Part 4 - Homeward Bound

So, our journey was nearing the end. All that was left to do was to drive all the way from the bottom to the top of the South Island. We had given ourselves two nights to get up the east coast of the South Island and as we finished the second show on the Sunday at around 3pm ish we decided to drive as far as we could, aiming to get north of Dunedin. Our plan had actually been to drive through the Catlins as we had never been there before, but we had already decided the day before that it was too cold and unpleasant for us to enjoy that. We will do that on our next trip hopefully. It's always good to leave something to dream about.

We had an uneventful drive for probably three or so hours and ended up just outside of Oamaru in a motel called the Alma Motel. Time for a bit of relaxation and a meal out to treat ourselves.

(Click on photos to enlarge)
Relaxing after a long drive.

Panoramic view of the Alma Motel.

The next morning we found a little park to walk the dogs in at Oamaru and then carried on with our journey.

On the way we saw a fern on a hillside and the West Coast mountains on the other side of the island.

We drove through Timaru and headed off towards Ashburton. We found a cafe and a car yard and we
stopped to have a look at some big buses and lovely new campervans - dreaming of winning lots of money and being able to afford one of those to drive around in. We went in some of them and they were absolutely beautiful inside with double bed all made up and lovely kitchen/lounge areas and shower/toilets. Mmm, we can but dream. They were nearly worth more than our house!
Timaru (left). Dogs enjoy the river under the bridge after a hot morning in the van (right).

We made it to Rangiora and found a really nice motel called the Rangiora Lodge Motel where we had a huge room with beds, kitchen and access to a small garden. We just needed to put up our dog pens along a bit of the fenceline that they could have got under and then we were fully enclosed and so the dogs could go in and out as they pleased. Of course, as always in motels our first job was to get the sheets down on the carpet beforehand, but that doesn't take too long. We were extremely comfortable at this motel and could have stayed longer instead of just the one night. We found a lovely park to walk the dogs around, very bushy and pretty. It was left over from the original native bush that had been there a long time ago before Rangiora grew up around it.

Finally we woke up on the last day of our journey and just needed to drive another four hours to Picton. We stopped off in Kaikoura to let the dogs stretch their legs.
Kaikoura Park with the mountains in the background.

Then back in the van and further north we went - through Spring Creek which is where we branched off 12 days earlier to go to the West Coast. We had finally come full circle.
Driving through Spring Creek.

We arrived at Picton about an hour or two before we had to check in for our ferry trip back. We found the dog park that people had told us about and spent a lovely time there with the dogs swimming in the stream and us sitting in the sun relaxing. Rob had a play with his phone camera again for new features - see photo below of Sherry. The weather had been beautiful for all our trip after Invercargill, which is not surprising because there can't have been much more bad weather left after that!
Shadow looking happy.

Dog park at Picton.

YouTube Video

Kula swims.

So, after fun in the dog park it was time to load the van back onto the ferry and set sail for Wellington. We reflected on what a lovely trip we had had, despite the weather. There are so many lovely things to remember - from the moody West Coast, the glaciers, mountains and friends we caught up with at the Greymouth shows, to the wonderful time we had at Alexandra and the bunny chasing, to the snow and drama of Invercargill and some new friends made there. We couldn't have asked for more from a holiday.

We arrived home just before 10pm very tired but happy and I think the dogs must have been relieved that we were not going to be getting into the van again for another trip the next morning. Twelve days was great, just enough but not too much and there are still things that we would like to see down south, so another visit will surely be on the cards in the not too distant future.


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