Fri Mar 9 20:15 2018 NZDT
Run: 159.2nm (288.2km)
Avg: 4.7kms
24hr: 113.8kms
Weather: Wet, then dry then wet then,... finally windy in Blenheim -but dry

Made it through to Blenheim but a very long drive from a wet Christchurch. The magnitude of the Kaikoura road works needs to be seen to be believed. Totally awesome and way more than we thought from the brief TV pictures we have seen. It looks like a 50 year project. Miles and miles of cliffs ready to come down and two more cyclones to come. it seems an impossible battle but presumably they know what they are doing.Will update when the cruiser seminar is finished and we have a good wifi connection.

On the flat but still behind the RV
Finally a passing lane
Thu Mar 8 10:41 2018 NZDT
Speed: up to 236phkms
Run: 85.8nm (155.3km)
Weather: A brilliant day, sun and no wind, some cloud from time to time.

Ruapuna Mike Pero Motorsport Park on a glorious blue sky calm day. , Patricia had first turn on this longish left hand track and managed to find a new turn. As the only woman this was expected even though I am not blond. There are too few cars inour group soyou cannot follow the car infront!

The track is right under the landing flight path of ChCh international airport so very noisy, even when the cars are all in the pits! David drove an amazing 1min55 sec fastest lap despite the camber plates slipping. Once re adjusted Patricia was only 1.8 seconds slower when she finally managed to take his advice to plant foot on even the shortest of straights! With only a small group, and very expensive cars, there was rarely a car to chase but in the last session two groups were combined so the Porschesdid their best to catch us. One tried hard and got close only to fall behind on The deliciously long straight.

Many of us did gather at the pub that evening thinking there was going to be a closing function. Sadly there was not but it was good to chat to those we had beenwith for the week. New friends we will no doubt meet from time to time at north island tracks in the future. I think my favourite track was a Highlands as there were lots of corners. Ruapuna was a good challenge and Teretonga was a good place to start as it was the easiest to get to grips with for a novice. Levels was short and quite hard on the car but we managed four tracks with no need for replacement of tyres, brake pads or rotors. And a long way there and back so we are happy. Some more work will be needed to keep the camber plates from slipping. We added up the mileage when we got home and 4519 kilometers with yet another track day possible is rather wonderful for our Michelin Sport tyres.

The green Ford Focus belowis not your stock item, especially with John at the helm.

Totally home built, including the trailer
under the flight path
The group awaits the green flag.
Tue Mar 6 19:42 2018 NZDT
Weather: Wet, all day and chilly. About 13C

A very wet day, all day, in Timaru. But it did not matter as we met Ken, ZL3OZ and wife Shirley at their house and then had a really good look around Timaru with them. We have talked to Ken on ham radio all around the world during the past 15 years so it was great to finallytalk to them face to face. And meet 12 year old Jess. It is chilly down here and hard to believe it is in the mid 20s up home. Our high tomorrow at Levels track will be lower than the minimum in Auckland but fingers crossed it will be dry. It is a short track, 2.4 km so our power will not be all that useful so cornering had better be good.

Ken took us for a very interesting drive around Timaru and we saw the town highlights including a wild looking ocean around the port area. The amount of gravel brought to the break water by the north going current is amazing.

Ken and Shirley have an amazing garden. The Italian prune plum tree had fruited well as it was covered from attack by birds. They are small really tasty plums with a dark green yellow flesh underneath dark skin. I haveNever tasted such a tasty unusual plum.

Ken, Shirley and Jess
Ken, and David holding his ears in!
ZL3OZ home qth
patricia in davids old but good suit.
taking off for a session at Levels
Mon Mar 5 20:32 2018 NZDT
Run: 111.4nm (201.6km)
Avg: 4.5kms
24hr: 108.8kms

Arrived in Timaru Top10 holiday Park after filling up. Great trip up via Omarama, Twizel, Tekapo with varying weather. Beautiful glacial lakes and mountain views. Odometer at timaru 31664 with 34.13 l. Looking forward to meeting Ken and Shirley tomorrow. Shooting at Mt Dobson definitely off due the weather. We stopped at Gibbston Winery for a tiny lunch on the way up the Gorge and amazingly were seen by the eastern Automotive owners. We passed going in and out. There are numerous wineries in the area. When I left Queenstown many moons ago Chard Valley had just started up. Now there are dozens everywhere.

Sun Mar 4 19:58 2018 NZDT
Run: 103.3nm (187km)

Having a real struggle with internet connection here in Cromwell. We have had a super good weather and track day at Highlands. It is a beautiful park like setting and a really interesting track. Will update with pictures when we get to Timaru. Odometer at end of day and 71. 04 litres was 31364. Starting from full! And 31176 I think. David happy about tyre temperatures after each 15 min run. Highlandsis a right hand circuit, just over 4 k?s but there is interest all the way as lots of corners, a bridge, and a banked corner that adds interest.

Patricia was able to extend beyond her original comfort zone by following the black Ferrari. Close on his tail around and around. We got three runs of 15 min each. The day was interrupted by John Key arriving by helicopter and doing a few high speed circuits with the residents race car driver in their Ferrari.

the eclectic participant cars
The Prestige group leaders
John Key arrives
Glacial Lake Tekapo with Mt Cook
Lindis pass
Icy cold glacial fed lake.
Fri Mar 2 16:57 2018 NZDT
Run: 14.3nm (25.9km)

A wonderful day at Teretonga motorsport track in Invercargill. The weather stayed dry although it tried to spit at us.

Well, the fuel consumption was mind boggling and we were lucky to have been given 20 l of 98 octane. There are a lot of very serious motor sport people here with vans and trailers full of everything you might need. We filled up back in Invercargill after doing 165 is on the track. This included some slow runs where we were able to take Trevor and Norma. Fuel consumption back at the BP fill up was a scary 37.49L/ 100 k!!! Odometer at departure Invercargill 30931. ( 51.24 p,us the 20l)

Our Prestigio group had the two Ferrari?s and a Lamborghini which along with the GGRILA were the fastest . Patricia was thrilled when the Lambo drove off the track when it passed her too close to the hairpin . Yee ha. Excitement right in front of me. The race group was the most interesting to watch as more of them and they raced closer. The straight enabled top speed of 230 kph plus but it was a bit bumpy at the end where the brakes went on before the sweeper.

The Lambo sneaking up on the GGRILA
The Ferraris gave us a run for our money
The sexy looking Lambo fro Queenstown
Thu Mar 1 9:19 2018 NZDT
Run: 22.7nm (41.1km)
Weather: 100z cloud and light drizzle. Rain at 4 pm in Invercagil

In Bluff and itis starting to drizzle which will make changing the castor plates a bit tricky. We will be off to Invercargill today. The picture of us with Trevor and Norma, ZL4GD , is just downthe road from their house at themuch visited sign post in Bluff. The port has been very busy since we got here with ships coming and going. Today is the first day of the oyster season and it is flat calm so no problems with the first days catch. When we came back from Stewart Island last night quite a few boats were out waiting for the midnight start.

David and Trevor adjusted the castor plates and then we followed Trevor and Norma to Invercargill which madefinding the motel very easy! They then took us to the museum to see the giant tuataras, and a super roaring 40s display. Then a walk in the magnificent huge QueensPark and a visit to Anderson Park.

Odometer reading at BP Invercargill 30741 and we took 48.4l of 95 Octane plus booster which gives us our best fuel consumption from Dunedin. OK so I think 12.1L per 100k is not that great but it gets worse on the track!

Trevor and Norma and us down the road from their house in Bluff
Shipping from the window
Bluff Port from Bluff Hill
Trevor’s car has better fuel consumption
Adjusting the wheel angle
Wed Feb 28 21:54 2018 NZDT
Run: 155.9nm (282.2km)
Avg: 2.8kms
24hr: 68.1kms

Stewart Island, named after the cartographer who mapped it. Captain Cook thought it was part of the main land. We had a perfect day to visit. A flat calm crossing and full sun and no wind. Unbelievable really. We visited the museum, hotel for coffee, the DOC display and took a bus tour around the further away sites.

Stewart Island ferries at Halfmoon bay
The Stewart island end of the chain sculpture
From the observation viewpoint
David starting the Great Walk.
Oban township from end of Fuscia walk
Mon Feb 26 14:58 2018 NZDT
Run: 0.3nm (0.5km)
Weather: Squalls early dark morning then cloud with the odd spot of rain.

Woke up to rain squalls and the day stayed very dull but mostly dry. We explored a bit first going to the spectacular Purakaunui Falls, having first checked out that there was a Four Square Shop in Oraka for later supplies. The bush walk was beautiful and worth the outing. Then off to Papatowai through challenging dry farm landwith another stop at the MATAI falls. We visited a sort of electrical engineers junk collection with all sorts of working things! Hard to describe and too dark to photograph. This seems to be a local thing. We passed a huge collection of teapots ina garden and by our beach/crib is a tree with hanging shoes!

PS I have no ide why we are out in the ocean. There is no cell phone coverage here but the gps on the phone seems to be working. Hopefully we will return to dry land tomorrow. After a walk along the beach at Surat Bay this evening I have decide to forego a later trip to see penguins. It is COLD.

Odometer for Tuesday start is 30557

Purakaunui Falls
Native trees, and birds, on bush walk to Falls
Surat Bay beach
Shoe Tree
Sun Feb 25 20:09 2018 NZDT
Run: 0.6nm (1.1km)
Weather: Dry at the start but by 2,30 pm a few spots, and by 3,30 heavy rain but we were inside then, after a quick walk along the beach to see the sea lions.

Surat Bay the Catlins. We came via Kaka Point and Nugget Point and managed these in dry weather. The walk to Nugget Point was amazing. Spectacular. Very rugged coast line with lots of kelp and not clear water. calm though.

Odometer at Surat Bay 30475

Nugget Point lighthouse
Walk to the Lighthouse
The Nuggets
A picture for Ashley!
Too steep to look for a drone!
Surat Bay sea lion

Haha. There are a few spots like that on Kangaroo Island. But no-one to police it. A different story when they need your help to spot something. Like the boundary of a grass/bush fire. Or a shark cruising up a swimming area.
Good pics though.Ash. & prop' has been lousy.

Sun Feb 25 16:08 2018 NZDT
Run: 23.5nm (42.5km)
Weather: Started drizzly but quickly dried up.

Day started a bit drizzly but warmed up and dried up. We stopped for coffee and a wander thru Dunedin. It was quite busy as a Carnival cruise ship was in port. Port Chalmers is a good 10 Ks away from the hilly town. There must have been a race meeting as today?s road nuisances were horse floats . Having got our last fill of 98 octane in Dunedin we are now very sedate drivers. We can now appreciate the drought down here as the land is really dry. Rugged and interesting down the coast and the acrosss the Taeri plains.

Odometer st last BO station at south Dunedin with 98 octane was 30341

Dunedin railway station
Funky coffee bar
Dunedin town centre
Self defence is nothing new!
Sat Feb 24 16:42 2018 NZDT
Run: 143.4nm (259.6km)
Avg: 7.2kms
24hr: 173.9kms

Arrived at Moeraki Boulders holiday park after our last fill of BP98 at Oamaru.
Odometer now 30252 making a peaceful 275 Ks behind often slow motor homes . Whata curse they are even with the long straights they travel in convoy we stopped to look at the great aviation museum in Ashburton befor a great lunch. The weather is starting to pack up but still no precipitation. Again an amazing change of scenery with the huge grain fields backed by the snow capped southern alps

Last used in the Falklands
Harrier Jet
Dakota DC3 with leg room
Good day for parachute drops
Ashburton aIrfield
Fri Feb 23 20:55 2018 NZDT
Run: 202.5nm (366.5km)
Avg: 13.9kms
24hr: 334.5kms
Weather: Partly cloudy most of the day and light winds on land. The sail across was amazing with flat seas and sun. A light next to nothing northerly. Ferry goes quite slow thru the Sounds.

Phew , what a tiring day. But spectacular changes of scenery as vast vineyards morphed into beech forests and mountain rivers. The roads were pretty grim and we had Toexercise patience with all the motor homes, caravans, trailers and drivers that totally ignored signs that said consider the drivers behind you! We left Picton at 12.35 pm and got to Murchison by 3.20 pm where we topped up with Mobil 95 and booster. Back on the road , fairly slow through Lewis Pass , wishing we had a machine gun toclear the motor bike carrier, and finally arrived at Rolleston at 7.20pm. Finding a motel was a bit difficult. We were amazed at the fantastic motorway past Christchurch. That which makes both Wellington and ChCh with better freeways than Auckland.

Odometer at Rolleston 29977 which makes a 498 km day -seemed a LOT longer.

Marlborough vineyards
Wairau Valley
Fri Feb 23 6:23 2018 NZDT
Run: 12.3nm (22.3km)
Weather: A glorious calm sunny day with a chill in the air.

A big day ahead as the Kaikoura road is closed again because of slips. TC Gita wrecked a bit of havoc in the South Island. So we will go inland thru Lewis Pass which adds another 2 hrs 30 min to the trip . We were hoping to get to Ashburton but maybe not as we also have the fuel problem to worry about.. the GGRILA needs 98. We have checked that the Mobil garage in Murchison does at least have 95 octane as the news said Mobil were out of 95 in the South Island.
More as the day goes on,.....

Odometer at start of South Island is 29479

Cook St ferry
Interislander Kaitaki
Thu Feb 22 17:04 2018 NZDT
Run: 109.8nm (198.7km)
Avg: 4.7kms
24hr: 113.8kms

The daystarted wet but that did not last long as we travelled south. Another day of great scenery especially south of Mangaweka. It got busy after Bulls where we stopped for coffee at a great cafe that had loads of airforce memorabilia, and a fresh pasta shop beside it. We stopped at Otaki for lunch and both bought some warmer clothing for the cooler temperatures. After visiting friends in Raumati we found, with difficulty the Mana marina. The are looks so different as there are wondrous motorways. So different from Auckland S the traffic flows. YIT Mike is now with us and he and David Are of course talking cars. Off to the marina tonight.

Note for return. heavenly Pasta 117 Bridge St Bulls, tel 06 322 1777

Mike Stent - web site manager of YIT and Nomads
Wed Feb 21 17:54 2018 NZDT
Run: 230.4nm (417km)
Weather: Dry and mild, about 22C.

TC Gita passed us yesterday and this morning was a good day to start the big journey. The GGRILA was loaded up, cars swapped around, and off we went. A brief stop at Silverdale to get my new reading glasses and off we went. Well not for long as about 30 ks later we got a low tyre pressure warning on the back left NEW Michelin Sport tyre. We took the first off ramp and found a gas station and hoped that would be it. First stop was , as usual, at Pokeno For an enourmous ice cream. For those that don?t know Pokeno has the largest selection and two huge scoops of rum and raisin is only $3! Off to another health stop at Tokoroa where a Whopper made lunch. Low pressure warning light again and a tyre shop was handily placed near Burger King. It took a while to get the tyre off and fortunately the boss had two spare pressure valves as that was the cause. It seems chinese pressure sensor valves are a common problem so we will have to research alternatives.And we have had it before. We decided to take the west side of Lake Taupo and the west side of National Park as we had been warned about all the road works on the Desert Road. What a great drive. Very little traffic and lots of opportunity to clear the jets! The day was partly cloudy and the country looked beautiful. The volcanic plateau is quite different scenery wise. 500 Ks from our start and we are now in taihape. Site of the famous gum boat throwing competition. We passed thru Ohakune , where most of our carrots are grown but did not stop for any.

Note for return. Fantastic Malaysian food at Straits Kitchen, Taihape. Tel 06 3881753.going north order at Mangaweka.Also accommodation at Aspen Court Motel

A valve problem
Another leaky tyre
Taihape- gumboot capitol of NZ

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