Trip Start Jun 03, 2010
129Trip End Feb 04, 2012
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"More eventful" is maybe not the right description, but I certainly covered a good number of kilometers, around 1800 actually (rough guess), plus the trip down to Wanaka.
Mark, Jenny, and I had decided to rent a campervan to make our way up to Auckland to see Jenny off. When I found out I got my new job, it turned into a goodbye trip for us all. At some point, I remembered the campervan relocation idea, and we found one for just $5 per day plus petrol. The only catch was that we'd have to pick up in Christchurch several hours away
So our trip started off with Jenny and I heading out on our bikes in the dark at 6:24 am to get out to the main road to hitchhike to Christchurch. The chances of anyone seeing us in the dark was slim, so I pulled out my headlamp and set it to red light. We pulled out our homemade date scones with quince jam, but were picked up before we got more than a dew bites in. We always seem to get picked up as soon as we are engaged in some activity, leaving us running to cars with handfulls of sunscreen, half-eaten snacks, and shed clothing dragging behind us. We were lucky to be picked up by the second car to pass after waiting only five minutes, and the driver, Peter, said my light definitely helped.
Peter could take us as far as Kaikoura, where he was headed to talk to the local Maoris about fish conservation. He was some sort of ecologist or something, and it was really interesting to listen to everything he knew about New Zealand's ecology. We even learned how to save a beached whale. It goes something like this:
First, separate the whales, since they often end up laying on top of each other. You also have to orient them upright, then cover them with a sheet so that they don't get sunburned
That whale story will probably be longer than the story for the whole rest of my trip, but it made an impression on me, so I'm sharing.
We stopped to pick up one of Peter's colleagues and noticed that the mountains that were bare a few days ago when we'd been through now had snow on them
It took about an hour to get through paperwork and into our four-berth Ford Explorer campervan. It had a shower, toilet, stove, sink, two double beds, and much more space for our luggage than the two adult/one child van we'd been planning on renting would have had. We grabbed a quick fish n chips lunch (couldn't compare to my Milton St), then drove the five and a half hours home over the Lewis pass. Jenny was fine driving, but it took me a while to get comfortable, especially winding through the mountains when it started raining. The joke of the trip became "we're not insured for that," since our insurance didn't cover any of the things that were actually likely to happen, like windscreen or undercarriage damage, or rolling the vehicle on tight turns, or any damage from driving on unsealed roads (fairly common on NZ).
We spent the night at home in Nelson, then packed the van with everything we owned, picked up Mark (who had cooked us sausages and bacon for breakfast), then drove the two hours to Picton to catch the ferry to the North Island. Our trip had officially begun!