9 January 2012


The Pudding heart is still beating. We have not been pecked to death by kea birds or savaged by warring Maori rugby players with sticky out tongues.

We are on New Zealand’s South Island now. We stayed in Koa Cottage, Little River on the glorious Banks Peninsula that Captain Cook mistakenly believed to be an island. It was named after the influential eighteenth century botanist – Joseph Banks. On Saturday night, the Earth moved for Shirley when  we were abed but it also moved for me in the form of a minor earthquake that measured 5.2 on the Richter scale.

We drove across the island yesterday via the breathtaking Arthur’s Pass, stopping off in the NZ village of Sheffield to buy a steak and onion pie from Sheffield’s Famous Pie Shop. I also noted the Sheffield Community Hall and the village’s only pub – The Sheffield Hotel. The weather was magnificent as we drove through obscenely beautiful mountains with hardly another vehicle in sight.

Annoyingly, just outside Greymouth I received a ticket from a traffic officer for overtaking another car on double yellow lines. Nothing was coming my way and the battered jalopy I chose to overtake was crawling along at about 30mph. Bugger! A $150 fine. Should I pay it? That is my current moral dilemma.
Birdling Flats, Banks peninsula
Kea bird at Arthur's Pass
Franz Josef Glacier earlier today
Today we drove southwards through lush forests and over gushing river plains, watched by snow capped mountains as we made our way to the Franz Josef Glacier. We walked up to this wondrous spectacle in blazing sunshine and later picknicked on a “scenic reserve” as we headed back up the coast to Greymouth. Another “grand day out”.


  1. 'The earth moved for Shirley' - too much information! ;)
    Shame about the ticket. I always thought they were very easy-going in NZ about all things car/road related. Don't let it spoil the rest of your holiday anyway.

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  5. "The earth moved for Shirley"
    I feel just a little uneasy

  6. Your reports from NZ so far echo those of everyone I know who has gone there...there's just so much beauty it's hard to describe it all. I hope you can catch up with your travel tales when you get home, I always enjoy your perspective. You two have a most wonderful time!

  7. Paying the fine depends on whether you ever plan on returning to NZ without having to use a false passport. I'd also check on UK extradition laws.

    Meanwhile, please pass on my congratulations to Arthur for his breathtaking pass.

  8. Not at all jealous here...not at ALL. Ahem.....anyway....instead of being childish I will say how wonderful it must be for you and Shirley to be visiting such an amazing place........ enjoy every minute...earth shaking or not!

  9. I went to Hull yesterday, and I enjoyed the work and I like Hull. But now you have rattled me, damn you - - anyway, I hope you continue to have a lovely time in that beautiful place.

  10. How audacious of you Robert!

    I'm so glad you weren't too non-plussed by the 'shake, YP.
    And I'm very, very pleased you've had such good weather. Better get your anoraks out if you venture north, although it's lovely today.

    Looking forward to reading more installments.

    PS Shooting Parrots is right.

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  12. NZ is a spectacular place isn't it? Sort of a junior Canada in many ways. Can't think why so many Kiwis are moving here when they have such a beautiful country but their numbers are growing so fast here we'll soon all be saying "fush" instead of "fish"!!
    PS Pay the fine or they won't let you back in the future.


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