Saying goodbye is never easy. It helped that I am flying back to Raglan in less than two weeks :). Nevertheless, I was quite happy to finally hit the road. Being on holidays is awesome, but after a month of doing nothing my brain became slightly disfunctional. If not for myself, I needed to go back to work for the sake of my little brain!
When packing, I got rid of a lot of things, including clothes, sports equipment and the little furniture I had. I wanted to have one carload of stuff only, so I can be free to move around as I please. I was a bit nervous how will I manage to put everything that was still left in the car, but either the car is huge or my packing skills are superb. It all worked out perfectly and after my final morning surf session in Raglan I drove off.
It took me about 8 hours to reach Wellington. The drive was pretty easy, as there was hardly any traffic on the roads. The scenery was beautiful, the weather was hot and sunny, I stopped at a few places, went for a swim on Kapiti Coast and arrived just in time for dinner to Andrea & Branko’s house. The next morning I boarded on a ferry to the South Island. The sail was pretty uneventful. I was hoping for some rough waters to make things a bit more interesting, but nah, the water was smooth as. Entering Marlborough Sound was quite impressive though. The coast is pretty hilly, covered in trees and dry grass, and water of an amazing blue colour.
I chose to drive to the south on the west coast, as it is supposed to be even more scenic. And it was! Long empty roads took me right up through the mountains where there is nothing but a few settlements. I completely forgot to check the petrol level, until all of a sudden I noticed a bright light flashing at me. Wow, the car needs some fuel! Damn, how have I not thought about it?? What, 70km to the next town?? For the next hour or so I have been going through all different scenarios of what to do if the car stops. First, at least I will know it’s because of the petrol, and not because it is something wrong with it. You know, you should always find something positive in every situation :). On the other hand, I could possibly knock on someone’s door, they might have some petrol in the house… The only problem is the last house I saw was about 50 km back. But hey, that might mean that the next one is super close :). OK, if this doesn’t work, I can hitch hike. Not that I have seen many cars for the past few hours, but surely there must be someone coming this way… If nothing works, I’ll run. Having all my belongings with me, all I have to do is dig out my running shoes and off I go. Wooooow, the petrol station!!! I filled the car and wasn’t that concerned that this was probably the most expensive petrol I’ve ever paid for… Off to Greymouth! I visited this place 11 years ago on my first trip around NZ. And it didn’t impress me at all. And it didn’t impress me this time either… It is just an empty and boring town with some potential surf though, but nah, I quickly decided to drive further. I stopped at Hokitika, a cute little coastal town. There were also some waves, but a bit too small unfortunately. I went for a swim instead and was pleasantly surprised by water temperatures. Apparently they are 6 degrees higher than usual temperature at this time of the year! Talking about global warming… 😦
The final day I drove through some more mountains. The further I went, the more beautiful the scenery was. I passed by glaciers, some rivers and endless number of lakes. At first I stopped at every corner to take a photo but soon gave up (I would probably be still travelling, there is just sooooo much to see). The roads were a bit busier as well, mostly flooded by backpackers in camper vans. Arrows indicating the side of the road you should be driving on gave me only a little bit of a comfort… After a few hours I reached Wanaka. It was 35 degrees and I couldn’t care less about cold lakes. Actually, I wished the lake was cold but I was wrong. Again, the water temperatures are at record high and yeah I wasn’t exactly in a hurry to go back to the shore.
One more stretch and I will be at home! By then, I was excited, but mainly tired.
Adi, the lady that I currently live with welcomed me with open hands. And a delicious lunch! After the lunch I was determined to unpack my car. If I stop now, I will never do it. Towards the end I was feeling quite tired and ready to go to bed, however there was still daylight. It seemed like 7.00pm Oh no, welcome to the deep south where days are much longer! It was 9.00pm and the sun was still high up! Hm, that’s great news, I love it! Yeah, enjoy now, in winter this means quite the opposite…
I haven’t stopped ever since. It doesn’t quite feel like my home yet, I feel like I’m on an endless holiday. I started work, but it feels more like something to keep my brain busy. In my free time, I have managed to join the local sailing club, helped kids learn to sail (and I have never even seen the little dingies before), run a few tracks, climbed a few hills, visited a few lakes and explored this and the neighbouring towns. I even kayaked down the river with a girl who is training for the Coast to Coast race next week (a Kiwi version of an Iron Man I guess) and her coach. Yeah, one thing that is super easy here is to meet people! Everyone is super nice, extremely friendly, open and generous. Or at least so it seems.
Looking forward to what tomorrow will bring :)!