I have absolutely no idea what day of the week of it is until I check my phone.  It tells me it is Tuesday.  The phone knows.  I could have sworn it was Saturday though.

One of the problems I encounter while travelling in New Zealand is the quality of the tea served in tearooms and cafes so I take my own.  If we have time to stop we boil up a kettle of water over a primus to make a real pot of tea however we need to get to where we’re going before dark so I resort to my trusty Thermos.


The best aspect about travelling in New Zealand is the variation in terrain and climate zones you can pass through, sometimes in a matter of hours – or less.  A spine of mountains separate the West Coast from the East Coast and this divide is negotiated through passes.  We wend our way up to Arthur’s Pass where, soon, we leave the rain forest behind.

Arthur’s Pass

On the eastern side of Arthur’s Pass the landscape is rocky and barren.  The air is drier and hills are covered with stubbly tussock.




At last we arrive at the log cabin we have rented for four days and where we wait for family to arrive.


Lake Ohau in the McKenzie Country is so beautiful it is almost painful.  My daughter and I go for a bike ride around the lake but forget to take the camera.  When we get back our grandson doesn’t seem himself.  He looks a little pale and wants to go to bed, which is unusual for a four year old.  The next day they decide to take him home.  So the best laid plans can go awry – but we’ll catch up with them again in a few days.

Lake Ohau

The plaque on the seat says: Eileen McMillan 11/10/43 – 14/01/15. Loving and much loved wife, mother, grandmother and friend.  Author, conservationist and racing driver who loved and is at peace in this beautiful place.

I found Eileen’s book, Frugal Country and Hard on the Boots, on Amazon but it is out of print.  What an interesting woman Eileen must have been.


The weather in New Zealand is fickle.  It catches many tourists out, especially those from large continents.  It doesn’t matter how many warnings are given adventurous tourists just don’t believe the weather can change that quickly.  While there are no poisonous critters and nothing that wants to eat you, the weather, if you are in mountainous areas, can kill.

Ben Ohau

In the morning we wake to the first snowfall of the year. The showers don’t put us off enjoying a cup of tea with Eileen at her lovely memorial though.  My only concern is that the tea stocks are dwindling …


3 replies on “It’s A Frugal Country and Hard On the Boots

  1. So much of interest in this post. I hope your grandson is OK? Wow–how’d they build that road through the mountains?? I will have to Google that fascinating woman. I suppose because it’s an island, weather is more variable, not like land-locked continents but I really don’t know.

    Can’t wait for the next post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Grandson seems fine now but did need to see a doctor. I’m going to try to track Eileen’s book down as well. And yes weather races in from the southern ocean – I bet you were one of those kids who asked lots of questions about everything. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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