We loved our two-night stay at the free campground at Motueka, near the amazing Abel Tasman National Park area. We’d visited there in 2007, walking a short distance of the track and kayaking, so chose not to return this time. We want to do more ‘virgin’ territory while we can! It’s a constant balancing act for us – between visiting places, having adventures, sitting working or taking client and team calls late at night, and writing this blog (Barry spends hours editing his images which I’m so inordinately grateful for).
Music Festival Camping
I’ve frequently imagined it could be fun to spend a weekend at a music festival in a campervan. When Mike and Carolyn said they would be at the NZMCA (New Zealand Motor Caravan Association) Annual ‘Music In The Mountains’ Rally near Nelson at the end of January, I was childishly excited as it would tie in with our travel plans. Sadly though, Barry wasn’t so keen. I sulked a little. Actually a lot!
A few weeks later, we bumped into someone called Doug Walsh. Barry’s known him since they started school circa 1960 I think. He’s also got a tale or two to tell involving rather inebriated behaviour with Lee and himself on trips around New Zealand, when Doug was driving the minibus. Not stories for here mind you. Anyway, I digress …
Barry asked Doug when we bumped into him recently, what he was up to. He informed him he was still playing music with his brother Walter, and they were doing a big gig near Nelson, in the mountains, in January. Guess what? Barry decided there, and then we’d now be going!
Our dear friend Jill, originally from Wales, who’d been living in Australia until late last year, joined the NZMCA especially to come with us. She’s currently living in Nelson with her daughter, son-in-law and gorgeous granddaughter. As a hospital caseloading midwife, her weekends off are extremely precious, and we made the most of her delightful company.
Ukelele And Entertainment Galore
I was keen to experience two ukelele workshops, lead by Paul Johnson from ‘Singnuke‘, and was literally drooling over his collection of ukeleles! I’ve got a small purple soprano ukulele my daughters bought me a few years ago. Having started learning last year in lockdown, I brought it with me but haven’t picked it up since we arrived in August. It was fantastic to finally take it out of its case and play it again. Paul was a brilliant teacher who’s in the process of writing a ukelele learning book about ‘muscle memory’. Hopefully, the two sessions I went to won’t be in vain.
Three nights in a row, there was live music and dancing. I was overjoyed to discover a group of people line dancing. I plucked up the courage to join them and almost managed to conquer a few dances! Check me out below. For many years in the 90s, my younger daughter Kimberley and I used to line dance every Wednesday night. We loved it. Last weekend sparked many happy memories.
On Friday night ‘The Bootleggers‘ entertained us – and got almost the whole crowd on their feet. Saturday night was ‘The Walsh Brothers‘ who were superb, and hilarious. They included tributes to Billy T James and Prince Tui Teka. If you’re from New Zealand those names will be familiar. If not, click the links and check them out. Sunday night it was ‘Sweet Az‘ on the stage getting lots of bodies boogying.
Barry caught up with Doug and Walter on Sunday, at the Craft Fair, and they all walked down memory lane together. Doug was going to return for the Sunday evening entertainment, but felt unwell. We’ve since heard that he’s in hospital and hope that he gets the best of treatment and recovers swiftly. What a lovely man.
A Memorable Mass Gathering In The Time Of COVID
Knowing how awful things are currently for our family and friends back in the UK, and for others worldwide, it was surreal to be having so much fun surrounded by hundreds of people – mostly over the age of 65! Apparently, there were 722 campers there, in motorhomes, caravans, camper vans or tents.
Jill left on Sunday afternoon, to pack ready for an imminent house move. We spent the evening with Carolyn and Mike, listened to Sweet Az, Carolyn and I danced and even Barry and Mike did at one stage. Mainly because Mike requested ‘Wish You Were Here’ by Barry’s favourite band Pink Floyd. Despite the boys having a
few lot of drinks, they still managed to thrash Carolyn and I at Sequence later that night! The challenge is on for a return match at some stage back in New Plymouth …
Next Destination The West Coast
We left Tapawera, where the festival was held, late Monday morning. we headed through the Nelson Lakes, stopping briefly at Lake Rotoroa where Barry took some stunning shots. Continuing to Westport to empty our cassette (black water) and grey water, and fill up with clean water, we managed to get to Hector before dark. There’s a fabulous free campground there right by the beach that we chose for the night. Complete with two pristine toilets.
Our intention is to explore the west coast of the South Island as much as possible, before our crossing to Stewart Island on 27th February. We find it amusing that overseas visitors schedule in a couple of weeks to tour the whole of the South Island – we’re acutely aware even three weeks won’t be sufficient to do justice to just the spectacular west coast! But we’ll do our damnedest to soak up all we can.
It’s a challenge to blog regularly. If you want to keep up to date with where we are in between posts, ‘Like’ our Facebook page (if you don’t already!) as I’m going to be posting four photos a day of places we’ve been.
Barry’s Slideshow Images
From Motueka to Music in the Mountains then Hector – click on the first image for the slideshow to begin …