New Plymouth

Sunday 11/02

We wake up around 8:30am. Isabelle prepares the breakfast while I try to put in place the revised itinerary for the South Island. It was not easy since the rental period of the camper (11 days, in the middle) is fixed and cannot be changed at all in this busy period (it’s summer, even if the weather doesn’t tell…).

We’ll go to Kaikoura (to see the wildlife) with the camper (it’s much easier to find a camping spot than an accommodation…). But we will then need a car to do the West coast of the South Island before taking the camper… And I need to hurry up to find an accommodation in the Franz Josef Glacier or Fox Glacier. Not easy in this period…

After breakfast, we go to the Len Lye Centre (which is basically adjacent to the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, a contemporary art museum). Len Lye is a NZ artist (1901-80) known primarily for his experimental films and his kinetic sculptures. The architecture of the museum is amazing: an interlocking façade of tall, mirror-clad concrete flutes, inside of which is a series of galleries linked by ramps. Lye’s work is interesting. We see one of his kinetic sculptures “in action”: Blade, which is a vibrating steel blade that pounds away at a cork ball. We even participate in the ‘Family art workshop’, where our drawing skills were tested…

We go to the City Centre Mall, where we eat sushi in the food court. Unfortunately, I put my camera on a chair, which a cleaning lady pushes. The camera falls and no longer works. I’m so upset!

We then go to the Puke Ariki museum, which is not very appealing to us.

We come back in the camping at 4pm. Kids do one homeschooling session while I try to book accommodation (in Ohakune for tomorrow, in Wellington, in Nelson, in Hokitika, in the Glaciers towns and in Kaikoura (camping spot for the camper); and even in Queenstown, our last stop (I became paranoid about not finding accommodation after our “misadventure” of Kaikoura…). I still can’t believe that I was not able to find a single room for us in Kaikoura (I even asked the holiday park for small cabins with shared bathrooms…).

I prepare a salad; we eat at 8pm and everybody reads from 9pm to 10pm. I continue my preparation of the trip. It’s not only difficult to find accommodation; it’s very difficult to book activities in view of the bad weather that we’re having. All these activities are outdoor and none of them are nice under the rain (or even under a grey sky…). What to do, especially knowing that the trip that I initially envisaged is primarily based on these activities?

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