Kirstie spent her 37th birthday
in New Zealand's newest National Park, Rakiura on Stewart
Island. Cameron seemed very pleased that Daddy had an island
but was less than impressed by the climate which delivered
on its' promise of four seasons in one day. Stewart Island
is a small, isolated island community with nothing beyond
but Antarctica and little to do but enjoy the view and keep
your eyes open for rare
legless wingless birds.
Despite the weather some of us
dipped our toes in the South Pacific.
Back on the mainland, the
prevailing winds in Southland are North Westerlies or South
Westerlies, seemingly dependent upon our direction of travel.
While the wind may be new to us, long standing inhabitants
have been sculpted by its relentless force and learnt to
bend in the direction of least resistance. We are still
learning and have struggled to carve a route through the
coastal settlements that lead towards Fjordland. This area
has bred many sheep shearing world record breakers and there's
plenty for them to practice on. New Zealand gave birth to
some 6.3 million lambs this season. Matthew is practising
Shaped by the wind
There have been moments each
day when we've discussed whether to stop or push on.........
'Bugger this, let's turn around
and head for that tea shop..'
... but our pace is
being dictated not just by the wind but by a doctor's appointment
in Te Anau, where the children need a top-up of Hepatitus
B on the 26th November. So, we've not been able to follow
the recommended treatment for wind - rest and wait for a
change of direction. We've had to push on. The relentless
wind saps our spirit, speed and mileage. And with the weight
of the children our speed is not much to start with. But
our celebrity status is a blessing as locals rush out to
check if we are 'the mad English family in the paper' and
nourish us with tea and cake.
But being blown off course
leads you to unexpected people and places; this is the essence
of adventure travel. One stormy night at the foot of the
Takitimu mountains, we found shelter at the Te Waiau Mahika
Kai Trust, a Maori ecological and cultural restoration project.
As well as a warm bed we began to learn a little about Maori
principles while the children finally found a use for the
wind - flying kites.
A tibetan hat meeting is convened
to chant nursery rhymes that ward off the wind