A horrific tourist accident in New Zealand!

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A horrific head on accident obviously!

 

Anybody in New Zealand who read or watch any news media will have seen that photograph. A direct head on. The silver car came around a corner at Waipapakauri Ramp to hit front on tourists driving towards them on their side of road. There are no skid marks it was that instant. Horrible isn’t it?

How are these tourists with no English able to rent vehicles. Not sure how long they had been in the country but I know they were due to fly home about now. That’s obviously not happening as they are all hospitilised.

It stinks that our ACC pays all their medical costs. Their only bill will be $1400 each. That’s it.

With the charges they will skip the country once able and not come back. Take their passports does not stop them getting new ones.

Our laws in many ways are wrong.

Why am I writing this you ask. Well I was driving that silver car. Xiaoli in the seat behind me and my mate by me.

I walked away. Broken ribs and sternum, my mate the same. Xiaoli had life threatening injuries now out of danger but not over issues. One operation already and broken ribs and sternum.

Our 2 little dogs survived but are in an animal hospital.

There are emails flying through very high circles politically about tourists driving on the wrong sides of roads etc. I have not done this but some very powerful friends are driving it. The NZ Herald and others have more stories being written. Hopefully out of our misfortune finally the laws may be looked at. Finally!

Our businesses are all closed indefinitely and all bookings cancelled. My long haul tours the overseas consultants are finding new guide/drivers. And top it off the vet bill will be larger than the hospital fee the guilty party will pay. It stinks.

Money is not important. We are alive. We are survivors

A long absence from writing blogs

A long absence from writing blogs

I came home from 3 months solid of guiding and driving tours with durations of 14 to 27 days burnt out physically and mentally. Arrive home and Xiaoli and I jointly make the decision to leave the farm and head back tour beach property. In my absence Xiaoli had also been tested with running the farm, our 3 units of accommodation plus the house in our right of way we manage. So it wasn’t a hard decision to arrive at.

We are now well settled back at the beach housing ourselves in the studio unit so our guests can utilise the main house. That’s been interesting for us. We are the easy part but training the dogs (our children) was a little more difficult, but they to have now settled and behaving themselves, well most of the time.

I unfortunately with the 25,000km I clocked up and daily lifting then unloading suitcases have damaged both shoulders/arms. Last year each shoulder had 5 of the magic steroid injections which worked great until I decided to test them to the extreme. Now the left is definitely facing an operation and the right likely to follow. Bugger! I hate hospitals, catheters etc. And once operated I have a minimum of 6 weeks out of operation each time. There goes the next tour season.

First project back at beach was to catch up on maintenance then build a large BBQ area. Improve appearances for guests. Build Xiaoli a glasshouse plus numerous planter boxes so she can beautify the property. Plus the glasshouse allows her to grow her Lily bulbs to a size we can sell. A new business she wants to establish selling bulbs and seeds by mail order.

She now successfully sells local Manuka honey plus other varieties by mail order so this just adds another arm to the business.

I started the boat up yesterday. It is yet to see the water through summer and now here we are in autumn. Hopefully in the next week it may actually get out on the water. I think I only caught 2 fish all summer and that was off the rocks up Ninety Mile Beach. The enthusiasm just doesn’t seem to be there for fishing right now.

I miss touring but I don’t miss the long hours driving, the living out of a suitcase and changing hotels most nights. Eating out at restaurants has also lost its appeal. Sleeping in my own bed is something I am relishing.

I promised myself once tours were over I would buy Xiaoli a new car and have now done that with her reliable little RAV now sold to a friend. A week or so later she is yet to drive it as there has been no need but she has already added the female touch to it.

2018 is my year to get the body back in shape with the help of several hospital operations. Then maybe enjoy a slower pace life. Contemplate a possible retirement. Yeah.

http://www.peterandxiaoli.com

Time to take hold of our future

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I didn’t know people cared if I wrote or not. But facebook tells me they do.

My long haul tour season has come to a close certainly for this season, and maybe ongoing. This season I stretched it a bit and the body has suffered. Recovery not as quick as I hoped so I guess I really did knock myself around.

I love long haul tours. What do I mean by long haul, 2 weeks or more. They are a challenge mentally and physically, You really get to know your group, most positively but then there always the one or two that you just can seem to reach. But invariably the others on tour have the same problem with them.

For me I feel I have let myself down if I don’t get that connection yet I know its not my doing. Just different personalities.

I have come home with a mission. To get our lives in control. We have reached out in to many directions trying to do to many things. So after discussion with Xiaoli we have agreed to get back to basics.

Xiaoli feels she can get us more Northland 3 or 4 day tours and maybe if I target the right groups I can to. That will grow our accommodation off season and will get our 12 seat van working harder.

Our license to drive 4wd tours up Ninety Mile Beach we still hold yet have not pushed ever since I was chronically ill 4 or so years ago. Time to address that. Drive the business again. Build the business up to the levels it used to be.

The farm we are going to wind down. It worked well but added to our work load in a way we did not need. It taxed us to much and distracted us from where our tourism businesses were headed. Time to get back to our core businesses.

The long haul tours I enjoyed but just not sure I wish to continue. Maybe I will feel different around mid year. I guess I will wait and see what tours are offered. I am real tired of living out of suitcases and a different hotel every night.

This year I told Xiaoli we must go to China again. I felt bad that last year I only gave her family 24 hours with us. Her mum is around 80. Great health. And she deserves to see us a little longer and not so rushed.

2018, a year of change for us but in a positive way. Ease some of the pressure and get us more focused on our core strengths plus finding ‘Peter and Xiaoli’ time. We lost that with all we were doing.

To think I have a boat sitting outside that has not seen the water this summer. That is not good. Got to correct a few things.

www.peterandxiaoli.com

 

ps The bird is the Northern Pelican I photographed just off where they breed on the Otago Peninsula. A spectacle I am glad to have been up and close to a number of times this summer

Penguins. I love seeing them

The penguins at Kelly Tarltons, always keeps my groups fascinated. As an attraction it never disappoints.
Today an Auckland tour although some opted out of the museum part.
We finished tonight with a farewell function at the top of the Sky Tower in the Orbit Restaurant. Lots of speeches in Swedish which I found I could get the gist of. But one speech in English. In fact the first speech where I was thanked. A tear jerker for a few. I guess they enjoyed our tour together. Haha
Tomorrow after breakfast its off to Yam Cha for my Chinese sons birthday. 21 again. He seems to have a more than a few 21sts now. Then my mate who has specially come down to collect me will take me the four and a half hours home. I look forward to seeing Xiaoli. Its been a while. And I know the four dogs will mob me.
http://www.peterandxiaoli.com

Hobbiton today!

Today we visited Hobbiton but I will not post photographs of the venue. I am very tired of visits to Hobbiton. So today I shot a Monach butterfly at Hobbiton so post that as a photo.
Now Auckland. Tomorrow a sight seeing tour. Tomorrow night the Orbit Restaurant at Skycity. Sunday my Swedish group go home and so do I. The tour season now over. Feet swollen. Mentally and physically exhausted. Its time to go home for a rest. Maybe some fishing
http://www.peterandxiaoli.com

The sheep show

This morning I sat through the farm show at the AgroDome in Rotorua. Often I don’t bother. A very hot topic of conversation was the ‘horror’ hotel we are in. Its not good. The ‘Four Canoes’. Yes it is 3 star as claimed but very old and very run down. My group are not impressed. My thoughts are no better. My bathroom had hairs in the sink and shower and wait for it, an old small towel slung over the far side rail of the shower. Obviously unsighted by cleaners. The curtains in my room have a number of hooks broken so a huge sag. Not at all good, and I could go on. The consultant who I work for this tour I assume in unaware but I will tell them and I know my group will tell their travel company back home.

Someone needs tell them the sound system needs better acoustics as even I even struggled with listening. And my poor Swedish group really struggled.

The show is as always, well done. No denying that and people are herded through like sheep. Pardon the pun.

Tonight it’s the Maori concert at Mitai plus the hangi meal. A nice change for me as all others this summer have been at Te Puia. And bonus is we are being collected so I don’t need drive the bus as we are being collected. Its about 30 degrees here so no driving means I can enjoy a cool beer. That will be good.

Tomorrow its off to Hobbiton. That place is really not growing on me but I do acknowledge Peter Jackson and his team did it well. Then on to Auckland for 2 nights

I am a wet and tired tour guide

The pictures I share today are not from this current tour. Why you may rightfully ask? Well the west coast of New Zealand has 40% of its weather as wet. And today it was a really wet one. Not cold though.

We departed our Fox Glacier hotel at 8.30am for breakfast at the Lake Matheson café. And what a beautiful breakfast it was. But as for the planned walk after breakfast or the beautiful views of Mt Cook and Mt Tasman you often get from the café, forget it.

68mm of rain forecast and I would swear all 68mm fell on our trip today and probably a lot more.

The walk to Fox Glacier was out for my 16 Swedish guests. The walk to Franz Josef was rained out although some did go to ‘The Sentinel’ lookout and found nothing to be seen. The helicopter was grounded for those booked on that. Altogether a rather wet tour day.

Lunch stop was Hokitika where I added another 30 minutes on to the normal hour long stop. We are running well ahead of schedule so let them go eat then go spend some money on our greenstone jewellery on offer.

Greymouth an early arrival at the Kingsgate Hotel. 3pm. I am never that early in to a night stop and I even timed it badly with a larger coach arriving 5 minutes before me so I ended up being driver, guide and now porter lugging suitcases up the stairs. My arm muscles now really strong following this tour season.

Tomorrow its off to Nelson. A long days driving for me and a long day in the bus for my Swedish group. Hopefully the weather will be better. Then its over to Wellington just for the night before I face the 520km trek through to Rotorua. A horrific day for me as driver/guide and for my Swedish passengers. But not my fault, I didn’t come up with the agenda.

Counting down to the18th when the tour season for me comes to a close. Body and mind are exhausted but we will make it through the tour. Not sleeping well. Tired of living out of a suitcase and exceptionally tired of restaurant meals

http://www.peterandxiaoli.com

The worlds only mountain parrot

I am too exhausted to write blogs on the current tour. Body telling me this season has taxed me physically and mentally.
A great group of 16 from Sweden now. Lots of laughter and they are loving New Zealand.
Today was Te Anau to Milford Sounds including a cruise, then back to Queenstown.
Enjoy my little video of the cheeky Kea today. The worlds only mountain parrot and unique to New Zealand

http://www.peterandxiaoli.com

Another tour over and one starting Monday!

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Christchurch rest time/sleep time

This morning I slept until 10.30am. Not like me as I am a morning person. But even now as I write this brain seems lethargic.

The great thing was I booked a motel far away from everything including some of my last tour guests who have stayed on. Monday I start the next 14 day tour. I needed this time out to let the body recover. Tours started early November with just a 5 day break mid December. And the body is saying its tired. Mentally and physically.

My tour just completed the group were great. I couldn’t have asked for better and they got on well as a group the whole 18 days. And I know already the reviews I will get as a guide are going to be great which is always rewarding.

Yesterday I bought myself a new cell phone. My 5 year old Samsung which was a hand me down from Xiaoli required regular rebooting to keep it going. I should have bought a new one earlier but I hate spending money on phones. Refused to buy top of the line but I assured the Samsung A5 I bought is well advanced on my antiquated phone I was using. Its taken me all morning to programme in wechat, Instagram, emails etc etc but I believe I have finally conquered it.

The memory on the previous phone was always full regardless of cleaning it out daily. It was frustrating. I cant believe I have waited this long to update. And Xiaoli has had 3 new ones since this one was donated to me.

The computer for whatever reason is not allowing me to load my USB sticks with photographs. Maybe like me its just tired. It meant I couldn’t give my previous tour party my photographs so today I need try figure out what the issue is. Reality its probably just me pushing wrong buttons.

A computer buff on my tour just completed has recommended I look at ‘lightroom’ software for making my movies end of tour. I had been using Picasa. So I need look at that.

And now Xiaoli has volunteered my services to book rooms for another tour guide because he is to busy on tour. I guess she feels I am not busy or maybe better able to multi task. Women, you cant live with them and you cant live without them!

Today amongst numerous other things, I have studied my agenda for the tour starting Monday. One horrific day of 520km which will be hard on me and the group. But I guess the consultant that planned the tour thinks its achievable. Just not going to be much stopping or in my case tour guide talking.

February 18 tours are complete for me for this current tour season. Finally I will get back home and put feet up for a while. And then it will be time to start our own marketing for Peter and Xiaoli Tours for the 2018/19 tour season. Maybe some new tour routes. Well, modified from the past, so not entirely new. Add some new activities and walks I have discovered this tour season. And start the search for some new overseas agents we can work with. Last year we did the push into China and I know business will come from that. Maybe for the 2018/19 season we look at pushing into the European market. Time will tell. In the to hard basket right now

The photos – a few memories from the just completed 18 day tour

http://www.peterandxiaoli.com

A driver, a tour guide and now a bus mechanic!

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A tour guide, a driver and now a bus mechanic!

What was always going to be a very long day became a day my group are all raving about.

Departure 8am from Nelson. First stop Hope Lookout 1 hour south of Nelson. A quick 15 minute stop for photography plus for those needing a toilet to use the rather pungent long drop toilet. Apparently today not as bad as I have known it to be but full of bees. They had been warned!

Go to get in the bus and no electrics. Totally dead. Damn!

Phone the consultant who the bus belongs to and they instruct me to drive it to the nearest workshop. Yeah right! Its dead!

They have a mechanic phone me and he has a brainwave. Check the battery connections. Now that I had thought of to but the very limited tool kit has 20 suitcases packed in front of it. Bugger! Unload the 20 suitcases. Access the very limited tool kit. Climb over the drivers seat to get to where the battery is as the drivers door needs electrics. I over rode that part but open the door and we are invaded with bumble bees. So work in an oven to unscrew the bolts holding the battery cover on. Low and behold the positive wire is not on the terminal. Bugger!

Worse, it was obvious the terminal to connect it had somewhat shrunk which I found out next stop meant it had been shorting for quite a while. So I could not attach the positive lead so one of the group I asked hop in the drivers seat why I hold the lead on. We got it started so all hop in and we head for Murchison.

A drama start to the day. A mechanic in Murchison packs behind the lead so it connects with a caution warning but hopefully it will last the tour.

The stop Murchison was obviously longer than planned so by now with the breakdown we are over 1 hour behind time.

Lunch in Westport. A beautiful café/bar. Slow on service but to be fair they never expected a bus group to pull up for a late lunch.

On to Cape Foulwind. A very hot day so I warned all to put more sunblock on. All completed the walk fine why I devoured an ice cream at the other end. I had checked out the Tauranga Bay seal colony. Not that many there but I think most mums were out at sea as there were many seal pups.

On to the Pancake Rocks. All are starting to look weiry and a little burnt but all still did the walk.

Next stop not on the original agenda was Monteiths Brewery. My addition. Everybody appreciated and partook in the beer tasting.

Final arrival Hokitika 2 hours later than intended at 7.30pm but a very happy group.

For me I am exhausted. Cut my head open getting at the battery. Cut my arm on who knows what.

Tomorrow in theory an easy day. A slow start Hokitika why the group look at greenstone. Then down to the glaciers finishing tomorrow night at Fox Glacier. We all need an easy day

http://www.peterandxiaoli.com