Following all of my exciting adventures


Balfour Backyard Beauties 2017

Considering we’re in the middle of summer here, there’s been a distinct lack of car-related events happening – or maybe I’ve just skipped a few. I must admit that I’ve kind of been trying to take things a little bit easier this year, with a couple of serious trips on the cards – which will mean fewer smaller trips.

I’ve also been throwing some coin at the old XR5, with just under $1000 worth of parts and repairs in the last week or so. Nothing serious, but just general parts that had met their used-by dates:

  • A pair of rear shock absorbers $382.23
  • A pair of replacement tyres for the front of the car $360
  • A set of rear brakepads $58.59
  • A brake cylinder compressor tool $36.99
  • Warrant of fitness check and inspection of stored fault codes, ABS unit etc. $141.94

The car is due for a wheel alignment at some stage when I find the time to take it in, as well as a rear rim that I want “straightened” after a pot-hole incident.

Fast forward to yesterday (Sunday) and we decided we’d go to Balfour and attend the Backyard Beauties car/bike/machinery show. We’ve had some pretty terrible weather this summer, so it was good to get an hour or so north of Invercargill and have some semi-decent weather.


Leaving Invercargill just after 9am, we cruised up via Winton. Traffic was pretty steady as Invercargill had just finished hosting the World Shearing Champs and I guess a lot of competitors were driving through to Queenstown airport. We did catch a few leaving town later in the afternoon as we returned home too.

We met at Nathan’s house. XR4i Sierra and with Nathan in his GT Corolla. Nathan’s car was proudly sporting his new personalised license plats ‘GTAE82’, a replacement for his 30th Birthday present!


Mk2-Escort-Sport Mk2-Cortina Mk1-Capri

An brief assortment of classic Fords – including a neat little yellow Mk2 Escort Sport, a rare Mk2 Ford Cortina GTE and a Mk1 Capri.


My “pick” of the show. A stunningly-restored Mk2 Jaguar. I’ve got a big soft spot for the MK2 and can admit that I’ll likely end up with one in my collection one day… The one pictured above was perfect on just about every level – look at the detail in that interior. Amazing!


Rear-Audi-R8 Audi-R8-V10-Engine Audi-R8

I had a bit of a count of the post 90s cars in attendance and managed to count five vehicles. The above Audi was one of those. Had a bit of a look around it and took a few photos as it’s the first one I’ve seen in-person. I should have taken the Fiesta – with a guaranteed prize for people’s choice for post-90s – it would have been pretty good odds!


An assortment of vehicles pictured above that took my fancy. As you can see, it was varied – from Australian, American, British to German vehicles in attendance!

We left Balfour mid-afternoon and travelled home via Gore, where we stopped to get chocolate-dipped ice creams. Overall, a pretty solid day out.

Next weekend, we’ve got ‘Classic Speedfest’, at Teretonga in Invercargill. Sounds like there’s 230+ classic race cars entered, so we may have to park a temporary vehicle in our usual spectator area to secure the spot. Stay tuned, it’s bound to be a good one!



Visiting Kelso, the ghost town

Capri Kilometers:

XR5 Kilometers:

I’ve decided in my infinite wisdom, to give the poor Capri a bit of a break for a few months. As of today (4th January 2017), it’s no longer road legal and requires a WOF (Warrant of Fitness) to verify that it’s legally safe to drive on New Zealand roads. It needs some very minor work done before it’ll pass this time, so I have decided not to rush the job and give the old girl a bit of a rest, as I have other cars that I don’t do enough kilometers in anyway.

Before locking the old girl up for a while, I decided to do an afternoon trip through to an old ghost town, called Kelso, in Otago. The route we took wasn’t exactly the quickest or smoothest, but covered some roads that we don’t typically drive on. We ended up bringing the car home earlier than expected, due to some mechanical noises from the rear that I wasn’t exactly keen on hearing. Guess that’s something else I’ll need to look at before I put it back on the road. On the return trip home, I did pull into the forecourt of the closed petrol station in Tapanui to examine the underside of the car to see if I could spot the noise, while trying to stay out of the pouring rain. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything that “appeared” to be broken – at least to the naked eye.

When we arrived in Kelso, I was struck by just how little of the town remained. On the main road, there are couple of sign boards and a monument depicting the flood levels for each of the separate floods that have occurred in Kelso. Further down the road, there is also a war memorial (however, I haven’t got a decent picture of this).

Kelso was originally wasteland between the Crookston Burn and the Pomahaka River, which converged on the gorge below the village. It was originally surveyed in 1865 and settled in 1878. Over the next thirty years, the town grew considerably. Aided by the additional of a railway line in 1881. The sign says that Kelso’s heyday was around 1900, with the town comprising of:

  • Two hotels
  • Bakehouse
  • Fish shop
  • Foundry
  • Saddlery
  • Flour mill (driven by a windmill)
  • Two butcher shops
  • Station agency
  • Black smith
  • Fellmongery
  • Three carpenters, each with their own timber yards
  • Bootmaker
  • Doctor
  • Dentist
  • Masseur (who was also a vet)
  • Stock doctor
  • Church
  • Dairy Factory

It was interesting reading about Dunnet’s Hotel. Originally called the Railway Hotel, it was built for Charles Dunnet in 1881. The hotel was taken over by Robert Leask (his cousin that he and his wife had raised) after his death, in 1910. Robert Leask renamed it to the Temperance Hotel and continued to run it until his own death in 1953. Once he passed, it was sold out of the family and within a couple of years had been demolished. My great-grandfather was also called Robert Leask, however, I don’t believe it’s the same man. I’ll have to ask my grandfather next time I’m on the phone to him!

Originally there was a flood in 1903, but the township still kept plodding along. Then in 1978, they had the flood that they called the ‘100 year flood’. Presumably they assumed it was one of those occasions that was likely to happen only once every hundred years. A flood relief fund was setup for the community after this, which allowed a lot of the town to get back on their feet.

Only two years later, in 1980, the town flooded yet again. They aptly referred to this as the ‘2nd hundred year flood’. Pretty original, huh? The remaining money from this fund was used to help relocate a lot of the houses and buildings away from Kelso, as the community up and left. They mention that the old post office, which was opened in 1954 was moved to Lawrence after the flood. My next planned trip will take me through Lawrence, so I’ll have a peruse around and see if I can find it.

Views of the main road of Kelso. Note that the area is mainly just farmland now.

A picture of the one lone shed that you can see from the main road.

I tiki-toured around one of the back streets and found the site for the old school. When I say old school, it was their ‘new’ school, which was build between 1950 – 1951. The school was refurbished after the 1980 flood, but a referendum was held about future flooding and the school was then closed. As you can see in the four photos above, there isn’t much left except for a little shed and small fenced area surrounding it.

There were two or three little ramshackle properties on a street behind the school, which still look like they’re inhabited. It’d be a nice and peaceful place for a summer holiday, I bet.

The only other building that was still standing was the old Kelso Dairy Factory. The building still looks like it’s structurally sound, even if it has seen years of neglect. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get inside as the building was surrounded by what appeared to be an electric fence. I wasn’t game enough to try and a couple of other ladies that were looking at it too weren’t all that keen either!

I pulled into a paddock a little bit further along from the Dairy Factory, to see if we could get access to the creek that ran along the back. The trees and undergrowth around it was too severe that we couldn’t get to it. Mind you, the field did provide a good photo opportunity for the old Capri.

I drove along to a bridge that crosses the Pomahaka river, so that I could get a couple of shots. I wouldn’t say that the river was extremely close to the town – as it would have been a good half-a-kilometer down the road, which surprised us as to how it could have flooded so severely. One of the photos shows the embankment and the water level is currently quite low, especially considering we have had a bit of rain recently. For water to rise to the extreme level that it did back in 1978 and 1980, it must have been treacherous rain.

We then drove around and up the back (or front, depending on how you look at it) of Kelso, as I was hoping to get a shot of the town. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get across some private farmland – so Kelso (which I had my back to in these photos), isn’t pictured. It wasn’t long after I took this shot, that we were in unbearable rain. I had my wipers on full and couldn’t drive faster than 60kph!

It was an interesting day, learning a lot about a thriving town that once existed in the area.

Stay tuned for my next update!

Belated Birthday Post

Fiesta Kilometers:


I apologise for the lateness of this post, as it should have arrived shortly after my trip away on the 17th of December, to celebrate my birthday as I edge closer to retirement. Pity I’ve still got such a long way to go!

For my birthday, I decided it’d be good to do some family bonding & convinced my Dad and my younger brother, Ryan, into a trip to the new indoor karting facility in Frankton, that we hadn’t been to before. The place in question, is called ‘Game Over’ and has a fleet of electric karts, which provide instant torque – even if they don’t quite have the noise of a traditional kart.

It’s around 400 kilometers to Queenstown & back, so helped to bring the Fiesta closer to the 15,000 kilometer service that I had scheduled in the week before Christmas. I’ve taken some time off over the Christmas period & knew that I wanted to do a few more ks in the car, so needed to get the service out of the way.


Dad wanted to stop at the Hunny Shop on the way, so he could purchase his “expensive” honey for his morning toast! We followed a Ute on the way into Frankton which advertised a meat shop… Good slogan guys!

HoneyShop2 EatMyMeat

It was about a half hour wait before we could get on the track, so watched some of other people race around first – learning the fastest & slowest lines. We ended up raced with another husband & wife couple that were there at the same time and had a hoot. It was great fun & I managed to get the quickest time out of our group with my best lap time being a 29.579.

KartingIndoors Karting

Somone else’s POV video

Just outside Game Over, there was a large Farmer’s Market being held, with an assortment of foods & other hand-crafted goods. I ended up purchasing some home-made soaps for both my Grandmothers for Christmas.

By this stage, it was a bit after twelve & we couldn’t be bothered waiting in any huge lines for lunch. We ended up taking the easy option and dining at the local Burger King. While there, I spotted a superb E-Type Jaguar and a Saab limo.

FiestaCarpark ETypeJag SaabLimo

After lunch, we drove over to Arrowtown to have a bit of a look around, before stopping at my favourite Ice Cream shop – Patagonia. Their double chocolate is to die for!


After that, we cruised back home, enjoying the decent weather and scenery. Below is a picture to show the updated Frankton bridge. Work over the last six months has been rather tedious, but it looks as though they’re finally making decent progress. Got to say, I’m looking forward to the bridge finally being completed, so we won’t have to use the rickety old one-laner anymore.


In other news, I had the rear windows tinted in the Fiesta:

BeforeTint AfterTint

The brake booster in the Chrysler failed too – leaking front & rear seals, as well as the diaphragm. With all the major places in town unable to locate replacement parts, it ended up spending some time at BNT (Brakes and Transmission) in Invercargill. The team managed to Frankenstein some parts together and get it re-kitted – they even re-painted the unit, so it looked like new. It wasn’t a hard job to get the booster on and off the car, just tedious as a few of the inside bolts proved to be in rather awkward locations – meaning plenty turns of the spanner to get it off. My back was killing my by the end of it!

300BrakeBooster 300BrakeBoosterFitted 300Outside

Stay tuned for an end-of-year roundup in the next day or so, of everything I missed covering with the blog. Now I’ve got a few weeks off work too, I’ll also be working on other content for the website. Finally.



McLaren Hunting

Fiesta Kilometers:


With a little over 3 million people in New Zealand, we don’t exactly see a huge number of exotic, high performance vehicles on public roads. So when you get the chance to go for a quick Saturday blast to see some spectacular supercars, you jump at the chance.

Nathan, Robbie & I departed Invercargill early on Saturday morning, with our destination being Glenorchy. Original plans for the day were to take Nathan’s most recent purchase – a TRD Supercharged Camry. One of ten cars produced by Toyota New Zealand. Makes it rarer than half the cars we were going to see. As Nathan’s Camry had already been for a decent drive the day before, we settled on taking Rob’s Corolla GT-i. No doubt we’ll have another trip in the TRD Camry in the future.


From the media announcement, we knew that at some stage during the day, we were likely to see a group of the cars end up there. It’s about a six hour drive from Invercargill to Glenorchy and back, totalling 466-odd kilometers. The drive around the outside of Lake Wakatipu is a really scenic one and provides some nice driving roads, which is why the McLaren group decided to drive them. It’s tourist central this time of year though, so too much fun can’t be had when you’re held up behind rental cars, campers and buses.


Arriving around midday, we took a tiki-tour around Glenorchy and couldn’t spot any exotics, so decided we’d head to the local pub for lunch. I assumed by the ‘closed for private function’ sign at the local cafe, that the McLaren owners were pre-booked for either lunch or afternoon tea. The pub is part of the local hotel and had a number of tourists inside having lunch. I wasn’t feeling too hungry, so settled on the wedges with bacon and sour cream. The plate was too hot to touch!

Just as we were finishing our meal, we spotted some McLaren’s filing past outside, so quickly rushed the rest of our food down and went outdoors.

McLarenLineup McLaren570S

There was an Audi RS3 acting as the lead car of the tour. Guessing it’s owned by a dealership in the North Island? First time I’ve seen an RS3 in person. Can’t say I’m a huge fan of the ‘Nardo Grey’ paintwork on it, but it’s basically the luxury hot hatch meant to compete with the Mercedes A45 AMG. At $104,900NZD, it’s not the cheapest car in the world. Wouldn’t complain if I had one in my fleet, though.

AudiRS3 AudiRS3Rear

Have to say, I’m a massive fan of the 675LT, so did spent a lot of time looking this one over. Ignore the stickers plastered all over the vehicles, as they were part of the ‘tour’ graphics and weren’t exactly flattering…

McLaren675LT McLaren675LTFrontMcLaren675LTSide

A few of the other cars, including a 570S, 650S & MP4-12C. While we were looking at some of the cars, a random guy was being shouted at by his wife to basically ‘get a move on’. As he headed her way, we heard him tell her “I was looking at the Lamborghinis”. I think everyone listening had a good laugh at the poor bloke!

McLaren650S McLaren570S McLaren570S (2) McLarenTyres McLarenMP4-12C McLaren650SBlack

I loved the Mercury Red MP4-12C with the silver wheels & black interior. A great colour combination. I had a chat with the owner & even managed to get a cheeky photo behind the wheel.

RedMcLarenMP4-12C (2) RedMcLarenMP4-12C AdamMcLaren

A 570GT was also sitting over the back by itself & presented a pretty cool photo opportunity with the mountains in  the background.

McLaren570GT1 McLaren570GT2 McLaren570GTSide

The big news of the day was the McLaren F1, valued at approximately $22,000,000NZD, ending up in a ditch at the side of the road. The car had left the road as they were travelling from Queenstown to Glenorchy. One of the other McLaren owners was saying that he suspected the car would be shipped back to the UK, so that McLaren could fix the car themselves. When we went past the accident scene, it looks as though the driver had locked the car up after an over-correction. If it wasn’t so low, I’m sure he could have backed the car out of the ditch. Police had the scene under control by the time we went past and the flatbed truck with hiab was only about a minute out.


As if the embarrassment of losing control of your car isn’t enough, the police have now also charged the owner with careless driving. Poor buggar!

Click here for the full article.

We also had to get a shot of Rob’s GTi lined up with some McLarens.


Great day out with some cars we’ll probably never see here again.

Fiesta update, upcoming events & other happenings

After nearly four months of ownership, I’m loving the Fiesta ST. If you’ve seen or read any reviews on the car, all of the rumours are true. The car is phenomenal to drive, especially on a tight, technical piece of road. I mean, I guess we’re pretty darn lucky with the roads we have here in New Zealand, that most are pretty well sealed and traffic isn’t that bad. After spending a night reading the owner’s manual, I discovered that if I tap the ‘traction control’ button, it will put the car into sport mode. Holding the button down completely will take the traction control off (well, as far as Ford will let you). If I’m out having a bit of a spirited drive, I find that the sport setting is so much better than having the car in its normal mode. Sport mode seems to stop the car from trimming the corner quite as tight, and as such, will let the car rotate around the corner a little more.

Last week, I celebrated the 8000 kilometer rollover (albeit, digital rollover).


What has surprised me most about the car?

  1. The bluetooth Sony stereo in the car. As far as factory systems go, this thing is pretty impressive. I spend most of my time listening to podcasts (Everyday Driver) & audio books, but even when I turn on some classical rock, it keeps up.
  2. The keyless entry system. It’s a delight not having to try and find your fob in your pocket to unlock the car – especially when it’s the same fob as my XR5. I always seem to pull the wrong one out of my pocket. Just walk up, push the button on the door handle & you’re in.
  3. The fuel economy. I’ll post an image below, but the car just keeps getting and better. I think in the coming weeks, I should see around 700kms per tank.
  4. The ease of driving. Mixture of the electric steering, light gear change & predictable clutch, the ST is a breeze to hop into and get going.

What don’t I like about the car?

  1. The window switches. I have had to re-program these a number of times already. For some reason, they’ll program themselves up, so that I can’t get a window more than half-down or can’t make it stay up. Guess I’m the cause of this, but I’m not doing it on purpose. It’s just frustrating!
  2. The rev-matching feature nobody talks about. It’s not what you think. It matches (or holds onto) the revs on the up-changes. I usually jump from 3rd straight to 6th gear, however, once dipping the clutch, the car will still be revving at 3 grand. You then have to hold your foot on the clutch for a few seconds before the revs decide to die. It’s now meaning I’m rowing through all the gears – so much more work!
  3. The honeycomb grill at the front & back. A mission to clean!

I have a few weekends away in the next month or two – with a trip to Christchurch for round 2 of the South Island Endurance Series, round 3 in Timaru & then 50 years of the Waimate 50. The three are all decent car events, so I’ll get some goods shots & footage hopefully. By the time you throw in some other car shows or trips, a weekend spent watching the Bathurst 1000 on television and a few rounds of golf, my schedule is pretty full. I have adjusted my schedule for Timaru though & will be driving home late on the Saturday night, so that I can attend the Southland Festival of Running on the Sunday. I’m undecided on the distance that I’ll run yet, but the half-marathon sounds more likely – considering it’s likely I won’t be home ’till midnight!

Our neighbour, Noel, who lives a few doors down, turned up in a Rolls Royce the other day. The roller was originally owned by a guy that lived down Tokonui way, so it’s still fairly close to home. Considering the size of the engine, it was silky smooth and hardly made a sound. A very impressive old machine!

Roller1 Roller2 RollerEngine

In other news, the poor Capri is out of action. I went to move it from the internal garage, to the shed and as I pulled it into reverse, the gear lever snapped clean off in my hand. Luckily, I was in the drive & managed to just push the car back in into the garage. I’ve since had to pull the centre console apart & unbolt the shifter from under the car. I dropped it off to my friend Ricky, who’s an engineer. He reckons he’ll be able to weld it back together. Fingers crossed, as I haven’t been able to locate a decent replacement anywhere! Aaaaah, the joys of classic car ownership!


I have another blog post in the works, where I’ll be doing a ‘Mazda’ feature. Should be something a bit different.


Pictured above is my fuel mileage. As I stated earlier, the car just keeps getting better and better mileage. I also have a walkaround of the Fiesta planned – I actually need to do a tyre rotation before my trip this weekend, so might do it after I’ve rotated tyres & clean her up.

Stay tuned & stay safe out there!


Catlins Coast Rally 2016

XR5 Kilometers:


Saturday 6th August marked the 2016 Catlins Coast Rally. For the last few years, I’ve made an effort to go and support the talented individuals that run in this event. For 2016, the rally had been shortened down to six stages – cutting back quite a few of the special stages – including the usually great spectating stage back in Balclutha.

It was a laid-back start this year, leaving town at 8am. We had stopped to collect Subway for lunch, as that way we wouldn’t have to try and make it into one of the local shops in a massive rush and could eat between stages.

The first stage we wanted to spectate at was stage two, which was starting around 10am. By the time the first car would get to the stage, it would be well after that – so assuming we didn’t hit any traffic, we’d easily be there in time.


Just like 2014, we hit snow along the way. Only difference was, this time I had chosen to pilot the XR5, rather than take a 4-wheel drive. Pics below show 2014 & 2016 respectively.

Catlins2014 1

With 89 vehicles participating this year, it was a great sized field and provided for some fantastic entertainment during the day. It did seem like there were considerable sized spectator crowds this year, this could have been due to everyone congregating at the same stages since there were only six stages run?

I had a dabble with the DSLR and managed to snap a few shots!

IMG_7989 IMG_7694 IMG_7670 IMG_7660 IMG_7656 IMG_7636 IMG_8020

With a surprising end to the rally, Vaughan Edie won the rally in his Mitsubishi EVO 8. I work with Vaughan, but haven’t managed to congratulate him on his very impressive win yet!


As always, I had a great day out and spent a good chunk of the day waffling with random strangers – a few of which I hope to make contact with again in the future. In particular, I met a guy on stage six – the final stage of the day – who was taking photographs of Ford Escorts. We got chatting and he was a very passionate car fanatic – with a number of Fords, Volkswagens and Porsches in his collection of cars. He even gave me a tour of his brand new 2016 Ford Focus RS which he had only taken delivery of earlier in the week. The car was filthy after spending most of the day accessing the remote spectator spots!

IMG_8132 IMG_8129

It was after five when we left stage six and departed back for Invercargill. I managed to stop half-way home and grab a shot of the XR5 just as the sun was setting. Looking forward to next year!


Maiden Voyage: Part Two

Closing Kilometers: 3000kms

There was a segment on the news a few months ago that highlighted there was no longer a cop in Karamea and the locals were outraged. They believed that crime was low in the area due to the presence of their local officer. They then flashed up an image of the area, and I noticed how spectacular the road was.


So, what more can I say? The road was spectacular! A great piece of twisty, secluded roads that were sealed to perfection. The scenery was pretty stellar as well.

SceneryKaramea RoadToKaramea

Without traveling on gravel roads, it was a trip back down the same road. Another few great hours of driving ahead!


The next destination was Hanmer Springs, a little town in the centre of the Island. Hanmer is known for it’s hot-springs (natural hot pools) and is a big holiday destination, both for New Zealand citizens as well as overseas tourists. I stopped in at the local convenience store and got chatting with one of the checkout operators. She said it was super busy today as they were having an open day at the old hospital, to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the opening on the hospital. Turns out Queen Mary’s Hospital was opened in 1916 as a place to treat wounded soldiers after World War One. It’s one of the most historic buildings in that part of the country, which rumour has it, may be redeveloped and turned into accommodation.

HanmerCarPark HanmerMainStreet

Above are a couple of pictures of the ST hanging out in Hanmer during the time we spent there.

The next stage of the journey was down to Christchurch. The company I work for owns a set of motels in Christchurch and I had an odd-assortment of tech jobs to do while I was on-site. As we were heading through to Christchurch, my friend Nathan suggested it was worthwhile taking a slight detour if we had time. He said to leave Hanmer and turn left, heading to a section of road called the ‘Arctic Triangle’. We weren’t sure what to expect, but he had led us onto a magnificent piece of road that ran around Mt Lyford. I believe this was the first time I’ve ever seen a marked 15kph speed signed marked on a road – it was one of the tightest switchbacks I think I’ve come across – not to mention the 30-odd one lane bridges! The road brought us back out at Kaikoura, which provided another nice scenic drive along the other coast of New Zealand. Never thought I’d have a coast-to-coast run in the same post!


Next on the hit-list was to visit another location I had always wanted to drive to, but never had the time or need to go there. This trip I had nothing but time, and an excuse to go there – just for the drive. It was a remarkable little town called Akaroa. I managed to get a couple of shots at the crack of dawn and the traffic was minimal, so we had plenty of fun. I will return to Akaroa in the future, with plans to stay in the quaint little inlet town for a few days next time!

Akaroa2 Akaroa1

I should include a mapping of the road:


We then left Akaroa to go and visit some family in another little town called Temuka. They’re big petrol heads and were keen on seeing the car and hearing about our journey so far. The highlight of the trip was when Uncle Murray went a pulled out an assortment of his old photos. Below is a picture of his Ferrari Dino, which he held a speed record with down in Invercargill. He had a laugh when he told us that prior to the picture being taken, he had just rallied the car. He said at the time nobody thought anything of it – it was just a Dino. Betcha this makes people cringe now though.


Rather than driving the main roads home, we decided that we’d tiki-tour and go through a place called Waimate. I’ll be back in Waimate later this year, as they hold a massive motoring event called the Waimate 50 every year. This year it’ll be 50 years of the Waimate 50, so it sounds like they have big plans. Nearly 350kms of road, we got to venture past some massive dams, including the notable Benmore Dam. This road even took us over the Lindis Pass – a treacherous road in the winter that I’m sure has been victim to many a rental-vehicle. It’s one of the massive roads frequented by tourists.

A stop at the River Cafe for an afternoon ice cream.


OpenRoad InsideST TemukaQueenstown

This led us into Queenstown, the tourist destination of the South Island. It’s got scenery for days and with it only being a few hours away, is a place we visit and holiday in regularly. First picture was heading into Queenstown, with the signpost to Invercargill on the way South and finally the one-way bridge to go home. They’re in the process of building a new bridge, can’t wait!

EnteringQT HeadingSouth NewBridgeFrankton

The road from Queenstown to Kingston includes a section of road called the ‘Devil’s Staircase’. I vividly remember reading a newspaper article that my great-grandmother had back when she was still alive, of the road being carved into the side of the mountain. At that stage, the road was gravel only and took many hours to make the trek. Today, it’s two-lane and takes only 30-40 minutes.

QueenstownInvercargill DevilsStaircase

And that summed up the first major trip away in the Fiesta. Upon returning home, I swapped the dealership for my Mondeo, which had been happily tucked away getting a service. I think the service delivery manager was stunned that the Fiesta needed its first service already. It’s not due for another one now until 20,000kms – but I personally think that’s pushing a little bit too far, so I’ll have it in slightly sooner than that.

Plenty of articles to come, including detailed fuel costs (for those nerds that like that stuff) and I’m going to do a walk-around & try to do a POV driving video. Stay tuned & stay safe out there!

Maiden Voyage: Part One

After taking the ST home for the night, preparing and packing the car for the following day, I tried to get a decent night sleep. At 7am, I pulled the car out of the garage and we hit the road. It was going to be a bit of a long day ahead, with the goal to reach Nelson by the end of the day – the other end of the Island! Dad had booked accommodation the night before, so we knew we needed to be there. The plan was to arrive by around 8pm in Nelson, get checked in at the Motel and then try to find ourselves some dinner.


As we’re in the middle of winter, we had some pretty wet and miserable weather on the first leg of our journey. A few hours in and the sun was out, providing enjoyable driving conditions – even if the car was filthy by this stage.

We stopped in Timaru for fuel and a quick bite at the attached Burger King, before changing drivers and continuing on our trip. We regularly drive the Invercargill to Christchurch route, so the plan was just to get to Nelson on this leg – no sight-seeing intended.

I jumped back into the driver’s seat an hour or two out of Nelson, so that I could capture the 1000 kilometer rollover. By this stage, I was driving in the dark and shortly after taking the photograph had around 40 minutes of a gorge to drive in the pouring rain. Dad was laughing as there was a Diahatsu Materia in front of us that I was struggling to keep pace with. The only explanation is that he must have known the road like the back of his hand, as he was peddling it!


After checking into the Motel, we grabbed a Subway for dinner and settled in for the evening.

The next morning our plans included a visit to NZ Classic Motorcycles and then a trip to the World of Wearable Arts & Classic Car Museum. The Classic Motorcycle collection was officially closed to the public, as the business had been sold – which is why we were going there. Dad’s work had purchased the complete collection (bar a handful of bikes) and Dad needed to see how the current place was run, so he could advise what technical infrastructure needed set up in Invercargill so the collection could be presented in the current format.

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Excuse the poor cellphone images. I wasn’t expecting to be able to get any photos inside, so had left the DSLR in the boot of the car. As you can see above, the bikes were stacked three-high in racks, which from the ground floor, meant you struggled to see the top bike. This made sense when you went up to the second floor though, as the bikes were then at eye-height.

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Loved the bright-yellow Morgan three wheeler and the presentation of bikes on a “fake” racetrack. The owner of the collection also owns a lighting shop, as well as a wallpaper shop, so all of the decorative backgrounds are all wallpaper!

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He had also made a small library on the top floor, with fold-out couch – just incase he decided to sleep there one night. There were also some really cool motorbike-inspired bucket chairs that I LOVED!

After sorting out everything involved, we had morning tea in the staffroom with a few of the employees who entertained us with some interesting histories on the bikes and place in general.

We then visited the World of Wearable Arts & Classic Car Museum. I wasn’t particularly interested in the Wearable Arts, but the Car Museum was up my alley. Pulling up outside the building, we were presented with a very tidy Honda NSX. A good way to welcome guests to your collection.


We then spent the next couple of hours wandering through assortment of vehicles, before having the briefest of glances at the Wearable Arts.

An interesting piece of artwork down one of the corridors. Think I’d like a copy of this for the lounge at home!


The collection is housed in an old car assembly plant – the last manufacturer being Honda.

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A lot of the time, it’s more about the history behind the car than the actual car itself. This was why I loved this 1930 Cadillac. At the time, this was a very extravagant vehicle. I’m sure the V-16 made the car perform relatively well, however, the sheer size of the car may have hampered this. It was brought by Jack Newman in 1933 and converted to right-hand drive before it was shipped to New Zealand. The car was used by the family for a number of years, before being used to ferry dignitaries around, and then was used to ferry tourists around. The car was sold by the Newmans in the 1940s and has had a very interesting life since. At one stage it was used as the school “bus” in the Waipukarau area!


Below is a picture of the back shed, which had cars crammed in. Not being part of the main collection, meant that they didn’t have any history written up.


Some of my favourites:

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It was after two when we decided we better get a move on, stopping at a local dairy for sandwiches, pies & Diet Cokes. The weather outside was looking pretty miserable and I didn’t want to do another gorge in the dark with torrential downpour, especially since we had nearly 300 kilometers yet to travel.


About ten kilometers or so out of Greymouth, we took a stop to see the old Brunner Mine.

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The mine was on the other side of Grey River, and was originally accessed by the suspension bridge (pictured above). I love these old suspension bridges, I remember going to see the Clifden one a couple of years ago when we were tripping in the Sierra – maybe I’ll do a recap of this old adventure on day. Amazing that these bridges were built long before trucks, cranes and powertools! Amazing engineering feats.

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The Brunner Mine was originally a coal mine, which peaked production in mid 1880s. The main mine ended up closing in 1906 where they had worked the seam “practically to daylight”. There are still many mines in the area still producing though – my old Mk3 Mondeo Zetec was purchased new by one of the mines in the area and used by the manager.

In 1896 there was a massive disaster and 65 guys lost their lives. There was a statue erected and there are plaques around listing the people from neighbouring mines that have also lost their lives. Most recently being the Pike River disaster in 2010, when 29 miners lost their lives.


It was just after taking this photo that the rain started and we had to make a mad dash for the car. We cruised the remaining ten kilometers and checked into our Hotel for the night.

Stay tuned, part two coming soon!

Arrival & Collection of my Fiesta ST

Fiesta ST opening kilometers:


As I’m sure most of you are aware, I ordered my Fiesta ST back at the end of 2015. Fast forward to the 3rd June 2016 and my car arrived in Invercargill. By this stage, I was a little excited and as I had the VIN number for the car, had been tracking the progress. I can even say that on the Thursday afternoon I jumped into the XR4 and drove 75kms out of town to see if I could spot the transporter on the road. In the end, the vehicle was delivered to my dealership in the early hours of Friday morning.

I flicked the salesman an email and queried him on the arrival around 8am. He replied within minutes and told me that once they had the car checked in and had looked it over for damage, he’d give me a ring and I could come and see it. At that stage he wasn’t even aware it had arrived!


It was a wet and miserable day, so I bravely faced the weather and got a couple of shots while trying not to get too damp. We agreed that with the long weekend (as Monday was a public holiday), that they would have the car roadworthy and ready for collection on the Wednesday afternoon. I wasn’t too concerned, as I was away in Timaru for the weekend on the previously blogged British weekend.

Wednesday finally arrived and I collected the beast. Macaulay Ford always do a pretty good job of presenting customers with their new vehicles, and this time was no exception. When I arrived the vehicle was covered by a large red silk cloth. I got to stand and watch as the Fiesta was “unveiled” in the showroom!


Hopefully I’ll be able to recreate the above photos in ten years with 500,000kms on the ST. Watch this space!

After having a brief run-down of the vehicle, I was on my way as the proud owner of my new ST. (I had already driven one about a year and a half earlier – as well as having spent some time in a couple of 1L EcoBoost Fiestas, so was already pretty familiar with all the controls).

On the trip home, I stopped and took a couple of shots with the only other known ST in Invercargill. I do prefer the lighter-silver wheels on the red ST. Thinking in the future that I’ll have mine powder-coated in a similar colour – or potentially buy another complete set of rims and tuck these ones in the back of the garage. I’ll have to see how much the dealership want for a set of plain silver wheels!


After that, I took the car home and packed it for it’s first official roadtrip on the Thursday morning. I’ll be writing a separate entry about the maiden voyage, so stay tuned.

Thanks for reading,


All British Day – Timaru 2016

It was our first time attending the annual South Cantebury All British Car Rally. Being held on Queen’s Birthday weekend, we had the Monday as a statutory holiday. Perfect opportunity to hit the open road and rack up some kilometers.

Nathan has been a few times before, so suggested that it was something we should attend. We agreed to a laid-back 9.30am start at his house, meaning we’d end up in Dunedin for a bit of lunch. Meeting at Nathan’s house, we collected some “extra” luggage that he couldn’t quite squeeze into his Mk4.


A 400 kilometer trip to Timaru, the five hour drive was pretty cruisy. We weren’t in any major panic and stopped a few times along the way for lunch, toilet breaks and petrol.

Up the next morning, we had to defrost the Sierra in the Hotel carpark and try and give the car a quick wash with some waterless wash in a bottle. For the three weeks proceeding this, in Invercargill, we had nothing but rain and miserable weather, so I was delighted. Meeting venue was the Caroline Bay Park carpark.


A couple of cars waiting to go on the cruise, including a yellow Mk2 Capri. A silver Mk1 Ford Escort, that got my vote as “car of the day” and a white Mk1 GT Cortina that looked mint.


A massive turnout of British vehicles, the organisers had only brought along 120 information/entry packs, so had to give another 20 vehicles just an A4 copy of the run sheet. Always good when the number of entries exceed what you had expected.

The organisers had two seperate runs organised, so depending which one was in your entry pack, depended on how you arrived at the final destination. In the driver’s briefing at the start of the day, they told us the destination for anyone who got lost along the way.

Dad & I are terrible with instructions, so we happily followed the vehicles that were heading on our route, which worked pretty well. There was only one slight mishap, where about five or six of us missed on of the turns and had to perform a U-turn to get ourselves back on track.

Our route utelised some fantastic roads, which neither Dad or I had driven in the past. It was about 100 kilometers, of which we have both agreed we will happily drive again next time we’re in the area.


We ended up at the Albury Hotel, where we could use the facilities, order some lunch and have a cold beverage. With the sun out, most people chose to sit outside on deck chairs or, like us, have a decent wander around the vehicles in attendance and chat with the owners that we met along the way. Pictured below are some interesting vehicles – a Consul Capri that had been tastefully restored. A Mk2 GTE Cortina, the owner daily drives a 2 Door GT Cortina, and a neat Mini with matching BBQ trailer, which they cooked their lunch on!

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A couple of shots of the cars parked up outside the Albury Hotel. We were parked with a number of other cars in another paddock behind the Hotel (not pictured).


The rally was all wound up by about three o’clock, so Nathan suggested we headed over to a small township called ‘Cave’ and see their historic Church. We enjoyed a few more of the roads in our convoy of three (stopping along the way for an Ice Cream) and pulled up to the impressive looking Church.

Pictures below are of our 1984 Ford Sierra XR4i, Nathan’s 1978 Mk4 2-door Cortina and Ian & Anna’s 1969 Mk2 GT Cortina in left-hand drive.

Our three year ownership of the Sierra was dwarfed by the extended ownership of Nathan’s car (25 years at the end of July) and Ian’s car (which he’s had for over 30 years). In 3o years time, we’ll still have the Sierra in our posession too – we love it that much!


Yours truly, pictured with the Sierra outside the Cave Church.


Ian’s Mk2 GT & Nathan’s Mk4 2 door on the drive home from Cave.


We cruised home from Timaru on the Monday, arriving back in Invercargill as the sun set. A great weekend away in some spectacular vehicles with some entertaining converstions. We’ll be back next year.