Monday 18 April 2016 – New Zealand Conclusion

For only the second time, in order to describe my feelings for a country, I have to divide my thoughts into two, the physical country and the emotional country. I was describing this to someone the other day and he described it back to me in more simple terms, the scenery and the people, although I think it’s wider than the scenery on the physical side.

Physically NZ is lovely. Not to my mind spectacular, but really, really nice. One of the reasons it’s so nice is only having a population of 4 million, a quarter of which can be ignored as they are in one city, which can be bypassed easy enough if need be. Compared to the UK the place is pleasingly empty. Driving is easy, as the roads are so quiet. Camping and accommodation is readily available everywhere and is great value for money and provided to a really good standard.

In fact virtually everything is easy for the traveller. There are ATMs which work, well stocked supermarkets abound, cafes exist even in the tiniest of villages, fuel is available everywhere and is good quality, credit cards are accepted by nearly every business and so the list of easiness goes on.

The country is just amazingly accessible. Information offices, usually in the shape of iSites are common and the amount the country seems to spend on free maps and brochures which are dished out by those offices is amazing.

You don’t pay to enter the national parks. The hiking trails are gobsmacking, with car parks at the ends, sometimes along the way and you’ll suddenly find a composting toilet in the middle of the wilderness for your convenience. That’s another point actually, I’ve never seen a country with as many public loos as in NZ and they are all clean and all have paper.

Little things that niggle elsewhere, like in Britain for example, are not issues here, like parking charges. Only in the middle of the larger cities do you tend to have to pay to leave the car for a while.

The whole country is geared to campervanning. Supermarkets all offer dump stations for waste. Local towns label themselves ‘motor home’ friendly because they want the RV’ers dollars spent there, not in the next town. There are loads of free camping spots, as long as you have the ability to carry your waste away and can prove it with a ‘self containment’ certificate.

If you are a boater, there are public launch slips all over the place. Never have I seen a place so easy to get the bottom of your boat wet. Fishermen actually catch fish, because there are still some left here to catch.

I would say that if you are a mountain biking fisherman, who likes tramping and you travel in a motorhome, you would feel like you were in paradise, a word often used by Kiwis to describe their home country.

Physically New Zealand is a gem of a place.

On the emotional side, which I called as such, because I realised I have no emotional attachment to NZ, which has only ever happened to me before in Bolivia. I think you get emotional attachment from the people, so I guess it’s whether you label the thing from an input or output point of view. Beginning to sound like an essay now, isn’t it?

Getting conversations in NZ is more difficult than other countries and I think there are a few reasons chats are so much tougher to come across:

Kiwi’s are reserved. We British have a reputation for being standoffish, but we are extroverts compared to Kiwi’s. On some occasions I’ve realised it’s been a while since I talked to anyone and then I realised that’s because I haven’t spoken to anyone, if you get my drift. I’ve found I have to engage them first. If I don’t start a conversation here, it would be an incredibly quiet trip.

I don’t have Tara with me. She was always a great introducer because, firstly with all her luggage she was obviously a traveller’s bike, secondly she wore where she’d been on her sleeve with all the country stickers on her panniers and thirdly she had a foreign number plate, so was obviously far from home. So many people in other countries have approached me and started a conversation based on at least one of those three things Tara brings to the conversation party. Here I’m travelling in a local car. It just doesn’t work.

Next, I’m one of thousands of travellers / tourists. In the Americas I was one of the few and I was a traveller. Here I’m one of a hoard of tourists and yes, in my mind there is a massive difference between traveller and tourist.

Add to that, the fact I do not believe New Zealanders really like tourists. They want their money, but they just see them as a necessary evil and if their job has no connection with tourism, they don’t even add the ‘necessary’ bit to the description.

Lastly in my list, New Zealanders are incredibly insular. I thought the Americans were bad, but the NZ’ers have them beat. The limit of their world and of their interest is New Zealand and that’s the cosmopolitan ones. The rest only care about their own island or more likely, their particular patch of island. As a result, they just don’t care about you. They have no interest in where you are from, where you’ve been or where you are going. The one time they look overseas is, ‘how do we compare to Australia?’ They have a fixation with how they measure up to ‘across the Tasman’ or ‘over the ditch’.

I’m sure with a different style of travelling things may be different. Most Brits I meet here have relatives to visit and I expect that means they have had a friendlier experience. The youngsters on work permits will have had the advantage of settling down in a community for a while and that would help. Staying with the locals more, using say bed and breakfast, might give a different impression. To be fair, I was sent some local contacts details, mainly by people back in the UK. Had they introduced me in some way and checked those contacts were cool with hosting for a while or just meeting up, that would have been great, but I tended to get the contact details sent to me with a ‘I’m sure they’d love to see you’ message. Rightly or wrongly I didn’t pick up any of the offers.

Interestingly, I wonder if my conclusion would be different had I not had recently experienced the genuine friendliness of the South Americans and the more superficial, but incredibly high volume style of friendliness of the USA. I’m sure my expectations have been altered as I’ve gone along.

So my conclusion is, beautiful country, easy to travel around, but for me, no emotional attachment. I would compare it a little bit to going round a very nice National Park, but without the major wow factor of the American parks.

The other first for me and this is a result of the luxury of having so much time to explore a relatively small country and the lack of emotional connection, is that I don’t, at the current time anyway, so it may change, have any feeling that I’d like to return. A combination of, I’ve seen a hell of a lot of it and there’s nothing pulling me back.

I’ve met a lot of Brits in particular who have visited and decided this is where they want to live. I do get their decision, although it’s not something I’d want to do. NZ is too cut off for me, which is one of the major advantages New Zealanders quote about their country. Britain is joined on to Europe, which means I can drive to South Africa, or Korea, or India, or the Middle East and I’ve realised that for me, being part of something bigger geographically speaking is important. In NZ you have to fly out, end of story. That’s too restrictive for me and makes New Zealand way too small a place to be based and expensive to leave. It’s a personal view and one I realise is in the minority. It does however interest me, that roughly 20% of New Zealanders live in Australia.

Bottom line is I’ve really enjoyed the trip. I love the physical New Zealand and I’d highly recommend if you haven’t visited, visit and if you have visited, but haven’t spent enough time here, return. A quick word of warning though if you are British. Don’t look in the windows of any of the Real Estate companies, otherwise you’ll be moving here real quick.

If I was doing the trip again, I’d arrive two weeks earlier than I did, so I could do 2.5 months North Island and 3.5 South (I did 2 and 4) and still be out of the North just before Christmas. It would also mean I’d have avoided the recent Autumn change of clocks.

I enjoyed having the cycle, but again if I were to redo the trip, I’d bring an inflatable kayak instead, as they are the same weight for the plane trip. New Zealand is just so good for getting on the water and I’d personally prefer that ability to cycling. It would also be very easy to pick up a cheap secondhand cycle here and hence have the best of both worlds. As I write this bit I think I may be talking myself into wanting to come back sometime. Campervan, kayak, bike and walking boots would be a pretty good combination for New Zealand.


Facts and figures for the trip:

I’ve stayed in 65 different places, four of those places twice.

The tent has done 128 nights, cabins 41 and motels 11.

Total cost of my accommodation has been $5,700, so an average of $31.67 (£15.43) per night.

Goldie has carried me 15,672kms (9,740 miles) and the cycle 1,377 kms (856 miles). Guy also drove me about 300km in his 4wd and I’ve taken three ferries and a few buses.


Thursday 14 to Sunday 17 April 2016 – Pretty much done

Thursday 11 April

Although the days are still shorts and t-shirt weather at around 20°C, the evenings are getting a bit nippy, down to 3°C in places and 4°C in Christchurch. I haven’t seen anyone in a tent for ages. Last night a large motorhome pulled up and the couple used a cabin. Seems a bit bizarre, but there you go.

Saw an amazing figure yesterday. In NZ 60% of house rentals are supplemented by the government at a cost of $2 billion, which is a significant figure for a population of 4 million. I’m not sure it’s any different in the UK, in fact it could well be worse the way we seem to dish out benefits, but when you see a figure like that, it’s quite startling.

Today was all about heading south to my last stop in Christchurch. I’ve done the whole trip before and all of it was on my least favourite road in NZ, State Highway 1, although if I had to choose a length of SH1, this is one of the nicer stretches.

Arrived on my site mid afternoon, moved in to my small, but very nice cabin and did a bit of sorting. I want to offer Niki and Rich the gear I’m not taking home, so it needs sorting ready for tomorrow evening. What they don’t want will be put in the ‘free box’ for others to take, which is where I got some of it, so it’ll keep serving travellers.

I’m about 4km from the airport here, so the end is within sight, as it keeps flying over me.

Two great things about NZ, the wine and Whittakers chocolate

Two great things about NZ, the wine and Whittakers chocolate

My view for my lunchtime sandwich

My view for my lunchtime sandwich

_DSC1766 _DSC1767

Northern Canterbury

Northern Canterbury

_DSC1779 _DSC1783

More of the good stuff

More of the good stuff

Route 2016-04-14

Friday 15 April

Today was all about packing the bike up.

It’s all wrapped up in two tarps, tapped and then tied with rope, but it could still theoretically be rejected by Air New Zealand. Their rules say it needs to be in a bike box or proper bike bag and have the pedals removed and mine is in a tarp and I just could not get the pedals off, so I had to give up. Because the frame splits in two it is packed smaller than a normal bike, so we’ll see if it gets accepted. Bit a problem if it doesn’t.

I used all my rope tying it up, so took a trip to the local Mitre 10 DIY store to get more, so I can  pack the panniers tomorrow. While I was out I picked up another bottle of wine for the evening.

Niki and Rich arrived just after 5pm in Arnold the campervan.

A great evening sitting outside the cabin. Four bottles of wine demolished and a lovely dinner of bread, cheeses and antipasto. It’s the fourth time we’ve met up in NZ. Really lovely people.


Saturday 16 April

Spent the morning clearing out Goldie and cleaning her up a bit.

Said good bye to Niki and Rich, who headed back to Hanmer Springs. They leave their jobs in a couple of weeks and go back on the road. They are hoping to get a house sitting job somewhere. They are going to stay in NZ permanently, which means sometime before the end of the year getting a proper job, which will earn them points in the immigration process.

It does seem strange that all the people I’ll keep in touch with after leaving NZ are English, ex-English or soon to be ex-English. My best interactions with people here have been with Brits, followed by Americans.

Went to find the car rental place ready for tomorrow, bought my last bottle of wine and packed the four bike panniers in a Chinese laundry bag and taped and tied it together. Two bags down, one to go.


Four loaded bike panniers


The bike, not packed according to the rules, so fingers are crossed

Sunday 17 April

I’m writing today in advance, so I’ll say what I hope will happen.

Pack my final bag.

Check out of the cabin before 10am.

Go and fill Goldie’s fuel tank, as she needs to be returned full.

Return Goldie to the car rental place.

They take me to the Domestic Terminal.

Wait around for most of the day and early evening fly to Auckland.

In Auckland transfer to the International Terminal and again wait around for nearly 3 hours.

Fly to LA, watch lots of movies, get off the plane, go through US Immigration and Security and wait for the plane to be cleaned and refueled. Gain 19 hours in time.

Fly to London, watching yet more movies. Loose 8 hours over LA, but gain 11 hours over NZ.

Go through Immigration, collect my three bags, go through Customs, get picked up by eldest son, drive to Hampshire, drop most of my stuff in the storage unit, check-in to hotel, go for a drink with son.


Route 2016-04-17

Screen Shot 2016-04-16 a

Screen Shot 2016-04-16 b

Screen Shot 2016-04-16 c

Wednesday 13 April 2016 – Wedding Bells

I got a proposal of marriage today.

It’s not the first I’ve ever had, but I’ve learnt from the first one and turned this one down. I’d been into Picton and then to Waikawa Bay and back at the site I saw the cleaner making up the next door cabin, so I went over to ask for some more sachets of coffee.

I’m guessing she was from the Philippines or similar, as her accent was strong and her English not so good. Her first question was whether I was on my own, then where was my wife, so was I single, why wasn’t I married. After I’d answered those she decided she’d marry me. I felt a bit on the back foot in these marriage negotiations, because while she’d said I could have some more coffee, it was still out of my reach on her trolley. She was actually a very nice looking lady, so I guess I could have done much worse, but I pointed out the problem that I was leaving Picton tomorrow and NZ a couple of days later, so I just got the coffee in the end. A close call.

She did actually come by later to tell me she’d finished for the day. I think I pulled.

Note to self, buttons are easier to sew on before, rather than after a couple of glasses of wine. Live and learn.

autumn colours

autumn colours

_DSC1689 _DSC1704 _DSC1716 _DSC1718 _DSC1740 _DSC1745

The bakery in Picton is one of the best in the country. That's what you call a BLT

The bakery in Picton is one of the best in the country. That’s what you call a BLT

My last Afghan biscuit, or for me, Australian Crunch

My last Afghan biscuit, or for me, Australian Crunch

Tuesday 12 April 2016 – Knock on effect

I think by walking in a way to protect my foot yesterday, I’ve knackered my calf. If feels like it’s about to blow and having experienced that once in my life, I never want a repeat performance. It was probably the most painful injury I’ve had and took a lot of sports massage, hot stones and ice to get sorted.

I said goodbye to the Collingwood crew, Guy, Maria, Chrissy, Wayne and Mrs Wayne from Nelson, and headed east to Picton.

Stopped in both Motueka and Nelson in the hunt for a cheap sowing kit, as I need to replace a button on my trousers. For virtually the whole six months I’ve lived in shorts, but I need to get my grown up trousers ready for the flight back.

Apparently the cruise season finished today, with the last ship leaving Dunedin. They’ve had 70 ships this season and are due for 96 during next summer, so obviously a growth sector. I can’t think of anything worse myself.

It was nice to be recognized at the campsite after my stay here before Christmas. I have a lovely cabin with all the extras, even, joy of joys, my own shower and loo.

Headed down to Waikawa Marina for a little look at the boats, but as I’m walking like an old man, I drove down.

I said goodbye to my 'street'

I said goodbye to my ‘street’



A dull day in the morning

A dull day in the morning


Havelock, green lipped mussel territory 

_DSC1599 _DSC1605 _DSC1625 _DSC1652 _DSC1660 _DSC1670 Route 2016-04-12


Monday 11 April 2016 – Stupid is as stupid does

It was obviously a really stupid idea to hike with my cut foot, but being stupid has never stopped me before.

I headed back inland to hike around the old goldfields, but after only 3 and a bit kilometers it was obvious even my stupidity had found its limit, so I hobbled back to Goldie.

Guy sent me photos of his place on the beach in Indonesia as I have an invite to visit and it’s really tempting, so I need to do some research.

In the evening a large motorhome pulled in with 7 young Argentinian guys on board. They are all from Buenos aires and are doing the ‘home of rugby’ in two weeks, both islands. Two spoke good enough English that they fronted conversations for the others, although I suspect most understood more than they let on. We swopped notes on Argentina, which brought back some great memories.

Deep joy, as Niki and Rich have confirmed they are coming down from Hanmer Springs on Friday to stay overnight at the same campsite in Christchurch, so that will make a great penultimate evening in New Zealand.


The rail was through quite tall bush, so limited views

The rail was through quite tall bush, so limited views

One of the caves on the route

One of the caves on the route


I came back via a 4wd track

I came back via a 4wd track

_DSC1562 _DSC1563

NZ is covered in bee hives

NZ is covered in bee hives

Route 2016-04-11

Sunday 10 April 2016 – Appearing out of nowhere

I headed back towards Takaka today, to the Waikoropupu Springs.

The springs are sacred to the local Maori, so although there is a 1 kilometer footpath through them, actually touching the water is forbidden. The waters represent the lifeblood of Papakuanuku (Earth Mother) and the tears of Ranginui (Sky Father).

The water comes up from the ground in sufficient volume to create a river. The water is beautifully clear and it’s possible to easily see the bottom, even when it’s 4 or 5 meters deep. The springs are fed by rainwater and comes from both a shallow and deep source in the ground. I’ve no idea how they can tell, but the average age of the water from the shallow source is just over a year, whereas just over ten years for the deep source. A very beautiful place.

As I was so close, I had a wander up and down Takaka’s main street, which was pretty much closed. Lots of cafes and art shops, so a nice place, maybe even nicer when it’s open.

On the way home I followed the signs to Collingwood’s ‘Historic Cemetery’ and the viewing point at the top of the hill.

In the afternoon I took advantage of the sun to dry the tent and pack it away. I think for the first time in my life I repacked a tent back into it’s original bag, which takes some doing.

The campsite manager, I now know Garry and Chrissie, the couple running the site are managers rather than owners, as it’s owned by the council, took out his boat to go fishing today. They caught five snapper and 2 gurnard. Garry filleted the fish and what was left was fed to the ells at the shore of the campsite. We all trooped down to see them have their dinner.

I ended up cutting my foot on the rocks while I was trying to get photos, but as ever didn’t really notice the damage. One of the other campers told me I was bleeding badly and boy, was I pumping out some of the red stuff.

This is the first time I haven’t carried a first aid kit, thinking that in a place like NZ I’d never be far from what I wanted. As it turned out I could get to the local shop quite easily and buy plasters and antiseptic at the village store, but I was lucky I was within walking distance and the shop was open. I’ll rethink the lack of first aid kit in the future.

We’d all been standing on some very nicely built concrete steps which lead from the campsite down to the waters edge and I asked Garry if he’d built them.

They’d been put in by a permanent resident of the site, who they’d had some trouble getting rid off. He took up three pitches, had a caravan with an awning, a shed, three boats on trailers and his car. He was there 15 years and paying a tiny rent. Garry had to persuade the council to put the rent up to a commercial level and the guy was off like a shot. I asked Garry where he went. Apparently he immediately bought his own plot of land, so he was hardly short of money.

_DSC1401 _DSC1406 _DSC1426 _DSC1428 _DSC1431 _DSC1446 _DSC1457 _DSC1466 _DSC1473 _DSC1485 _DSC1491 _DSC1501 _DSC1516 _DSC1520 _DSC1521

The eels grab a mouthful and then twist their bodies round and round crocodile style to saw the meat off

The eels grab a mouthful and then twist their bodies round and round crocodile style to saw the meat off

Emergency purchase

Emergency purchase

Route 2016-04-10

Saturday 9 April 2016 – Liar, liar, pants on fire

I’m obviously a finely tuned fibber, as I’m still getting emails expressing surprise I’m going back to work and asking for more details, which of course relates to my post from the 1st April!!!

I thought you lot knew me better, but at least I now know who to send the email declaring, ‘you have won a £1m, but first just send the small transfer fee of £1,000 to the following account’.

It was raining this morning, the sort of very soft rain that soaks you without you really noticing. It was also a spring tide and most of the guys on the site were fishing from the campsite bank. Spinning for kingfish so they tell me. I like the way the Kiwis fish light. They don’t come down loaded with gear, just a rod and maybe a rod rest to stick in the ground and away they go. Interestingly the shags are unusual by their absence, so I’m not sure it that’s a good or bad fishing sign. Perhaps there are so many fish they are already stuffed.

I spent an enjoyable hour keeping the fishermen company, asking them what I’m sure they considered to be daft questions. They soon stopped spinning and used a really short rod and small pieces of squid as bait to catch herring. They only had to cast out about 5 meters to get a regular supply. The poor things were then used as live bait for the kingfish, cast out using larger surf casting rods. I saw one kingfish come in. A beautifully powerful fish, he put up a good account of himself and luckily was only around 60cm long and as the limit is 75cm and we were all watching the fisherman and he is the camp site manager, so had to set an example, the fish was put back.

The rain ceased midday, with the sun making an appearance an hour later and I went for a wander round the village, coming across the war memorial. This tiny one street town, out in the sticks, lost 43 men in WW1 and another 11 in WWII. It’s hard to imagine the impact on such a small place.

Lots of local motorhomes have turned up for the weekend. One had a pop top roof, so I wandered over to ask how they found it in strong winds. It was owned by an English couple recently retired. They have a campervan and house here, based in Raglan in the North Island and another campervan back at their house in Chester, England. They already have their NZ residency and as two out of their three kids now live in here, they are in the process of gradually moving here full time.

The internet packed up in the afternoon. The campsite owner told me where the power switch was for the wifi, so I could reboot the thing, but I still couldn’t get back online. I’m just glad my online work is well up to date. My accommodation is all booked, both for here and the first night back in the UK, plus I’ve done all my online shopping for new and replacement gear, ready to collect when I get back. They only downside will be a lack of YouTube while I’m cooking.

Friday 8 April 2016 – Fully Booked

A simple, but lovely day today.

I drove the 50 odd kilometers back to the northern end of the Abel Tasman National Park, but this time parked alongside the Wainui Inlet and walked across the headland to Whariwharangi. Abel Tasman is one of the jewel areas of NZ, with beautiful coast, amazing beaches, great walks and tropical vegetation.

Food shopping in Takaka and proof of how weak I am. Yesterday I ran out of booze. I gave the rest of the beer id bought to Guy as he wouldn’t take any fuel money and the last of my wine disappeared soon after. I resolved that I wouldn’t replace it as I only have just over a week to go. Unpacking my trolley into Goldie I found I had a 12 create of my favourite beer, 3 litres of white and three litres or red, with the justification that it’s the end of my trip, so I should be celebrating.

I found out today that the schools are on holiday from tonight. This is instead of the Easter break, which they didn’t take otherwise the term would have been too short. I decided I should book my last two unbooked nights.

I found I could cash in my free night, which I’ve had for a time and that made the cost of going back to Picton and into a nice cabin pretty reasonable. I’m headed back to the site owned by the ex-Swiss couple near the marina.

So I’m now totally booked up and as was my wish, the tent is redundant for the rest of the trip. I have four more nights here, two nights back in the Marlborough area, which will give me the excuse of finding a darn nice bottle of wine and then three nights in Christchurch getting sorted for flying out.

The people who moved into my sea view cabin have a load of interesting equipment, none of which I could identify, but then today when they came home and unloaded from a friends ute I did spot one item which explained the rest, a panning bowl. They’ve been out on the river searching for gold. They have sluice boxes and water pipes and a water pump, an inflatable dingy, it now all makes sense. As they unloaded I asked if they were now rich and the answer was ‘no, I’ll be back at work on Monday’, or is he just trying to throw me off the scent of a massive strike? You have to watch these gold miners, tricky people who need careful watching so that I get my fair share.

High tide, so the first part of the trail was flooded. I had wet shoes for the rest of the day

High tide, so the first part of the trail was flooded. I had wet shoes for the rest of the day. Everyone else took theirs off and carried them, but I am both British and lazy in equal portions


Absolutely no idea where the owner is

Absolutely no idea where the owner is

Wainui Inlet

Wainui Inlet

_DSC1318 _DSC1330

That's the trail

That’s the trail

_DSC1349 _DSC1351

The walking track

The walking track

_DSC1363 _DSC1380 _DSC1395 Route 2016-04-08

Thursday 7 April 2016 – Cheers, where everyone . . .

So as things turned out, Maria got it wrong, as she had second thoughts on the caravan and turned it down.

Yesterday evening was also interesting as I watched some 4wd snobbery. A fully equipped Toyota Landcruiser took the cabin which was joined on to Guy’s, well the owners did, the Landcruiser was well trained and stayed outside. I’m in a detached residence, so don’t get such riff raff adjoined to me. On the side window of the new 4wd in town was a sticker proclaiming the owners to be member of the Christchurch Offroad Club. I was sitting outside my cabin opposite, reading and drinking wine.

Guy naturally couldn’t resist coming out to chat to the fellow 4wd’ers. They were a retired couple, the car having been recently bought to keep them amused during their non-working years. It was a 1993 LandCruiser, with everything on it, massive mud tyres, bigger wheels to raise the body, a winch on the front and after that I didn’t understand any more about what they had fitted, but the length of the list seemed impressive.

The club (the other 5 cars were staying elsewhere in town), were off tomorrow to where we went today, but then at 4pm when the tide was right, they are headed down the beach to the lighthouse. Guy mentioned we’d got to the beach entrance today, which didn’t go down well.

I gather the fact we’d done it on our own (well Guy had), with pretty normal tyres, no raised suspension, no winch, no anything except a passenger who knew nothing about anything, spoilt the sense of adventure for their own foray into the wilderness.

I have to say their distain was sufficient for me to put down my Kindle and jovially join in the conversation. The woman was aghast that I’d crossed the river in a single vehicle, without support. I said that as someone who knew nothing, the car took it in it’s stride and I was impressed with the bow wave and the fact water came over the bonnet. It was pointed out the Mitsubishi, unlike their Toyota didn’t have a snorkel. I now know what a snorkel is on a car – very clever stuff.

Guy admitted and I was glad to hear it, that he wouldn’t have attempted the beach without a back up vehicle. He asked if he could tag along with them tomorrow, so he could drive the beach. Now had he been a motorcyclist, he’d have been welcomed with open arms, but the Christchurch Offroad Club are a miserable bunch of incredibly boring gits. They fobbed him off with the fact their ‘leader’ probably would say no, as Guy’s vehicle wasn’t as equipped as the rest of the club. They were just off to meet the rest of the club for dinner in the pub and they would ask, but the ‘leader’ would undoubtedly say no. As they left I shouted across to Guy, ‘that’ll be a no then’. What utter snobs.

First thing this morning, as I put my bread in the toaster, Guy asked if I fancied a trip inland to a dam. ‘So you’re not invited to play on the beach then’, which at least got a laugh out of him. We Brits are fine until someone snubs us and we don’t tend to like that. Rudeness is just plain, well rude.

Guy has visited and lived in NZ off and on for years. He’s had many investment properties here, his brother has lived here for 15 years, his parents have spent 6 months of every 12 here for the last 10 years, but I’m afraid like me, he finds the Kiwi’s ignorant and unfriendly. I desperately wanted the ChCh Offroad Club to offer the hand of friendship and invite him in, but they just couldn’t resist acting like New Zealanders.

So off we headed to the Cobb Reservoir area. Unlike yesterday, Goldie could have made it, although to be fair, I’d have never have risked it.

At the end of the road we hunted freshwater crayfish in the icy river. It amazed me that Guy, big, bold, devil may care, was pretty uptight about being caught for poaching. My attitude was that I couldn’t believe it was illegal for us to take some. I said that if you went on the rules for everything else in NZ, both for fish and shell fish, there would be a limit to the number we could have. A subsequent internet search showed I was spot on and the limit was 50 per person.

Back at the site I went to buy some beer, got my gas stove out and we cold bloodedly murdered a whole bunch of cold blooded fresh water crayfish. Luckily, there were no screams from the victims and wow, did they make gorgeous eating.

Another great day. Staying here has been one of my best decisions.

This may seem daft, but do you know one of the things I like about being here, is that people know my name. There are a bunch of people here who just naturally call me ‘Mike’ and after more than two years of being on the road, I really, really like that. Most of the time a traveler is pretty anonymous.

Cobb River

Cobb River

Cobb Reservoir

Cobb Reservoir

When boys have toys they tend to want to play with them

When boys have toys they tend to want to play with them

_DSC1242 _DSC1248 _DSC1253 _DSC1262

'I'm telling you there are crayfish here'

‘I’m telling you there are crayfish here’

I didn't ask why Guy had the salad drawer from a fridge in his car, but it was darn useful

I didn’t ask why Guy had the salad drawer from a fridge in his car, but it was darn useful


Crayfish river

Crayfish river

_DSC1275 _DSC1278 _DSC1281

They were soooo good

They were soooo good

Routet 2016-04-07

Wednesday 6 April 2016 – Chauffeured

I moved two cabins down to my new home for the next 6 nights. I shall miss my view.

Maria, the lady who is going to be taking art lessons here, headed out to find a home to rent for the next 6 months. She is highly spiritual and was utterly convinced this was the day to look and that she’d be successful.

Guy, the guy originally from Manchester, but now sharing his time between Australia, Indonesia and NZ, repeated his invite to drive me over the back roads to the west coast in his Mitsubishi 4wd, so off we set.

For a $700, 1992 vehicle, which has done over 360,000 kms, it’s a great vehicle and just like a kid who sees someone else’s toys, I now want one. We did two river crossings, the first of which was deep enough that Guy had to wade across in three places before finding the route across. I just watched from the bank and shouted encouragement.

My reaction to the chosen route was, ‘its half way up your thighs, surely that’s too deep’, whereas his was, ‘it’s only just over my knees, it’ll be fine’.

A great day, with good conversation, scenery I wouldn’t have seen without being in a 4wd and a couple of river crossings thrown in.

Maria got back to the site at the same time as us and had found her accommodation, a caravan with an extension, with the luxury of a bath, which will be ready on Friday, but then she knew that before she set off.

_DSC1133 _DSC1135 _DSC1137 _DSC1149 _DSC1154 _DSC1157 _DSC1163

Guy, but then you guessed that

Guy, but then you guessed that

_DSC1170 _DSC1178 _DSC1179

About to become a boat

About to become a boat

Finding a crossing point while I . . . watched from the shore

Finding a crossing point while I . . . watched from the shore

Kicking up quite a bow wave

Kicking up quite a bow wave

Looking back on the first river crossing point

Looking back on the first river crossing point

_DSC1202 _DSC1205

End of the road

End of the road

_DSC1212 _DSC1216

We started in Collingwood, crossed to and went round the w basin and then headed down towards A, where the road ends

We started in Collingwood, crossed to and went round the Whanganui Inlet and then headed down the coast towards Anatori, where the road ends