Kerrie loves sheepskin car seat covers.
I’m not particularly fussed on them so I’ve always managed to put her off buying some by saying that the place to buy the best sheepskin rugs is New Zealand. That got about 9 years of no sheepskin car covers until finally we made this trip and The Princess decides there’s no way we’re going home without some.
So, on leaving Kaikoura we decide we’d head back to Christchurch and get the covers since the factory is open Saturdays but not Sundays and as we are flying out Monday we may not have time to get them then.
So once again we’re on the road driving through the most spectacular countryside.
Travelling over the Hunderlee ranges through little towns whose names were very familiar to me we came to Cheviot and stopped at the Tipapa Woolshed that was built in 1888 and is now open to the public.
It was fascinating exploring the shed and its memorabilia even to the smells of the shorn wool which took me back to a brief time in my past that I worked as a roustabout with a shearing gang. The shed and its equipment was all restored lovingly and the magnificent homestead with its surrounding trees and gardens was a wonderful trip back in time when the farms of this were considered isolated but today are less than an hour from Christchurch.
We drove on over the snow fed Hurunui River, through the Greta Valley and the little towns of Omihi, Waipara, Amberley and Leithfield before arriving at Woodend where my mother was born. She spent her youth in Kaiapoi just up the road a little and I was amazed at how these towns had grown. Woodend was just a tiny hamlet in my childhood and Kaiapoi was a town
just a fraction of its current size. It’s now just another suburb of Christchurch.
Entering the city again from the Southern end took us down familiar roads and suburbs like Marshlands, once the salad bowl of Christchurch.
We made the sheepskin factory in Sockburn early afternoon where Kerrie finally got her sheepskin car seat covers.
We were going to double back and visit Hanmer hot springs but instead opted to head for Mt Hutt on the outside chance there may still be a bit of low lying snow around.
Stopping at the village of Hororata for a late lunch we enjoyed the best hamburger imaginable with a home made beef pattie at least 2 inches thick.
We headed towards Mt Hutt past the stunning Rakaia Gorge taking a detour over shingle roads through the lower parts of the Southern Alps to Lake Coleridge.
We were in awe of the sights of the rugged mountain landscape as all around us was evidence of the affects of the huge forces of the snow that covers these mountains throughout the winter.
Deep scars and rocky ravines stretch from the tops to the valleys where tons of ice turns to water to make its way to the sea via the spectacular Rakaia Gorge.
Lake Coleridge was nothing short of spectacular with its crystal clear water shining with a depth of blue beyond adequate description.
Looking up into the Western reaches of the lake we saw fertile pastures on the lower slopes sweeping up to the rugged snow line and we wondered if the residents of this beautiful place still stopped to marvel at their surroundings.
We headed into to the Ski town of Methven where where we arranged a motel that was quite cheap but really nice before taking a walk around the pretty little town. Methven is a ski town but is also known for it’s flower seeds. People come from all over the world to buys flower seeds. We passed one farm that has Lupins growing. It seems that they are just growing wild but causes people to stop just like us and take photos of this colourful sight. The smell is amazing. I only wish the photos could come in 4D and the smell would have been transported back to Oz with us.
We hope we can remember the smell of New Zealand. The grass lets off a softer smell than our freshly mown grass and this is all the time. With the abundance of wild flowers, wild Lupins, snow peas, Tulips, Buttercups, daisies and the problem weed Broom. Broom has the brightest yellow flowers that are at the moment covering whole hill sides.
Although it was 7:00pm in the evening the sun was still high in the sky and we were once again reluctant to settle in for the night while so much sunlight remained. Tiredness got the better of us however and we settled in for a comfortable, warm night’s sleep.