18 March 2014

New Zealand Adventure Part the Second

Day #8
Depart Queenstown bruised, battered, broken and broke having had a thoroughly awesome time. Drive to Dunedin and set up tent on the Otago Peninsula. Mother comes back from shop with chocolate, crisps and L&P. Legend. Remain in tent all day recovering. Much sleeping.

Day #9
Drive around Otago Peninsula to various eco attractions. All ridiculously over-priced. Try and spot as much wildlife across the fences for free as possible then leave. Manage to see albatross, seal and sea lion. Drive to Sandfly Bay. Very nervous due to the name but turns out not to be any sandflies there. Thank the heavens. Arrive at 7.15pm to try and spot the rare yellow eyed penguin. Wait two hours at far end of beach and only see them as we give up and return to the car. Adorable as fuck. Return to camp. Sleep

Day #10
Leave Otago Peninsula and head towards Twizel. Encounter a heritage drive along the way featuring unusual geological features dubbed elephant rocks, Maori cave paintings and ancient dolphin and whale fossils. The archaeologist in me has a rather spiffing time seeing the sights. Jolly good, what ho! Arrive at Twizel where a salmon and wine festival happens to be taking place. Jackpot. Late in the day so half price tickets. Double jackpot. Purchase tickets and little wine glass on a rope that comes with free drink vouchers. Meander, sip beverages and soak up the atmosphere. Continue on to Mt. Cook (NZ's highest mountain) village. Set up tent and stroll around. Decide to leave big walk until the next day. First mistake. Gales forecast for the following day. Decide to wait it out and see. Second mistake. 2am tent is being pushed flat against our faces with the wind and cover flapping in the gale. Tent pole snaps. Rain. Curse the sky all dramatic like and pile belongings into the car. Dismantle tent as best as we can and sleep in car. Rocked to sleep by gale force winds.

Elephant rocks

Mount Cook before it tried to kill us

Day #11
Wake feeling surprisingly rested. Turns out Ferdia's comfortable. Pack up broken tent in rain. Bid good riddance to Mt. Cook and and drive towards Christchurch. Stop for lunch on the way and find $10 in the grass. Thank you NZ, I forgive you I suppose... Check into motor camp in Christchurch suburb of Belfast. Hitch a lift to the pub from two lovely Germans. Very local tavern bar with incredibly talented pianist being completely ignored in the corner. Bartender informs us of a game played in the bar. Find a doll named Bill and win a free jug of beer. Maura finds him within two minutes but can't reach him. I pull him down and we collect free jug. Teamwork! Lucky day. NZ really trying to apologise for "Mt. Cook incident". Return to camp, dinner, sleep.

There's no escaping us Bill...

Drive to Hanmer Springs. Beautiful little alpine town with natural hot springs. Check into motor park and enjoy a pleasant stroll through town. Cool and overcast. Perfect day for the springs. Soak for two relaxing hours. Sun decides to say hello and the reflection on the water nearly blinds me. Leave with eyesight mostly intact and go into Monteith's brewery bar for beersies. Return to camp, dinner, sleep.

Day #13
Wake and throw together packed lunch. Drive to waterfall track car park and go hiking (or tramping as it's known in NZ) for a couple of hours. Then drive to Hanmer forest and choose another hiking track. Stop at the top of the hill for lunch. Return to motor camp all tramped out (he he he). Remark how we weren't bitten all day. Marvel at nearly healed sandfly bites. Fall asleep in tv room for half an hour. Bitten. Make burgers on the bbq. Bitten more. Fuck you sandflies!!! Curse your rotten souls. Watch Lord of the Rings in the tv room. Sleep.

Day #14
Pack up and drive to Kaikoura. Camp in shaded site up in a valley. Surrounding trees home to thousands of cicadas. Deafening noise, beautiful weather. Take a nap in the sun. Head into town for a stroll around and a pint in the Irish bar. Offered a job. Ha ha, I'm fine thanks. Return to cicada country. Dinner, wine, sleep.

And so ends part the second of my adventure in New Zealand. Number three coming soon!

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