Posted by: eidlewise | December 11, 2019

The Force of Nature Via Water

The main Statehighway on the South Island’s East Coast might be opening today.

But in case it doesn’t happen, we’ve decided to extend our road trip via one of our favourite places, The Mackenzie Country, as we’ve missed our grandson’s prizegiving anyway (the reason for our return to Christchurch).

The day is alternating between cloudy and sunny.

We paused in Duntroon to catch up with family. This is one of those places not so many people know about. Dinosaur, earthquake, low cost camping with power in the Domain, and the pub has reopened. Hearsay is the meals are good, and generous, but we didn’t stay the night, with pressing matters further up the Waitaki Valley.

Duntroon is a destination on the Alps to Ocean cycle trail.

The dams are all spilling at the moment. Particularly at the Benmore Dam, the force of the water blows trees and showers spectators with water with only two gates are flowing.

The heavy rain in the Alps which has disrupted traffic because of slips flows on down through the headwaters of the Ahuriri filling the dams.

The first dam on the Waitaki is the Waitaki Dam. It doesn’t have a spillway as such. The water flows over the top of the dam. Because of roadworks, I was unable to get a photo below the dam. Even so, the lookout is worthy of a visit.

The next dam on the river is the Aviemore Dam. Flooding from the spillways raises the river level, making some of the freedom camping areas unsafe to stay at, beside the waters edge.


Freedom camping isn’t free. Far from it. A campsite costs $25 a night. Toilet blocks provide flushing toilets and a dump point. Recycling facilities are also available.

The next Dam, opposite our destination at Lock Laird is the Benmore Dam. My family lived in Otematata for a couple of years while my Dad contracted to the Ministry of Works.

Benmore Dam was the last dam in New Zealand to use hand held tools. Unlike the concrete monoliths of Waitaki and Aviemore, it is an earth Dam.

The spillway of Benmore is powerful enough to send spray and create wind on the opposite shore.

The day was warm, so getting wet wasn’t an issue.

We love the camping here. But, unless you’re staying for a long time, with the season pass, it’s incredibly expensive.

We are however, thankful to the likes of Max Smith, who had the foresight to include recreational facilities when the hydro scheme was being developed.

A nod to the farmers of the Waitaki Valley. The water schemes of the Waitaki Valley have turned a dust bowl into viable farming options.

Man made, yes. Playground worth having, too right.

Posted by: eidlewise | May 10, 2019

Grandparents Magazine

Chuffed to have an article about us in the new Grandparents magazine.

Check it out here.

Posted by: eidlewise | December 20, 2018

Merry Christmas


Maryborough, Carnarvon, Cober Peddy, Kununurra, Derby, Broom, Bungle Bungle, Tennant Creek, Devils Marbles, Paraburdoo, Karijini, Exmouth, Albany  Esperance, Nullarbor Plains, Eyre Peninsula, York Peninsula and so many more places in between, with strange sounding names.

Its been an pleasure and delight to explore the extremes of Australia.

Blue seas with white sands, red dirt (gets in everywhere) orange rocks, vistas of nothing but the horizon, heartbreaking roadkill, lush bush and ferns as green as New Zealand, day after day of sunshine. Day after day of rain.

The absolutely extremes of the Outback and the city, but its been the people we’ve met, more than anything else that has made this roadtrip the amazing experience its been.

Currently we are exploring Tasmania, until mid-February.

In between, I’ve written five books. Two are published and the others are in various states of editing.

Reflecting on this year, its been amazing. Its hard to pick a favorite place, but the Kimberley/Pilbara region and Tasmania are right up there. One vast and unpopulated; the other small and laid back.

We’re beginning to think a stick and brick house might be a good idea as a base. But where it will be? No idea.

Wherever you are, enjoy the joy and peace of Christmas. Relax. Chill.

Merry Christmas



Posted by: eidlewise | December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas

Wishing you a merry Christmas from our family to yours. We’ve slipped across to New Zealand to spend some precious time with our family.

Merry Christmas

Posted by: eidlewise | April 28, 2017

We’ve crossed the Ditch

I know it’s been a while since I updated our blog. There are still more posts to be loaded, but we have lept across the ditch to Aussie and I thought you may be interested in following that journey too.

We have purchased a new motorhome at the Melbourne Camping and Caravan Show. Part of the deal is for the use of a loan motorhome until ours is ready as they couldn’t give us a set date for pick up. That has worked out really well.

I have also set up our journey on the WikiCamps app so that anyone interested in knowing where Horsham or Staywell are, can find them on the map. It also shows where we are going (in green) and where we’ve been (in red).

Until next time, safe travels.

Posted by: eidlewise | January 9, 2017

Beautiful Okiwi Bay

The Marlborough Sounds

A place of beauty, carved by the elements – little villages are dotted throughout the Sounds in remote places. Some are only linked by boat, others by a narrow ribbon of road, often unsealed. 

Relaxing in Okiwi Bay

Bush Clad Road to Okiwi Bay

The road into Okiwi Bay is bendy but sealed

A gentle breeze, a sheltered harbour surrounded on all sides by mountains, the opening to the sea guarded by sentinel rocks, native forest and birds, peace, tranquillity and there you have it, Okiwi Bay.

Rugged and Beautiful Okiwi Bay

The mist circling over the tops of the hills in Okiwi Bay

Some places are so beautiful we love to return. One such place is Okiwi Bay in the Marlborough Sounds. Sitting with a coffee watching the harbour, I can sit for hours drinking in the scenery and watching all the boats coming and going.

Clear mountain stream leading into Okiwi Bay

The water in the stream is crystal clear

There’s safe swimming out to a pontoon and kayaker’s paddling around the sheltered bay. We were warmly welcomed by Chris to her NZMCA park over. Right next door are mobile coffee and mobile ice cream vendors, very handily situated, just along from the boat ramp.

Boat launching and retrieving at low tide is a challenge

Launching and retrieving boats at low tide is a challenge

On our last trip, we took a road trip to Elaine Bay and French Pass. This road trip was about exploring Okiwi Bay on foot or bike, with plenty of time to sit and soak in the peaceful atmosphere of Okiwi Bay and meet other motorhomers along the way.

Armed with coffee, there's plenty to watch in Okiwi Bay

Peace and tranquility sitting with a coffee at Okiwi Bay

Our eventual destination is Tapawera for a Country Music Festival – a first for us. We noticed the closer we got to Tapawera the more motorhomers we bumped into heading there as well. With similar interests, happy hour was most convivial.

Okiwi Bay can be very busy with people staying, especially in the height of summer. We always phone ahead to make sure that there is a space for us to park, either with Chris or at the Okiwi Bay campground.

Playground with a view into Okiwi Bay
Okiwi Bay childrens playground
Posted by: eidlewise | January 8, 2017

Staying Healthy

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food” – Hippocrates

Looking after ourselves takes a bit of pre-planning. Geoff has to have blood tests every six months to check the cancer markers, so we tie a visit to Christchurch with the blood test and a doctor’s visit for our prescriptions.

However, sometimes we just get the flu or a cold, like anyone else. While we were at Ward Beach Geoff wasn’t well and quite miserable. We ended up staying four days – after getting permission from the owners. There was no way he was well enough to drive and I can’t drive the 8.5 ton motorhome. If we had an emergency in the back of beyond, I can unhitch the Suzuki and drive it, so my not being able to drive the motorhome isn’t an issue.

Ward Beach is a beautiful, peaceful place to stay to recover.

Although not completely well, but well enough to drive, we continued on our way to Blenheim and stayed at another wonderful NZMCA park over property, at Reta Tuckerman’s. We arrived mid-afternoon. Phew it was hot! We sought a site that gave us a bit of shade and extended our awning to add extra shade to the side of the motorhome. Reta was tackling the lawns on her ride on, despite a gash to her leg.

We stay at NZMCA POPs. Reta Tuckerman in action.

Reta flat out mowing her lawns

We are members of a couple of Face Book pages, one in particular is Motorhome Friends. It’s a great place to see photos of where people are staying. Any places in the direction we are going, I write the place on our map to remember where to go. The members also help out with each other’s questions. I can highly recommend membership to for ideas of where to stay, and to meet members along the way. One member, invited us around to his home, and we got to pick his brain about travelling around Australia – our destination in April 2017.

Geoff still wasn’t feeling great, so we stayed at Reta’s until he was well enough to move on.

Just along from Reta’s property, while walking our dog, I came across this plaque commemorating the first flight from Blenheim to Wellington, carrying a letter, meaning the first air mail delivery in New Zealand. I love finding little bits of history on our travels in unexpected places.


Eventually with plenty of fluids Geoff recovered. I think our best defence is to follow Hippocrates advice, eat well and exercise well.

Posted by: eidlewise | January 8, 2017

The Weight

Confession of a traveler, we are so busy living life, photographing it, I continually get behind with our posts. Since the Kaikoura post, the 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake struck at 11:02pm on 13 November 2016. An inland road south is now open, but it’s going to be many months before the road north will be open again. 

Our journey north continues…

Our next destination is Ward Beach, at an NZMCA Park over Property (POP). An alternative if you decide not to become a member of the NZMCA is Marfells Beach Recreation area which is a DOC camp. We have Benji so we can’t stay at Marfells.


Lagoon at Ward Beach

We love Ward Beach, perched high on a flat area above the sea, we have seen the sea in all sorts of moods. Note: the seabed rose as much as 1.5m at Ward Beach during the earthquake. The calm blue as blue, when it’s hard to distinguish where the sea meets the sky, we see container ships and cruise ships out near the horizon and local fishing boats bobbing around. The summer’s day with the sea rolling and a stiff breeze, and the waves crashing. Then there’s been the storms – twice now. The sea is heaving so badly there doesn’t seem to be much difference between high and low tide, and at high tide the sea is crashing into the cliffs and over the sandbar.

Looking along the beach to where motorhomes camp above the beach

Looking north up the beach to the campsite

One thing we love is watching the launching and landing of the fishing boats. The boats are towed in and out of the water by bulldozer, huge bulldozers. Its and impressive operation to watch.

There are also walks along the beach, north and south. We make sure we include a decent walk in our day. In a confined space, there isn’t many steps to the bathroom, etc. We have both put on weight since taking up our Life on the Road lifestyle. Our dinner set has a 2cm slightly raised lip, so now I’m dishing our meals up within that lip. Instead of dieting, we are reducing our intake a bit.

The food we eat is healthy. With Geoff’s we refined our diet even more – very little sugar, more vegetables and fruit (aiming for 10 a day), reduced meat and carbs. It is really important to get out and walk or ride our bikes. Benji is a great help, no matter what the weather, he needs a couple of walks a day.

As the weight went on slowly, we expect it to go off slowly too.

Posted by: eidlewise | August 5, 2016

Kaikoura and The Checklist

South Bay Reserve  Kaikoura (2)

When we arrived at Kaikoura, we went to the dump station at South Bay Reserve to empty out our waste water and top up with fresh water. This would have to be the downside of living in a motorhome. Everything inside is the same as in a fixed abode, but the waste water accumulates in a 200 litre grey tank and a 99 litre black tank. We have a three hundred litre fresh water tank which we can live on for ten days if we are parked up for any length of time in one place.

South Bay Kayak Tour

South Bay Kayak Tour

The South Bay Reserve is pretty, with views into the Bay. It is the end/beginning of the walk across the peninsula which we have walked before. We had lunch here and watched a kayak tour get instructions on kayaking before heading off into the Bay.

Donegal House Courtyard

Donegal House Courtyard

Tonight we are staying at Donegal House. An Irish pub, restaurant, accommodation and caravan/motorhome park. We received a warm welcome to be sure. The grounds are beautiful with ponds, statues and outdoor restaurant / bar seating.

The Boyd family settled here when they migrated from Australia in 1865. A gum tree seed from Ballarat, Australia was planted after migrating in the pocket of Richard Boyd.

Donegal House is full of family history of the Boyd family.

Donegal House Lake

Donegal House Lake

We dined in the restaurant on tasty Irish stew. Murray Boyd, our host, had a horse racing at Addington and it won its race, so it was drinks all round “A little of what yer hav’n?”

Motorhome Park at Donegal House

Motorhome Park at Donegal House

We have stayed in Kaikoura for long weekends for years. The attractions, the sea, the fishing, the walks and bike riding. We really enjoy exploring the area.

The Checklist

Ours will be different from yours, but we will have some things in common. What do you put on your check list? Whatever you forgot to do before you took off. Keep the items on the check list to no more than six. If you have too many, create a pre-checklist checklist or an on-board and outside checklist, so you cover everything.

Our checklist is:

  1. Vents Closed (say check as you check each item, just like a pilot).
  2. Cupboards and drawers closed (I feel like an airline steward as I run my hand over each knob to make sure it is in properly. We went into our caravan a few years ago to find the dinner plates all over the floor and seats, most broken).
  3. Trays out of the oven (Geoff has sensitive hearing and hates rattles).
  4. Fridge off (we are only a few hours at the most to our next destination so we don’t worry about switching to battery backup).
  5. Step up
  6. Aerial down

So simple. You wouldn’t forget any of those, now would you?

Posted by: eidlewise | July 22, 2016


If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments. He said to him “Which ones?”

The Holy Bible, Matthew Chapter 19, verse 17b to 18a

Waiau Lock Up 1886

Waiau Lock Up 1886

We have a couple of rules to help keep our life running smoothly. We don’t have too many, in case we end up like the young ruler in the bible who asks which ones does he needs to keep.

Our first rule is: before we leave, we must go through our checklist. (More on that in the next post). The reason for this rule is to ensure that there is no damage done to anything after we take off.Waiau (6)

Our second rule is: if we bring something in, we must get rid of something (not included food). The reason for this rule is to keep our small space tidy – a place for everything and everything in its place.

Caravan of Yesteryear

Caravan of Yesteryear

Geoff has added another one, “We are not going backwards”. Meaning, we need to see everything we want to see and do in each place before we move on. He doesn’t want to keep covering the same ground. It doesn’t always work and I don’t like this rule when it means missing an event that wasn’t on at the time we were there, and we still haven’t moved so far along the road that we can’t go back. I’m not a fan of this rule as it removes some of our spontaneity. (I’ve always been a challenger of rules, often to my own detriment. I’ve learnt good rules are for our safe journey through life).

Cob Cottage

Cob Cottage


We packed up at Hanmer Springs and headed towards Kaikoura via the inland route through Waiau. We stopped at Waiau for morning tea and had a wander around. We discovered a restored jail, a rather old caravan/wagon – complete with an inbuilt fireplace and an old cottage which is now the museum (closed when we visited).

Cob Cottage at Waiau

Cob Cottage at Waiau

The road winds between rivers and mountains and is quite a beautiful journey through mainly farmland and forest.

No rules required today, we just enjoyed living in the moment.


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