Wot I did on my summer holidays

So, did I mention I’m currently in New Zealand? I landed in Christchurch just before Christmas, did the whole family Christmas thing. I must try and get some photos of the knitted gifts.

After Christmas we – that is me, my friend Tori, my Mum, Dad, and Mum’s sister Hilary and brother Joe who both came over with me from the UK – hooked up the boat and drove up to the Marlborough Sounds. On the way up we stopped to look at some seals:

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and for the first time I wished I had a telephoto lens. The seal colony is right there on the side of the road and there are hundreds and hundreds of them. The babies are teeny tiny and very cute, and the big bull seals are very scary when they are warning any of the others away from their favourite sunning spots.

We stopped at The Store for lunch, which has a lovely setting:

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and a woeful lack of vegetarian food (“you could have the salad”). I ended up with nachos with beans and sour cream as I completely forgot they put gelatine in sour cream (and almost every other dairy product) in New Zealand. This is not a good country to be vege in.

Up in Picton we had a nice relaxing time. We took the boat out a couple of times, both times ending up at Lochmara Lodge. Lochmara is an eco-retreat I stayed at a few years ago, back when it had a backpackers there. Now it’s gone more upmarket and offers lunches and dinners to anyone dropping in. It’s on about 11 acres of native bush and there are bushwalks through the property, aviaries with kakariki (green parrots), sculptures everywhere, an orchard and vegetable garden, and hammocks!

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This is a “punga person” – a face carved into a living punga tree fern.

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A koru (fern frond)

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One of the many sculptures.

I also made a friend:

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I stopped to take photos of this guy and his friends and he wouldn’t stop posing, or getting out of the way of my camera so I could take photos of the other alpacas! He pushed his face right up in to my lens!

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Show me some teeth, baby!

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Modelling is so tiring!

So anyway, this post means that the internet suddenly started cooperating and uploaded a bunch of my photos! More to come – Marcel, this is your cue to complain that I always do several posts in a row with nothing in between for weeks.

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