Posts Tagged ‘whales


The Road trip

Mass panic on Friday the 8th of february, as we frantically try to load our remaining possessions into a toyota estate car, and a 1987 VW Golf Diesel called “Little T”. The T standing for the piece of agricultural transport that is sounds remarkable like (or sounded.. more on that later)
We had sold some of our furniture, and a removal company had come round on Wednesday and carefully loaded up about 8 cubic metres of stuff + two bikes, that we would not see until we got to Dunedin. This left us with a house full of stuff that we were convinced would fit into the two cars.
The initial confidence soon wavered, as the cards started to fill up, and more and more stuff was brought out. However, some re-arrangment, and the donation of a bean bag to our next door neighbour and we managed to get everything aboard. But then we remembered that we had to collect Sinead’s friend Roz, who was joining us on our road trip, together with any luggage that she may have.
Some further reorganising, and we were on our way.
Me and Bruce, my pet preying mantis set off in the old Golf, and set off down state Highway 1, figuring that if we made it over the Bombay hills (not a Curry House, but hills to the south of Auckland), then I would make it to our first destination – Taupo in the central North Island where we were meeting a few friends to do a man relay race.
Bruce was a matis that took up residence in our bathroom. He had problems shedding his skin, and so I fed him mosquitoes and adopted him as a pet. He is a South African import, so no issues with removing a native from the wild).
I made it over the hill, and parked up an hour or so south in Cambridge. Touring New Zealand is like ding a very crazy zig zag tour of the UK town names. Sinead and Roz soon followed.
Roz is our celebrity companion for the trip. She is an an an amazing lady who had the drive and determination to row solo across the Atlantic, and is now in the process of planning a cross pacific trip. She is very modest about her achievements, but very interesting to talk to, and was in New Zealand to do a series of motivational talks.
Check out her website which is a very interesting read.

At Taupo we were also joined by Carolyn, one of my old housemates from Auckland. We then set off in Convoy to find the house we were staying at for the weekend with Mitch andAndy and a few others to do a crazy overnight relay around lake taupo – a total distance of 150 miles split between 13 people.
We arrived at the house to find no keys had been left, so Andy had resourcefully removed a window pane, which was to be our entrance for the next couple of days, until the neighbors turned up with the keys.
The relay was broken into stages of different lengths, some walking, some running. I had originally signed up for a 14 km running stage, but was having doubts about my back. Roz was looking a bit dissapointed after being assigned to only a 7km walk. So I took my chance and offered to swap. But then realised that Andy, who was only planning to walk, was down for a run/walk leg, so I offered to swap with him.
All very confusing, and thankfully Mitch was doing a great job of organising and making sure everyone knew their time and place.
But in the end I ended up running about 10km, about 7kn of which was uphill! Thankfully the back survived.
A good fun event, and one we hope to be able to get back up for next year if we are around.

We then said our fairwells, and headed off down to Wellington, stopping to see the awesome views passing through Tongariro national park (my playground for 4 months last year!).


Stayed overnight in a hotel that we thought was burning down, as the alarm went off as we headed off to get some food. Thankfully a faulty circuit was to blame, and bruce and all our gear was not to be flambayed

Then up early the next day to catch the ferry across to Picton on the South island. A pretty miserable day weather wise, which was a shame for Roz who missed the amazing scenery as the boat comes into Picton. Then straight on down the East coast to Kaikora famous for the whales and other wildlife which frequent the coastal area.

Slight fears checking the weather forecast, as we were booked on a whale watching tour the next day, and the forecast was for large swells. But that didn’t stop us chowing into the local delicacy of crayfish for dinner.

Another early rise the following day and set off to the Whale watch centre. The water looked fairly calm, but the forecast out in the ocean was showing 4m swells. So myself and Sinead armed ourselves with sea-sickness tablets, ginger tablets and acu-pressure bands.
One or a combination of the above must have worked, as the trip was fantastic, and enjoyed by all, without any need for the sick bags. We saw a couple of sperm whales and a huge pod of Dolphins. here is a sample of the photos. The complete set con be found on my Flickr site, which is linked on the right hand side of this blog.

A quick game of mini-golf at a quaint little place(I am planning to write a Mini-golf blog at some point..), and then back to the cars, and drive on down to Christchurch, where we stayed the night. Unfortunately Sinead’s sister Marie-Ann had cunningly planned to be away that weekend, so we bedded down in a motel.

Then the final part of the journey in convoy. we drove for about an hour, and then big hugs, and farwell to Roz, as the girls headed off across country towards Queenstown where they were going to do some tramping (thats walking for us none NZers). Yours truly had to head straight down the coast to Dunedin, as I had to register for my course.
A fairly uneventful journery, resting at Omaru. No time to see the penguins there on this visit.
An uneventful journey that is until I was about 20km out of Dunedin. Rearing up in front of my was a huge hill. Gaining as much speed as possible on the approach, I encouraged “Little T” to make it. My eye dropped alarmingly to the temperature gauge, which was on the rise.
just made it to the top, and pulled over into a layby with steam starting to eek out of the bonnet.
Time for a rest….For me, and for the car.

30 minutes, and several I-pod tunes later, I topped it back up, and tentatively started up. Seemed to be ok, so I set off thinking it must be down hill all the way to our new home. It was downhill, for about 2 miles, and then another hill, bigger and steeper than the last loomed ahead.
Steam emerging, and nowhere to pull over, so I had to struggle on. I saw the lay-by 20m ahead when the pop of a raditor hose signalled more serious problems.

So 1500km out from Auckland, and the Golf finally made it to its new home in Dunedin, albeit on the back of an AA lorry, much to the amusement of our new landlord Chris!

Next chapter – New City, new Student life….


Photos from Flickr.


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