Friday, 19-09-2014. Day 30.
Cookie Time, High Winds
This morning wasn't as cold as the night before, but we did wake to rain gently pounding on the camper roof. It seems to rain quite a bit in Hanmer Springs, but, usually, not all that hard.
Our main destination was Oamaru (to see the penguins), but it would have required a significant drive to go all the way there from Hanmer Springs. Instead, we decided to drive to a small town by the name of Geraldine, about 2/3 of the way to Oamaru. Even with that shortened schedule, most of the day was spent driving.
Before we could really get underway, though, we had to cross back over one of those narrow bridges.
But after making it across (there was a group of bungee jumpers, doing some bungee jumping in the rain), it was pretty smooth driving for awhile, until we got to the big city of Christchurch. After 11 days and many kilometers of practice maneuvering a giant van on the left side of the road, city driving wasn't as daunting as it was in Auckland. Things seemed to be going well. But, just as we were about to leave town, we saw this:
We checked our watches, and — what a coincidence — it was Cookie Time! So we stopped in and bought too many cookies, including a package of afghan cookies, a pack of breakfast cookies (great toasted!), a package of bite-size cookies and a few one square meals.
Driving along Highway 1 from Christchurch to Geraldine was a very windy drive. And by windy, I mean gusts of wind, not twisty roads. It was a challenge to keep the behemoth on the road, and a few times, especially when big trucks roared past in the other lane, the whole van lurched violently to the left (toward the ditch, mind you). We were glad when we turned off onto a smaller roadway.
During our whole time in New Zealand, I noticed large piles off wood — cut trees, really — stacked in fields. I wondered what these were for (I still do). Most of them were stacked so neatly, it looked very deliberate act. They have a very fairy tale feel to me, as if they were placed carefully by a race of giants. Some of them looked very old with graying wood and grass growing on them. It seemed as if they were turning into small hills, but the process was really slow. Then, as we drove toward Geraldine, we noticed a few of these piles burning in a field right next to the road.
Still not sure what's going on with these, but I find them pretty fascinating.
One of the things we'd wanted to do in Geraldine was to take a tour of the well-regarded Geraldine Observatory, but Peter, the astronomer there, was heading off to an astronomy camp for the weekend, so it wasn't to be.
Instead, we stopped in at the Valley Brewing Company to have lunch, then headed over to the Camp Kiwi at Geraldine to set up for the night. We were fresh out of supplies (that is, food), so we walked around Geraldine debating if we should eat at a restaurant or bring back food to cook in the camper. Geraldine was a really cute town, but it looked like most places were closed for the night (it seems to be a town that shuts down about 5:00 p.m.). Only a few shops were still open, like the butchery and the grocery store.
Even though we didn't shop there, the Butchery looked quite excellent. They offered a storefront window that showcased some pretty tasty-looking cuts of meat.
Our decision made for us, we shopped for dinner fixings (and for the next morning's breakfast) at the local grocery store, then went back to the camp and did some laundry and some cooking.
- Kilometers driven: 280
- Cookies eaten: 15
- Astronomy tours missed: 1
- Different beers sampled: 5