Posted by: glenswatman | April 11, 2007

199912 Australia-WA New Zealand

Wednesday 1 December 1999  The first day of Summer in Australia and the worst weather so far with clouds blocking the sun most of the time!  Do a bit of cleaning up but mainly relax and watch some Australian videos.
Thursday 2 December   Another cloudy day with Perth forecast for the coolest weather in Australia at 25C.  Make a determined effort to clean "Dew Drop Inn".  Steve borrows a ladder to clean the outside from top to bottom and I start emptying and cleaning out cupboards.  This leaves us both shattered – not being used to physical work!  Phone call from Claire late at night to say she is going into hospital with high blood pressure and may be induced.
Friday 3 December  Brighter day so a quick clean of the carpets and fridge then out to enjoy the sun.  Do quite a lot of swimming but take it in turns to go to the pool so one of us can be by the phone just in case we get news of Claire.
Saturday 4 December  Very hot day so we linger at the club until 10.30.  Collect our flight tickets en route to Dudley & Angela’s.  Enjoy a swim in their pool before the street party starts.  There are 3 cul de sac’s here and each year everyone gathers on someone’s front lawn for a BBQ.  It is a great chance to meet the neighbours including a few new ones.  Santa arrives with presents for the younger children and we all enjoy ourselves.  Phone Daz and hear that Claire is staying in hospital and they may induce her on Monday.  It is a scorching day but by early evening clouds roll in and we get a few spots of rain.
Sunday 5 December  Open my birthday cards (thank you all) and display them on the dash board.  Prize for the rudest goes to Mum just ahead of the Scotts!  A short stroll to the beach for an early morning swim, that’s 3 years on the trot  – Crete, Spain and now Australia.   Angela, Dudley, Emma & Samuel give me a card and some chocolates when we get back. Hear news that yesterday reached 38.5C the second hottest temperature this year.  Back to Mulberry Farm to meet Lesley and John for the luncheon and cruise $27.50 (£11).  The phone rings and we dive for it in the hope of news from Claire and get Gerry & Anne phoning to wish me Happy Birthday. Card and present from John & Lesley – I am doing well this year.  Following our starters we walk down to the jetty for a 1/2 cruise up the Swan River.  They ask if anyone has a birthday and Lesley and John kindly?!? point me out and everyone sings Happy Birthday.  Back for the rest of the meal which is almost the same as last Saturdays excellent food.  There is a pianist and singer and Happy Birthday is sung for a second time followed by Santa paying a visit.  Over to John & Lesley’s warehouse for a bit of shopping en route to their house where the pool is greatly appreciated as it is another hot day.  Follow this up with an hour sat together in the big hot spa tub sipping drinks.  Their house is magnificent and we feel like we are in a resort.  Pop into the van and the phone rings again.  My adopted Mum & Dad – Keith & Diana – are phoning to wish me Happy Birthday. We met near Darwin, Keith from Sheffield and Diana from Wolverhampton.  I was born on the same day as their now dead son hence me being adopted.  Watch "Liar Liar" (don’t rate it) with John and Lesley and chat about our lifestyle as they are in a position to and would like to do the same.
Monday 6 December  Join Lesley & John for breakfast before heading towards Perth centre.   Lesley has put me on to a jeweller who may be able to do some work on my engagement ring.  After 25 years it is wearing very thin but I don’t want to replace it.  Meet Paul at his home where he sells jewellery at wholesale prices, makes and repairs it.  He says he can virtually remake my ring using the original diamond and all the remaining gold.  Back to Burswood Casino for the heritage walk around the gardens scattered with bronze historical figures.  Over the river to Perth to do the 3 hour city walk.  Everything is well spaced out and we are thankful for the cooling breeze whistling through the streets.  See quite a few nice old buildings, London arcade which looks like a narrow street in York, one nice and one neglected church, a busy pedestrian shopping area, pretty parks and a few modern sky scrapers. Drive back along sunset coast.
Tuesday 7 December  Visit Swanbourne for our last spell on the nudist beach.  Back mid afternoon to start on the last lot of washing and cleaning up.  Claire now back at home in waiting.  Fred’s son Warren and wife Elana call in the evening and having visited Fred & Maureen in England and Ireland they have lots to tell us.  Fred’s daughter Jo also arrives having flown over from Sydney.  They are all gathered to welcome Fred & Maureen back on Friday.
Wednesday 8 December  A very difficult job packing as we seem to have acquired a lot of extra things.  Collect my ring from Paul who has done a fantastic job on it.  It looks even better than it did when new with much more gold in it and a nicer setting.  The work $500 (£200) also cost more than the original ring but looks worth it.  Last minute filling up of fuel and gas and clearing out the van.  Hear on the news that the runner Pat Farmer (whom we came across many times in the North of the country) has arrived in Canberra to finish his run around Australia in a record of just short of 200 days.  He has averaged almost 100km day and is now doing a "victory lap" by running to Sydney! 
Final summary for our Australia trip:-
25859km   16068 miles   distance covered in the motorhome
3435.8 litres   755.87 gallons  diesel used
$2770.52   £1130   spent on fuel
7.52 km a lt.   21.39 miles a gallon average 
307      nights on tour
58 nights 25 different  caravan parks
33 nights 4 different  naturists clubs
202 nights    free camping
14 nights    on the cruise
Jo takes us out to the airport for our 8.00pm flight.  Having received back the money we spent on Fred’s van we have a surplus of Australian dollars so hit the duty free shop to get Steve a new razor (with a free electric toothbrush) and some booze.  Our Air New Zealand flight leaves on time and the film is Lake Placid.
Thursday 9 December  New Zealand is 5 hours ahead of Perth and 13 hours ahead of GMT as they are now using daylight saving time.  The flight should take 6 1/2 hours and the time flies by (excuse the pun) with us landing 1/2 hour early at 7.00am in Auckland NEW ZEALAND.  A quiet airport but with lots of officials present and 2 different types of dog to sniff around the baggage.  Courtesy bus to the domestic terminal where we are booked on the 10.00am flight to Nelson.  I notice an earlier one at 8.40am and manage to get us on that.  Phone Marion who says it will be no problem to meet us earlier.  Walk out to the 37 seat plane which is half empty.  Auckland looks nice and as we fly over the coast we take in scenery reminiscent of England but with more mountains.  Nelson looks bigger than we anticipated and we land at 10.10am to pleasantly warm weather.  Marion arrives shortly after to take us back to "Sunflower Cottage" which she runs with husband Chris as a bed and breakfast.  Just a short walk from town it is a lovely place which they are in the process of renovating and enlarging.  The motorhome is not quite ready so we have to "put up" with using a lovely room with king size bed, en-suite and own kitchen.  Marion & Chris are 58 and came from England in 1950/51 and spent time in Australia before settling in New Zealand.  They want to borrow "Charlie" so they can visit relatives in England.  Steve gives in to jet lag so I take the opportunity to walk into town and do a recce.  Goods seem to have a dollar price about the same as Australia which with just over NZ£3 = £1 will make things a further 20% cheaper to us.  Cadbury’s chocolate is available here and I succumb to 2 x 250gm bars on offer for $5 (£1.70).  Lots of different varieties here and I settle on Licorice and Double Exposure. Diesel is a bargain at around 60c (20P) litre but in addition you have to buy a tax for kilometres covered and this costs around $180 (£60) for 5,000km.  Nelson looks much more like an English town than the Australian ones and at Sunflower Cottage we have views of the mountains to the front and a back garden leading down to the River.  In the evening we are joined by Jackie and Tony also originally from England and we eat curry then play cards.  We have not played Canasta before but soon get the hang of the basics.  Jackie goes Ten Pin Bowling and ask us to join her for the regular game tomorrow.
Friday 10 December  Get a good nights sleep waking for the first time at 7.00am.  Steve lingers in bed wallowing in the comfortable and spacious bed.  He has already spent more time in bed than out having had a 4 hour snooze yesterday afternoon.  Transfer most of our things into the motorhome and find we have plenty of cupboard space.  Although 3′ shorter than ours it is a similar design with settee opposite a single dinette then the kitchen and bathroom at the back.  Since agreeing to swap with us they have put in new windows and a new larger fridge. They have also installed a flushing toilet with holding tank so at last I shall be able to use the loo without Steve scowling at me.  There is a TV/Video which will enable us to do our video editing along the way but surprisingly no radio or cassette in the cab.  Marion has made new curtains and bought new bedding so although a 1985 vehicle it looks nice inside.  The cooker has developed a gas leak and the repair man decides to take it away and bring it back next week.  Jackie calls to take us to afternoon bowling.  It’s over 50’s but guests are welcome and we play 2 games $8 (£2.70) followed by tea and biscuits.  They are a good crowd and although we don’t bowl too well on the rather old lanes (Steve 144 & 108 and me 123 & 145) we enjoy the company.  Play Canasta with Chris and Marion in the evening.
Saturday 11 December  A very cloudy start to the day.  Drive into town to start stocking up the van.  When we come out of the supermarket it is pouring down but not cold.  Call at the Irish pub for a $5 (£1.65) lunch time special with beer on offer at 2 for $6 (£2).  Looks like our money is going to go a long way here.  Back to Sunflower Cottage where I play about filling the cupboards and put our Christmas decorations up.  Marion is out for the day so we spend the late afternoon and evening wallowing in bed and watching TV whilst listening to the rain.
Sunday 12 December   Head out to Upper Moutere to visit Nelson Sun Club.  It’s a great feeling to be back on the road again even though we will return to Nelson next week.  Steve struggles a bit with the gears as reverse is where 1st normally is and then 1st is where 2nd would be.  There is no power steering so it will take some getting used to.  The clouds bring rain as we arrive at the club but as we have come to meet the people we will be spending Christmas with it doesn’t matter too much.  Peter and Marcia replied to my initial e-mail enquiry and have been in contact with friendly letters ever since.  Marcia spots us coming up the drive and walks down to great us with mail.  It’s a lovely club with plenty of space for campers on powered sites at $15 (£5).  There is a golf course, swimming pool, hot tub, flying fox, tennis court and good ablution and kitchen facilities.  It brightens up late afternoon and we sit out then wallow in the hot tub.
Monday 13 December  Steady rain to start the day.  Walter & Nissa live here and we have been asked to call on them by our mutual friends Keith & Diana.  Having come out from England 10 years ago they settled in Christchurch but moved here to live at the Sun Club a couple of years ago.  They also play Canasta and we arrange to meet for a game this evening.  We think corned beef here is the same as salted beef in England and I use the kitchen in the club house to cook our joint.  The whole thing cost $4 (£1.33) and gives us a good feed for our roast dinner with heaps left over for sandwiches etc. Enjoy our card evening until midnight.
Tuesday 14 December  Marion phones to say the man wants to fit the oven at 2.00pm today so back to Nelson.   Take Marion & Chris out for a meal in the evening to the Boatshed a rustic seafood restaurant hanging over the water.  We then go to Tony & Jackie’s for coffee.  There’s a superb view from their hill top spot looking down the valley and out over the ocean.  Marion and Chris will be away when we return their van and have asked us to leave it with Tony.  They will be using Charlie from 23rd May until 31st July.
Wednesday 15 December  Back into town for a final serious shop with a determined effort to pick up the odd things we have kept putting off.  There are a number of things we need which Marion doesn’t have such as Scrabble, Backgammon, Hot water bottle.  Finally leave town at mid day heading West along the coast.  Mapua is a clothing optional resort where we had thought of spending Christmas.  Call to check it out and realise that we have made the right decision as it is very commercialised and the vast majority of people are clothed.  Takaka Hill peaks at just over 900m and we very slowly wind our way round the hair pin bends.  The views our great but Steve misses out as he concentrates on the driving.  Down the other side and back to the coast.  Our drive in Kahurangi National Park takes us on dirt track down the scenic Westhaven/Whanganui inlet.  We camp where the Paturau River flows into the Tasman Sea at the bottom of the cliffs.  It’s breezy but a lovely spot for our first night free camping in New Zealand.  This seems to be a country of many contrasts and we have already seen English towns and green countryside, Welsh sheep, Austrian Alps, Norwegian Fjords and from Greece the gorges of Crete with lots of palm trees.
Thursday 16 December  I awake around 5.00am having just had a thought that Claire has had a baby girl.  Manage to get back to sleep but when we both wake later I tell Steve about it and he says he dreamt the same thing.  No phones out here to check.  Follow the road to the end at Anatori River.  A beautiful spot again where the river flows into the sea.  We park in a grassy field on the river bank and are welcomed by a very friendly horse who pokes his head into the van.   I didn’t mind Skippy coming in the van but a horse is a different ball game so I quickly shut the door and the horse moves round to peer at us through the window.  Steve spots an even better spot a little further on and we move there and avoid the horse.  It’s a nice warm day so we set up to enjoy a spot of sunbathing.  The river is really clear and Steve finds an area with a nice plunge pool.  Wade through the river to take a walk along the beach backed by smooth caves and get back just before we are cut off by high tide.
Friday 17 December  The road back is rough and narrow and as we negotiate a blind corner a BP tanker comes straight towards us.  Steve swerves to the left but the road drops away and as we slither past the tanker he tries to get us back on course whilst braking hard.  We skid on the gravel and slur across the track to the other side where the road drops off into the water.  We grind to a halt straight across the road with the front wheels inches from the edge.  The tanker backs up to offer help but we manage to reverse out and pull over to assess the damage.  Nothing hit on the outside and nothing broken inside but the custard on the trifle has done a good job pebble dashing the fridge.  Yes it’s Tubby custard everywhere again!  Cupboards straightened out we set off again even slower than before knowing that the mail run bus has still to come through.  Stop on the inlet opposite the opening to test out the echo effect which is excellent.  Detour to Pakawau to phone Claire but the answerphone kicks in.  Phone Netty and hear that Claire had a girl Natasha Leigh 7lb 4oz at 2.53pm on the 15th.  Both doing well.  Make a quick calculation and realise that with us being 13 hours ahead that was 3.53am on the 16th and would coincide with our premonition.  We are delighted to have a grand daughter and only hope it wont be too long before we meet her.  At Wharariki we park and walk for 20 minutes over the dunes to reach the beach.  A fabulous spot with bold cliff lines, high arches, caves, rock bridges and massive dunes.  It’s low tide and we walk along the waters edge and stumble upon a big fur seal.   Already close Steve tries to get closer for a photo but it starts to move towards him flapping and honking.  Back off and carry on along the beach seeing even more seals on one of the rocky islands.  Explore lots of caves and enjoy the changing rock shapes as we stroll along.  Next stop Farewell Spit visitor centre to view the 35km sandspit.  Lots of unusual birds here and we spot a baby heron amongst others we can’t identify.  Pick up a German hitch-hiker as we head back towards Takaka.  Get quite a few travel ideas before dropping him when we turn off to Pupu Springs.  The water in the springs area is said to be the cleanest in the world and the springs pump up 14,000 litres (40 bath tubs full) a second.  The deep blue water looks wonderful and they have provided a mirrored periscope to view through.  On the Anatoki River we visit Bencarri Farm $8 (£2.70) primarily to see the eels.  There are many endangered and rare domestic farm animals here and you are invited to go into most of the pens to stroke them.  Some animals roam freely and a goat hops up onto a table to polish off the remains of a meal!  It’s very quiet and the normal feeding times are not being adhered to so we are given some meat and a stick to do it ourselves.  A short stroll upstream takes us to the feeding area and as Steve crouches down with the food loads of long black eels appear from nowhere.  They gobble the food from the stick and he even gets to stroke them and says they feel very silky.  Begrudgingly I feed them just so he can take a photo and say that I have done it but I don’t enjoy it and have no intention of stroking them.   Abel Tasman National Park is our last port of call for the day.  Head up the coast towards Totaranui and park to walk to Wainui Falls.  We tramp (in New Zealand you tramp whereas in Australia you bush walk and in England you ramble) through jungle with nikau palms, strangling rata trees and riots of ferns.  (Quote from a brochure!)   You have to cross quite a long wobbly rope bridge.  Steve doesn’t like at all and says he feels more scared doing that than when we nearly hit the tanker this morning.   The high falls are spectacular and alone we sit and take in our surroundings.  Walking back Steve decides the water looks tempting and tests the temperature for a dip.  He no sooner puts his hand in than an eel appears which makes the decision very easy.  Just when I thought we had got rid of crocodiles and other things to put me off swimming.  At least when we are walking we don’t need to worry about spiders and snakes.
Saturday 18 December  A drizzly start to the day but it dries up as we head back over Takaka Hill.  Stop in Motueka for fuel and a motorhome pulls up with GB stickers on.  Charles & Alwyn came from Whitchurch but now live in Devon.  In England they travel on their 69′ houseboat in the summer and live in their house in winter.  They exchanged use of their boat last summer for use of a motorhome now.  They mention they would like to do an exchange and borrow a motorhome in England.  We say that our van will be available from next August and also that we will be "homeless" in the summer of 2001.  They would like to borrow Charlie from next August and offer their house in Devon for a few months when they use their houseboat and also use of their house in 2001.  If it comes off it will be another chance encounter with good results.  Back to Nelson Sun Club where we just manage to fit in 9 holes of golf before the rain starts.  Steve returns to the van to find a sparrow sitting on the carpet, we are beginning to feel like Doctor Doolittle!  Join Marcia & Peter for an evening of canasta which once again goes through until midnight.
Sunday 19 December  Nice sunny day.  Chat to Stuart & Elaine from Dorset.  Steve has a sporting day playing both golf and miniten.  Depart at 5.00pm and call to visit Don & Coral in  Richmond.  We met Don’s sister Sharyn with Patrick on the recumbent trikes in Australia.  Don & Coral are well travelled and we have a good chat.
Monday 20 December   Away at 6.30am to pick up Malcolm & Barbara at Nelson airport.  We first met when they were backpacking round Turkey in October 1997.  They live in London but are back in New Zealand for the first time in 3 1/2 years.  Their plane lands early and they are waiting when we arrive.  Drive West to Riwaka resurgence to see where the River appears under a cave.  Out to the Abel Tasman National Park with a stop at the nice sandy beach at Kaiteriteri.  Reasonably quiet now we are told that after Christmas it will be heaving as it is the peak holiday season here.  Park at the Aqua Taxi base in Marahau as we are using them tomorrow.  It’s a lovely day and we sit out on the grass.  Malcolm & Barbara help us to plan our route around the North Island.  No  problem sharing the van as they have had a motorhome.
Tuesday 21 December  The Aqua Taxi $35 (£12) picks us up at 9.00am for our ride up the coast to Totaranui and then back down to be dropped at Bark Bay allowing us to walk back out of the park.  A tractor appears towing a speed boat on a trailer and we all climb on board and don our life jackets.  You feel pretty daft being towed along the road to the sea but it saves walking.  Backing down the boat ramp we are soon on the move first to view "split apple rock".  Heading up the coat we pass dozens of small secluded beaches and others which are big.  All have golden coloured sand and beautiful turquoise waters.  We get close to the fur seals on Tonga island and some seem to enjoy putting on a display for us in the water.  Land at Bark Bay at 11.30am to begin our 20km walk South to Marahau.  We climb up the hill at the back of the beach and walk through lush green forest.  There are many bridges to cross including one rope bridge but it is much more secure than the one the other day.   7.7km later we arrive at Torrent Bay and stop for a bite to eat.   It’s almost low tide so we can walk over the mud flats to get to Anchorage Bay saving us an hour climbing over the hill.  There are still some wet patches and as Malcolm is wearing sandals he piggy backs Barbara and I over to save us taking off our boots.  Steve has to make his own way.  Anchorage is a large Bay and over 100 yachts are expected to be here next week.  At the corner of the Bay we sunbathe between some rock caves and notice names of ships carved into the stone.  We leave at the other end of the bay and begin a long slow climb upwards but are rewarded with magnificent views.  After an hour we drop down and leave the track to check out Stillwater Bay.  Another nice beach so we settle down to relax and eat.  We are getting a bit weary and must look it as a man we have been chatting to offers us a boat ride.  He is waiting for the high tide to get back to Marahau but says he can take us a couple of bays closer.  We are dropped off at Coquille Bay and walk around to Tin Bay to pick up the main track.  Arrive back around 6.00pm feeling pretty pleased with ourselves.  Camp out at Motueka in a beach side car park by the saltwater pool.  Because of the high tides here the sea goes a long way out so a pool has been built by the shore and this retains water at low tide.  We hear Christmas carols and spot a lorry driving round with carol singers.
Wednesday 22 December  Wake up to find a large old bus type motorhome parked by us.  We are just getting ready to leave when we notice an old lady come out of it and head for the toilets in what looks like a flowery night dress and a floral shower type cap.  Shortly after the bus starts moving and as it heads up the road the lady emerges from the toilet block.  She chases after it but it picks up speed and the driver obviously doesn’t know she isn’t in it!  By now we are all rolling around laughing as it looks so comical.  We realise her predicament so drive up to offer her a lift.  She says her husband is 80 and f-ing deaf and too f-ing old to be driving a bus like that!  Catch up with him at the petrol station but amazingly he doesn’t bat an eyelid when she emerges from our van.  Perhaps he does it on a regular basis.  It’s a lovely day and perfect for Nelson Sun Club where Malcolm and Barbara get an introduction to naturism.  We all play golf, swim and sit in the spa.  Malcolm & Steve enter the twilight golf handicap competition and we join them after at the club sausage sizzle.  Follow this up with rides on the children’s flying fox.  You sit across a T bar and slide down the line but when you get to the end you are brought to an abrupt halt which can be painful.  Stroll down the driveway at night to be amazed by the glow worms which appear as lots of lights at the side of the brook.  Also spot a few hedgehogs.
Thursday 23 December  Malcolm & Barbara took a double room in the house last night $25 (£8) so we have a late breakfast before Malcolm & Steve head off round the golf course.  Barbara helps me complete the rest of our tour plan.  Steve then plays miniten but Malcolm stays inside as he has burnt in a few spots (sausage sizzle time again?).  Back to Nelson for our last pre Christmas shop.  It doesn’t feel like Christmas at all as there are no decorations in town and not even a Christmas tree.  Reckon we’ve got more decorations in our van than there are in the whole of Nelson.   Do the touristy bit and check out the church before driving to the town beach at Tahunanui for tea.  Malcolm used to live in Nelson and we meet up with some of his relatives before driving to the airport.  Spend the night on Marion & Chris’s driveway as we have a few van problems to sort tomorrow.
Friday 24 December   Chris manages to repair the shower problems and water leak but will need someone else to look at the fridge problem.  When on gas the fridge is not cold inside but it is very hot outside and actually burnt the curtain.  Call at a vineyard out of town where you can buy spirits and liqueurs on tap.  Fill up 500ml water bottles with Irish Cream and Kahlua.  Return to the Club for our relaxing week on site.  Early evening everyone congregates round the Christmas tree to sing carols.  Heavy rain through the night.
Saturday 25 December   Merry Christmas.  It seems strange that it is only Christmas eve evening in England.   Wake to a warm but cloudy morning.  I have been asked to prepare the carrot Caesar salad and the sultanas have been soaking in orange juice overnight.  Steve grates the carrot whilst I chop the spring onion and cut Christmas tree shapes out of carrot.  Christmas dinner is the only time of year when you must get dressed as many of the permanent residents here have relatives joining us.  Dinner starts at 12.30 with 42 converging on the club house.  The seafood platter and pate starters are passed around before we are seated.  The food is excellent and plentiful and Santa calls with a sack of presents.  We were all asked to buy a $5 gift to donate.  I receive a mini flower arrangement and Steve a mini fan.  The meal lasts until nearly 3.00pm when a round of golf commences.  I take the time out to catch up on the diary.  Up to Wilf & Junes for a drink and just as we are walking back to the van Steve gets collared for another round of golf.  Afterwards Peter, Marcia and son Stuart join us for a drink.
Sunday 26 December  Seems strange phoning England this morning to say "Merry Christmas".  It’s a very hot day and we make the most of it.
Monday 27 December  A miserable rainy morning so much for the forecast of 3 very hot days!  Marcia arranges a cards afternoon in the club house.
Tuesday 28 December  A dull start to the day but brighter later.  One of the club members is flying over to take aerial photographs in the afternoon and I suggest we lie down naked on the lawn to spell out N.S.C. (Nelson Sun Club). It takes some time organising and we have two false alarms before the plane arrives and we take up position. 
Wednesday 29 December  A beautiful hot day (not forecast) and chance to catch up on the washing.  The weather and weather forecasting here are about as good as in England and they are also having an unusually bad summer.  Alex & Marie roll up next to us in their caravan and a tent is pitched besides them in preparation for New Years Eve.  Photographers from the Nelson Mail come to visit and want a photo of a game of miniten with the backs of lots of people watching.  Steve & Marcia play the game whilst we all sit on benches.  Our Christmas packet finally arrives from Claire just in time for us to add the Christmas cards to our display.  Daniel has certainly altered in the photos and we almost fight over who is to read what first.  Steve enters the regular Wednesday twilight golf handicap tournament followed by the sausage sizzle.
Thursday 30 December  A cloudy but very warm day and definately better than the shocking weather being reported in Europe.  John & Mary join us for 2 games of Canasta mid day.  Enjoy hopping between the hot spa and the pool.  Fit in a round of golf with Steve getting 45 and me 43.  I manage to get the ball on the green with 1 or 2 shots but can’t putt.  Steve can putt but can’t drive straight.  Perhaps we should try going round as a joint team to see what score we get.  Peter & Marcia join us for Canasta in the evening.  Reckon we are becoming addicts.
Friday 31 December    Another cloudy day.  We are just not used to this having spent so long in 30C in Australia.  How would we ever cope in an English winter?   I prepare curried potatoes and garlic bread for this evenings buffet.  The "Nelson Mail" has been a sell out with the club photo on the front page.  Our moment of fame on the last day of the century!  The evening celebrations begin at 8.00pm with the BBQ $5 (£1.70), ham steaks, sausages and salmon with salad.  Heather has made 4 sponge cakes and covered them with cream and the delicious Boysenberries which are popular here.  I suggested that she cut one out to look like a 2 so the whole thing now reads 2000.   Charades, dancing and line games follow leading up to the konga which ends in the lounge at midnight.  We gather by the TV and do Auld Lang Syne then run down to the pool discarding clothes en route.  I am about 5th into the pool but manage to be the first person of the century into the hot spa tub.  I am then joined by a record 16 people in the 5 person tub.
Summary for 1999
4 countries visited – England, Australia, Indonesia and New Zealand
Distance travelled in a motorhome 27484 km – 17079 miles

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