Daily Archives: December 1, 2009

Canterbury Country Caching

AAArrgggghhhhhH, it’s December 1st and I haven’t posted my Christmas cards.  Which I should have done by now, due to the fact that living where I live adds a few days to the delivery time of most mail. 

 Ah well, let’s write a blog post instead.

It was Anniversary Weekend here, so PB had the day off yesterday (Monday.)  Anniversary Day  is a random holiday that each of our provinces get at a different time throughout the year, supposedly to commemorate the founding of that province or something like that.  I don’t know of any person or province that treats it as anything more than a three day weekend though.

However, it was our last chance for maybe 7 or 8 weeks to get out of town for a few nights. This time, we basically chose our location based on number of caches that we hadn’t done, close enough that it was worth it for a two night trip.  Usually we chose where we want to go, then check out the caches, but with this being our last chance to get more than one or two in a trip until almost the end of January, we wanted to get a caching fix. 

We headed off on Saturday morning. Had thought of leaving on Friday night after PB finished up with a commitment that he had. But have I told you before that spring time is monsoon season here?  No …. ? Well, I’m telling you now. And it was really really really rainy on Friday night. Even for the West Coast. Plus we didn’t fancy getting blown over like the poor campervan at Burke’s Pass that landed on its side.  Heavy rain on our side of the island, high winds on the other, pretty much midnight before we would leave anyway. Let’s just stay in our own bed tonight!!

Once we got over Arthurs Pass and Porters Pass we zoomed through New Zealand’s answer to Springfield – complete with donut.  

Some people don't realise you shouldn't microwave a donut.

  We did a few caches on our way – stopping off in Darfield  and Methven  before we ended up in inland rural South Canterbury, based near a little town called Geraldine  (or here .)

This was our 5 star accommodation for the night.

Accommodation costs: $0

View and complete quietness: Priceless

The star of the show on Sunday morning was this kereru or woodpigeonHemiphaga novaeseelandiae.)


This beautiful bird is New Zealand’s only indigenous pigeon.  It is reputedly a good eating bird, and was a prized food in traditional Maori hunting.  Now-days though it is common in some areas, it is a protected species and hunting is not permitted.   Traditionally its glossy feathers were also prized for decorating woven cloaks and the oil extracted from it was used for a number of things including in the tattooing process.   Kereru usually produce only one egg each season and will not breed at all if there is not sufficient food, so a population does not replace itself very readily The life cycle of the kereru and of some New Zealand trees is intimately interwoven, as the kereru is the only species now still living that can swallow and disperse a range of larger native seeds.  So until we bring back the moa, it is essential to continue to protect the kereru and the bush environments that it prefers.

Now from the superb, to the really annoying,  as we were driven away from our camping spot by the sandflies! These are small black extremely irritating biting insects. We are well use to them as they are quite common on the West Coast. However, the average eastern sandfly appears to be more intelligent than the average western sandflies, and when these one started climbing up INSIDE the legs of my trousers, I protested, and we hit the road for our day’s caching.

We got 16 caches on Sunday and 6 on Monday along the way towards home. They were mostly ‘drive-bys,’ more or less as we both had nasty nasty colds. Tthe kind where you feel quite fine, until you want to breath.  Nothing that a few pain killers and a swig of cough mixture won’t fix though, so we rattled and sloshed our way around the country roads of Canterbury.

Fords with water

Typical country roads. Rolling farmland

We only had one small debate about Mrs Nuvi’s chose of route around unfamiliar back country roads.  (I really should learn to enter caches into the Nuvi as well as the Legend!)

Some highlights were:


GC1VFV4  Orari Wind Farm  Do windfarms look like this in your country?There are half a dozen or so of these windmills of different designs along the fenceline leading to a really cute farmyard holiday park. We’ve stayed here a few times as it’s one of the few camping places around where dogs are welcome. it would be a great place for kids too, with lots of animals to pet and look at, as well as donkey rides.

GC211GF Sheed’s Cabbage  You thought you knew what a cabbage looked like didn’t you?

Cabbage Tree

This is what is known here as a  ‘cabbage tree’  (Cordyline australis) or ti kouka.  It is a common cacher’s hiding spot here in NZ. I might write you all a post about cabbage trees one day.

GC1BKN0 Viewtiful  Very scenic  with a 360 degree view. I took a photo down the valley full of cabbage trees. Can one have a favourite tree? If so, this is ours.

Flying Machine

GCE5AE Flight of Fancy  This is a model of the ‘flying machine’ that a guy called Richard Pearce probably flew for a little bit on 31 March 1903 (yes, probably event before the Wright brothers! – but that’s another story.)

GCJEWZ St David’s Church   Very cool building and stained glass windows.

St David's Memorial Church

GC1521E Lucky #7   One of those little mysterious bits of history that you wonder how people ever find.