grows sea lions; took the dog for a walk up the Millenium Track to where the whalers used to look out for whales until they killed most of them off. We dined on fish at the World famous Fleur’s restaurant. So. Much. Fish.
In the afternoon we read magazines in the sun, then when the weather took a turn, watched the worst movie ever – High Freakquency. (Seriously bad, the story, the acting, the sound quality, the camera work; heck the cover even has a photo from ANOTHER FILM on it (Friday). Avoid. What a waste of 12c to buy it).
In the evening we squeezed more food into our full bellies at the tavern where I sampled Moeraki Draught.
A great, relaxing weekend and only an hour from home.
We drove one hour and Tobias managed to get himself tangled in his harness and the seatbelt, very tangled.
Sitting at Lake Wanaka enjoying a delicious lunch I made the mistake of feeding a tiny bit of bread to a cute, tiny, bird. Immediately the seagulls gathered. Then one dive bombed my burger from behind me.
I had to eat around the area it had grabbed at. Too good to waste.
We awoke to snow in Hawea which almost meant a whole day inside keeping warm. It soon stopped so the day’s plan – a trip to Queenstown was back on.
We headed to Below Zero, a bar in a refrigeration unit where the seats, sculptures and glasses are made out of ice. My fingernails felt like they were going to drop off and Daddy Pigalina’s juice froze solid.
On the way back to Hawea we stopped off in Kawarau Gorge where Mummy Pigalina did a bungy jump! Not our average Saturday.
A quick visit to Parliament Gardens in Rotorua at lunchtime.
My connecting flight from Christchurch to Auckland was slightly late. I was informed by the stewardess while she was giving out the drinks that the cabin had been contacted and I wouldn’t be making my flight to Rotorua.
When I landed I went to the desk and was placed on standby for a flight two hours later. Standby. It has never happened to me before and visions of the tangled mess of phone calls rebooking hotels and taxis flooded my mind.
Luckily me and the other person on standby made it onto the flight. But the pilot was AWOL. Seriously? The pilot finally arrived proclaiming his watch was set to the wrong time and I entered the smallest plane I have ever been on. Twenty seats in total. One each side. I could see the cockpit and I was seated next to the emergency door. I hastily scribbled a note in case I died with no final words.
It was possibly the bumpiest landing I have ever had – like I said I could see the cockpit, thus out of the front window and the horizon was waving like the sea.
I am recovering in my hotel bed watching fuzzy TV and sniffing Rotorua’s sulphuric air. I miss Mr Pigalina.
Pigalina is off to Rotorua, in the North Island, for an educational visit of another department at work.
It will be interesting when I get there, but oh, the getting there.
It is a good job that domestic airports are super fun places as I need to go to four of them – Dunedin, Christchurch, Auckland and Rotorua.
I will have a number of free biscuits stashed in my bag come journey’s end. I am one flight down, two to go.