August 31, 2005

Little Tokyo

Well it's fast approaching the end of our stay in New Zealand - we've been here for three and a half months and will be flying out on Friday morning. We've had quite a relaxing week; most of you will know by now that we have sold Colin (sorry guys, couldn't afford to send him home), so we've had about a week staying in a hostel to prepare for the next leg of our trip.

Next up is Japan where we will spend 2 weeks, followed by 2 weeks in China and then 3 weeks in Thailand where we will be travelling with "the kids" (Josie, James and Steve)!

Today we bought our Japan Rail vouchers for a weeks travel around Japan and we somehow managed to book ourselves into the pink-ist hotel we could find in Tokyo without realising, it's called the Sakura Hotel. The (very rough) plan is to spend the first couple of days in Tokyo, then we will head in the direction of Kyoto & Kansai where we will find a variety of ancient gardens, shrines and castles. We will also be heading to Nara to have a look at one of the world's largest Buddhas. On the way, we are hoping to get a good view of Mount Fuji and not actually climb it. After all this we will head down to Hiroshima, the site of the world's first nuclear bomb attack (note to parents: it is safe to visit)

The rest of our time will be spent in and around Tokyo where I am convinced we will find plenty to do. I wouldn't mind trying the following: staying in a Ryokan, bathing at an Onsen, obviously eating lots of Japanese food and maybe dining in a Ninja Restaurant (cheers Nige) ... any more suggestions?

Actually, any suggestions for China will also be very welcome!

Posted by deb at 07:42 AM | Comments (2)

August 27, 2005


bye bye colin

Posted by robl at 05:55 AM | Comments (3)

August 21, 2005


mmm ... kebab

Posted by robl at 11:53 AM | Comments (2)

August 10, 2005



Posted by robl at 05:26 AM | Comments (3)

August 05, 2005


deb with her presents and colin with his too

Posted by robl at 06:48 AM | Comments (2)

Pipe Dreams

Firstly a big thanks to "The Kids" at home for the birthday presents - we finally arranged for our post to be forwarded to Wanaka and picked up the large package yesterday! The presents were so cool that we took photos of them for everyone to see! Even Colin got a present - fluffy dice... they really suit him!

I was a little worried about the T-shirts though. "The family" - i.e. Pikachu & Vince seem to be out of control in the lounge of our place, I thought Wheeler was supposed to be keeping an eye on them :) If anyone can shed some light on what else is going on in the photo, please let us know!

... and how did you know that I needed a new set of clothes... lovely tops, cheers guys. And my hair is loving the new shampoo & frizz-ease , can not normally afford such expenses :)

Thanks also to my Nan B for the letter, it was lovely to hear from you!

On the snowboarding front, this last week has been a very hectic one but we've both really enjoyed ourselves. Rob's snowboard camp started at 8:30 on the mountain which meant a very early start for the both of us to get up there in time. 3 hours half pipe riding in the morning followed by 2 hours private training in the afternoon.

I spent my time with a 2 hour lesson in the morning and practice in the afternoon for 3 days which was the best thing I ever did (snowboarding related anyway). I was taught to ride switch, to ollie, to manual (wheely), to ride boxes etc... and ironed out some of the bad habits I picked up from boarding without lessons for so long...

This week will be our last in Wanaka, in fact we are planning on leaving on Thursday for Christchurch so we can officially start selling Colin. We'll be sad to leave Wanaka... and sad to see Colin go too (although fingers crossed eh!)

[2 InThePost galleries here and here]

Posted by deb at 03:45 AM | Comments (6)

July 31, 2005

The final curtain

Deb has finished the mamoth task she started two months ago - she has finished the Curtains ! I think we've pretty much completed our mods to Colin now - consider him pimped.

I think the list of mods is:

- Removed great big cupboard
- Added new fold out bed
- Added 240v power
- Added battery charger to charge house battery from 240v
- Fixed sticky locks
- Added new tyre
- Fitted and sewed 12 new curtains
- Added new fridge
- Fixed the horn
- Fixed the windscreen washers
- Added 6 new shelves
- Added a mini B/W TV (not quite the dropdown LCD's !)

So have a look at the fitter healthier Colin and see what you think ... (and compare with the original Colin here).

[2 Colin galleries here and here]

Posted by robl at 07:18 AM | Comments (5)

July 28, 2005

Snow worries mate

We finally got a little bored of just snowboarding every day and decided to go on a quick jaunt over to Queenstown (only an hours drive away). It's like Wanaka but bigger and with more shops - you should have seen Debs eyes light up (I also wasnted to go and pick up the latest Harry Potter as it had sold out in Wanaka !). We spent a day in Queenstown and went up the Gondola - which is the spot most of the pictures are taken from and were lucky enough to see a nice rainbow poking out of the lake above Queenstown.

After a days rest we decided we needed to get back on the slopes again - this time we've taken a few pictures and we're going to keep adding and removing pics from this gallery as we improve and get better snaps ... We've only got a month left in NZ now and only two weeks of that on the slopes - it's gone so fast !

I'm practising my Japenese already ....

"noodles please"

[2 Snowboarding galleries here and here]
[2 Queenstown galleries here and here]

Posted by robl at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)


danger deb

Posted by robl at 07:19 AM | Comments (0)


rainbow above queenstown

Posted by robl at 12:03 AM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2005

PPP-Pick Up a Glacier

This weekend we took a break from snowboarding and took Colin on a trip to see some of New Zealand's finest glaciers. We also went on the hunt for penguins but they must have decided to take a holiday to the UK (where apparently the weather is much finer this time of year) as they were nowhere to be seen.

Tramping is the rather affectionate sounding name that Kiwis use to mean walking or hiking; our weekend involved quite a bit of this too, Running Richard would be proud/ shocked.

After a quick stop off at Thunder Creek Falls and Knights Point, our first major stop was to see the penguins. We walked for 1 1/2 hours in the hope of seeing them but all Rob ended up with was wet feet as he got lured into the sea by the promise of penguins hiding in the rock pools. Still, it was a fine day and a pleasant walk.

After spending the night at Franz Joseph township, we started our day by walking to the glacier terminal front. From a distance, the glacier looked a bit like a lump of dirty snow but it was worth the walk to stand right next to the glacier where you could really see it's humungous size.

Next we drove to the Fox Glacier where we embarked on another 1 1/2 hour walk to the Fox terminal face. Not having seen enough glaciers we then decided to try and see the glacier from a different angle and drove up a road apparently not fit for campervans (it was nothing after having driven up Cardrona mountain) to the start of our hike to the chalet lookout. This walk was rather good fun as there were a couple of largish streams that we had to cross and Rob was a complete gent and carried me across.

We got up early the next day to embark on another walk, this time around Lake Matherson to see unforgettable views of Mounts Cook and Tasman reflected in the water.

[2 Glacer Trip galleries here and here]

Posted by deb at 07:31 AM | Comments (1)

July 17, 2005


knights point on the way to franz joseph

Posted by robl at 05:57 AM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2005

Beautiful Wanaka

Afternoon! As predicted, Rob and I have spent quite a bit of time snowboarding, however we have managed to get a few photos in for the chaps at home. More about these in a bit.

The mountain is getting to be loads of fun - snow is predicted for every day of next week and they have now opened the remaining chair lift (which also happens to be the biggest and fastest one) so things are getting rather more interesting... this coupled with the fact that we've bought ourselves new helmets, our snowboarding styles are getting more adventurous and actually, I think we both may have even improved a bit.

Anyway, some more about helmets; Rob has bought himself a rather funky one called "Bad Lieutenant" - and it is actually a Lieutenant style helment which sounds cheesy but it looks rather cool. Mine is a more of a traditional style which makes my head look more alien shaped but really this is the only look I can get when wearing any helment. It has already saved my head about 4 times already so I am as happy as larry.

Back to the photos. This first set is a mixed bag from around Wanaka and up the mountain at Cardrona. On one of our days off from boarding, we took a walk around the lake (which really is beautiful by the way, I can't stop looking at it/ taking photos of it). The other photos are from yesterdays trip up the mountain... New Zealand Ski resorts are not like European ones, you have to drive up a mountain road every day to get there which is an experience in itself (an 8km gravel track mountain climb - Rob).. There are also a few photos of the campervan site where we are currently staying. Naturally you would think that staying in a campervan and snow do not mix that well but this park makes it all ok - it has a spa, sauna, great lounge and kitchen area with log fire and lovely views of Wanaka...

The next set of photos are from Puzzling World where we visited today. Must say I wasn't expecting that much from this place but it turned out to be loads of fun. We spend about an hour and a half trying to find our way out of a maze, most of it involving me chasing Rob who kept trying to find his way out/ lose me, I wasn't quite sure which. There was also a room called the "illusion room" which is tilted at 15 degrees but the furniture etc isn't which causes your brain to get very confused indeed. I still can't quite work it out.

Also, if you are wondering why the segway photo has jumped so rapidly to the top in popularity then see here ...

[2 Wanaka galleries here and here]
[2 Puzzling World galleries here and here]

Posted by deb at 04:54 AM | Comments (2)

July 09, 2005


lake wanaka

Posted by robl at 12:32 AM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2005


in helmet heaven

Posted by robl at 07:42 AM | Comments (2)


We've finally made it to Lake Wanaka where we will be based for the next month and a half for snowboarding at Cardrona.

Our first stop on the way down here was at Nelson where we had a nosey at the Art-Deco Cathedral and a quick stroll around town.

Next was Blenheim, vineyard country, where we both enjoyed some wine tasting at the cellar doors. We dropped in on the Cloudy Bay Vineyard where we sampled practically the complete range and Rob ordered a case of wine for his dad. Then we went on an excellent tour of the Montana Winery where we saw wine being brewed on a large scale (non of this single demijon stuff we do in Otley) and we sampled yet more wine but this time we were instructed on how to wine taste in a more civilised fashion (so we gurgled it round in our mouths and spat it out).

Next, we headed for Christchurch and on the way we stopped off to see a huge colony of seals which we spotted on the beach at the side of the road. We stayed in Christchurch for a couple of days - it's a lovely city, reminded me a bit of home (probably because there were some actual old buildings there).

Also, we've added a quicknotes section in the side bar of the site as we're not going to be updating as quick and fast as we have in the past as we're pretty much snowboarding now (however we've got a few weekend trips planned that should provide some stunning photos). So for those of you who like to know we're still alive and kicking, you should be able to get a quick update of what we are up to.

[2 TripSouth Galleries here and here]

Posted by deb at 06:30 AM | Comments (0)

June 30, 2005


wasjig fun (think mirror image)

Posted by robl at 09:15 AM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2005



Posted by robl at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2005


hello wanaka !

Posted by robl at 10:02 AM | Comments (5)

June 23, 2005


i want to live forever, i want to fly - fame !

Posted by robl at 05:39 AM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2005


tasty wine

Posted by robl at 04:09 AM | Comments (0)

June 20, 2005

What's Up Down South

We've had a great time in the North Island but now are anxious to get down South to Cardrona for the snow so in the last week we have travelled from Taupo to the South Island visiting quite a few places on the way.

In Taupo we had a look at the thermally active area called "Craters of the Moon" - it does have big craters as the name suggests but the ground was literally steaming and bubbling away and we were able to get a good close look (personally I find it all very fascinating as this stuff would never happen at home). We also popped in at Huka Falls and the Volcanic Activity Centre.

We then drove through the mountains (Colin just loves those hills) to take us to Wellington where we reunited with the barmy army. The game was apparently average but we enjoyed it regardless. Being my first proper game, I found it odd to see that fans from the different teams share the same seating areas and actually being quite pleasant to each other.

While we were in Wellington we met up with Rik (who Rob and I used to work with) & Vicky for a few drinks, Matt (who I used to work with at PA) for lunch and Lu (who we met in Fiji) which was all rather quite pleasant although hopefully next time we can spend more time with people. Wellington as a whole was a lovely city and the people were remarkably friendly and chilled out too.

After our fleeting visit to Wellington we took Colin on a ferry to the South Island and landed in Picton where we were once again able to split from the barmy army. We have already visited Nelson and now are in Blenheim where we plan to hire bikes and cycle round the Marborough Wine region sampling wines!!

[2 Taupo Galleries here and here]

Posted by deb at 06:42 AM | Comments (10)



Posted by robl at 01:05 AM | Comments (0)


art deco cathedral in nelson

Posted by robl at 12:47 AM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2005

They dont like it up 'em

So as you might have gathered from the camera piccies we're going to see the British and Irish Lions play a prep game against the Wellington Lions tonight ! It's strange being couped up with all the other Lions supporters at our camp site - they have their own little world of camper vans and matching Lions clothing ...

There also seems to be a touring stage show of Dads Army - how strange.

We've spent the last few days travelling down to Wellington and visited a few spots along the way - I think the most impressive have been the Glow worm caves (which we weren't allowed to take pictures of !) and also the Aranui caves that were nearby. The glow worms really had to be seen to be believed and I'm glad we weren't able to take pictures as it would have spoiled the effect, we were taken underground and then placed into a boat and told not to make ny noise - the boat was then pulled along a rope into a pitch black cave where the glow worms were waiting. It really was like seeing thousands of stars above you ....

We also passed through Rotorua which is an incredibly active geothermal region, you could just walk down the street and there would be steam venting out of the ground. We visited a few places here and also saw a Maori concert that turned out to be a lot more fun than I initially thought - the people performing it really appeared to be enjoying themselves and there didn't appear to be anything forced about it. I think the most impressive thermal area we visited was Wai-O-Tapu and saw a Geyser errupt.

We'll be heading over to the South Island in the next few days - yey !

[2 Caves galleries here and here]
[2 Roturua galleries here and here]

Posted by robl at 05:08 AM | Comments (4)

June 14, 2005


rob visits the bassett salon

Posted by robl at 11:20 AM | Comments (2)


we are going to see lions !

Posted by robl at 05:50 AM | Comments (6)

June 11, 2005


lady knox geyser

Posted by robl at 07:43 AM | Comments (2)

June 10, 2005


rawwwr !

Posted by robl at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)


aranui caves

Posted by robl at 01:45 AM | Comments (0)

June 08, 2005

Postcards from Northland

We've been in New Zealand about 3 weeks now and I feel its about time I made some sweeping statements about the country based on evidence collected from our travels around Northland.

"The Roads" - a portion of ninety mile beach is also actually a highway and it has a 100km/hr speed limit. What NZ call highways are mostly like B roads in Wales (2 lanes, bendy and of varying quality) apart from in Auckland where Highway 1 is 8 lanes wide. We had to stop on a more remote portion of highway 1 due to a farmer herding some bulls. The roads are generally quiet which is good as it means we don't tend to collect a trail of cars.

"Boy Racers" - take Otley boy racer population, multiply by 10 and you get how big car pimping and cruising is over here (mainly in the towns in the middle of nowhere). I have not spotted any chavs yet but there is definately an equivalent.

"Warehouse" - a huge shopping phenomenon in NZ - you can go to one of these megastores and buy a cheap version of anything. Mainly you come out of the store with things you never even knew you needed, a bit like Ikea I suppose.

"The Towns & Suburbs" - I guess partly due to NZ being such a young country, some town centres and Auckland suburbs specifically seem to have an industrial estate (containing 1 or 2 huge supermarkets, Auto Warehouse, DIY store and a Warehouse) as the town centre. It reminds us of why we should be supporting local shops in Otley.

"The Scenery" - on the surface the countryside looks very much like the UK. When you look closer, the hills are definately more pointy, the trees more tropical looking and there is certainly more of it.

"British Lions Tour" - the first Kiwi we saw after landing in NZ asked us if we were here for the Lions Tour. People have not stopped asking us that since... I wish I understood rugby.

"Simpsons" - we have actually seen several new (as in new to us) episodes which has been quite a shocker. Perhaps FOX sold one half of all episodes to the UK and the other half to NZ which could explain it. I am sure that is it.

"Rainbows" - very likely to be because of the rain that follows us round, we've seen an unusual amount of rainbows since we got to NZ - sometimes up to 4 a day.

"Ducks" - at many holiday parks we are greeted most mornings by a collection of ducks. Maybe they have been installed especially to wake people up in the morning to ensure they leave by 10am.

"Pedestrian Crossings" - on some crossroads with pedestrian crossings across all 4 sides you are also encouraged to cross diagonally. This makes perfect sense and I am not sure why other countrys don't do it, it was a little confusing at first though.

"Kiwi Fruit" - apparently originated in China not NZ and got renamed Kiwi Fruit by the Americans in the 60s.

"Kia Ora" - I thought it was a soft drink from the 80s but apparently it is also a traditional Maori greeting.

Posted by deb at 11:55 PM | Comments (8)

June 07, 2005


ren & stimpy on our b&w tv !

Posted by robl at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2005

Horse Play

A few things to update you on this time ... We've made it back to Auckland as we did a flier of a journey down the west coast of the Northland (350+ km's) which we thought that in a van that only has four gears was quite a good achievement ! Before we undertook that lightning run we visited the northern tip of New Zealand - Cape Reinga and got there via the Ninety mile beach. It was an unseasonally sunny day and we went on a tour bus that drove a good way up ninety mile beach where we saw wild horses on the sand dunes (very picturesque) and I showed everyone how to Sand Toboggan (see the picture sequence !) We also visited a restored Gum Diggers park and saw some of the old sink holes they used to dig to retrieve the Gum from the ancient buried Kauri trees. All in all, it was a really enjoyable tour and we're really pleased with the pictures as they have a certain 'moody' quality - have a look and let us know what you think ...

In other news, the masses have spoken and we have a name for our Camper Van - Colin, so when you here us refer to Colin from now on you should realise we are talking about our large four geared friend.

As for our plans next, we're currently looking for second hand snowboards, laptops and we're buying our Snowboarding passes for Cardrona and maybe planning to do this ...

P.S. I've also added captions to the previous set of pictures in North NZ - they'll probably shed some light on the pictures so you might want to have a look at the set again.

[2 Cape Reinga Galleries here and here]

Posted by robl at 04:16 AM | Comments (3)

June 03, 2005


nz answer to alton towers

Posted by robl at 10:54 AM | Comments (4)

June 02, 2005


keep on truckin

Posted by robl at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)


tip of cape reinga

Posted by robl at 11:46 PM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2005


deb wears her sunday best

Posted by robl at 11:39 PM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2005


happy birthday deb !

Posted by robl at 12:24 AM | Comments (5)

May 25, 2005


mmm ... sausages

Posted by robl at 09:24 AM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2005

Pimp My Ride

I know we've been a bit quiet for the last few days but thats because we've bought a camper van ! We're really busy sorting it all out at the moment but I thought I'd post a few of the pics that we had from the couple who sold it to us ... It's a 1984 Bedford CF 280 with Hi-Top and custom interior ! It's also got a manual choke :(

We're going to the DIY store tomorrow so we can do some pimping of the van, so in the meantime to keep you busy we need a name for the van - leave name suggestions as comments to this post and I'll create a poll from the best ones so people can vote for their favourite (rhyming entries will probably fare best ...)

[2 Camper galleries here and here]

Posted by robl at 11:18 AM | Comments (5)

May 16, 2005


singing in the rain

Posted by robl at 03:08 AM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2005

Baaa !

We've made it safely to New Zealand ! It's actually a lot like England in Auckland - mainly wet at the moment. We've got lots of Fiji pictures to put up but we'll be busy searching for a camper van to travel around in so it might take a few days. Did you know there are approx 11 sheep for every Kiwi ?

Posted by robl at 06:51 AM | Comments (0)