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”.