I haven't been getting on line that much as mostly it eats up the NZ$'s but today there is free email at this hostel in Omaru and I have decided to stay put here for the day as its wet and windy out - the weather isn't very summery right now but hopefully will improve soon - they have had it so dry for so long they need the rain but now the roads are flooding and the south wind blows! The hills are very daunting - I have been speaking to a chap here at the hostel who is a serious Scottish cyclist who said that the cycling here is tougher than the Alps! I have hardly ridden so far and have given Robert my tent to take back to Picton as the hostels are great and cheap and I can lighten the load a bit - anyway its all good! I took the bus dwon from Christchurch yesterday - $40
I'm staying in Omaru at the Empire Hotel backpacker south of Christchurch on the east coast of the south Island - built in 1866 - a lovely city with lots of limestone buildings in very good repair too - and some lovely public gardens -
Have visited the penguins last night which is what Omaru is particularly famous for - saw 4 yellow eyed and lots of little blue penguins - they are SO wonderful to watch tumbling in off the surf and waddling and hopping up the slope to get to the colony - we saw 30 of them - they tend to come up in groups of 6 or 7 - there was a fur seal on the slope which they were a bit worried about and at one point when the seal moved all the penguins tumbled back down the slope into the sea again - the babies are all waiting and squawking for their parents and we were watching all this with the area lit with special lights so that supposedly aren't disturbed - in fact they apparently come right into town and nests under the builidngs here - quite amazing
Tomorrow I will go down to Moeriki where the bolders are and apparently a lovely little community with a famous restaurant "Fleurs" which I think I should try out -
So all is good - will do more exploring here today and some down time to write pc's - and then head south to Dunedin - so hopefully I will be on the train to Middlemarch and the start of the Otago rail trail on Sunday - Cindy has given me a contact at the end of that trail so I shall try to get in touch with them -
I am enjoying this freedom - retirement is a wondeful thing - though I haven't got a cheque yet it will hopefully magically appear in my account at the end of this week!