New Zealand , an Artists tour
My first visit to New Zealand
By train and boat to Picton
and South Island
n 1987 I visited New Zealand for the first time. I
flew direct via the U.S.A. with a ten hour break at Honolulu airport.

The whole event of getting to New Zealand was an experience never to be forgotten and never to be repeated via this route.
My first visit was on a shoe string budget which was eked out with NZers benevolence and I am greatly indebted to those that helped me on numerous occasions.
Arriving in Auckland I was in desperate need of some sleep after a thirty six hour flight and I booked into the Rosanna Guest house at Ponsonby, Auckland.
I had arrived on Waitangi weekend which meant that Auckland was quiet and deserted.
I spent the good part of the week in Auckland getting my bearings and sun burnt, something I did not expect but the NZ sun is harsh and unforgiving. One of the places visited was Piha beach just north of Auckland and well worth a visit.
I was advised to travel south as quickly as possible before the weather turned, advice I took without hesitation.

Catching the overnight train from Auckland to Wellington I arrived in Wellington and boarded the inter island ferry.
The ferry sailing was pleasant and calm. I was not prepared for the splendour of the cruise down Queen Charlotte sound to Picton sailing between the high hills on either side with small communities dotted on the hills and in the bays. I stayed in Picton for a few days and then ventured forth on a bus to Westport on the West Coast. The journey took all day traveling through the Buller Gorge and arriving in the evening just as it started to rain.
I stayed in Westport for two days painting and sight seeing which gave me taste of the Westcoadt life style.
From Westport I started walking north towards Karamea which was recommended to me as a peaceful place with bush walks, a beach and a sub tropical climate.
My legs barely got me to Mokihinui, about half way between Karamea and Westport, fortunately there is a camp site right on the beach, the camping amenities were sufficient, but artistically I was spoilt for choice.
I stayed here to rest for two days and then set off walking over the hills to Karamea.
I underestimated the distance and I ended up getting a lift which was beneficial as I was given sound advice to camp at the domain and not the camp site, even though the campsite looked pleasant enough.
The Karamea domain was a large field edged with tree's with mountain's as a backdrop. It also sported a block house that had a shower and somewhere to sit down and eat. I spent a week in this nice quiet town with two stores, close to the beach and not far from some pleasant bush walks that passed close to some caves. It was here that I had my first experience of NZ sand flies, an experience never to be forgotten and not the last time I would be treated as a gormet feast.

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