Well, I made it there and back, and through the countryside as well. As I suspected when I first wrote about this, having a budget of $2,100 (€1,428) for inland travel (one person, eight weeks) was more than sufficient. In the end, the tin had more than $430 (€290) leftover in it. This was remarkably cheaper than any of the vehicle hire options, especially when considering the fuel costs and necessary bus/shuttle rides that would have to be added in.
That being said, the combination of inland flights, bus trips, taxis and other shuttles to get around in has to be well planned. A number of the bus trips were best booked in advance to be somewhat cheaper (InterCity has special offer tickets which can be very cheap, but they can’t be changed). Most of the on-track/off-track shuttles as well as taxi fares are fixed price, but can be flexible (just ask if you can change). Inland flights are very much cheaper the further in advance you book; again the cheapest options cannot be changed after booking, except for a special fee. This is the only point where I could have saved about $150/€100, and it was on the Auckland-Invercargill leg. Read more…
Wednesday, April 5: Auckland – Sunny to begin with, then clouding over, rain starting at the bus stop and then just becoming stronger
Was up around 8:00, and Tracy had already left & left a note for me. Breakfast was time to consume everything that was left over: OJ, milk (condensed and fresh) for the coffee, the yoghurt. Then it was time for the final packing.
And that proceeded step by step. The computer was left running until deemed absolutely necessary for it to join everything else in the suitcase. The main concern was the weather: Although it was fine to begin with, rain was forecast for later and I didn’t want “later” to mean when I was trekking up to the bus stop on Mokoia Road. Read more…
Tuesday, April 4: A few showers in the morning, developing into heavy rain by evening
Walking: 8.3 km
Tracy left for work a bit later this morning and I must have only just missed her. Breakfast was the rest of the sausages with tomato sauce on toast, one piece of toast with vegemite, OJ, and coffee. Bit by bit all the stuff is being used up.
Decided to time a trip to the supermarket and bought some stuff to take back (maccaroni & cheese). Back for lunch of toasted cheese sandwiches, mandarines & Tracy’s muffin (which finished off all of those things) then a decision had to be made about transport tomorrow. In the end Sky Bus won out, although it will be touch & go as to how to get to the initial bus stop tomorrow morning. One very small load of washing was done and clothes were presorted into those being thrown away. With the washing precariously drying in the garage I went off to the Highbury shops to print out the bus ticket and the QR itinerary (just in case), stop off for one last (huge!) hokey pokey at the Mokoia General Store for $2.5 (Moore Ice Creams, apparently award-winning) and throw the clothes into a clothes bin at a strategically placed bus stop. A bit of rain prevented me from returning immediately and I got back just in time for the rain to start in earnest. Read more…
Monday, April 3: A little cloudy and changeable, quite hot in the afternoon sun; heavy rain predicted for the evening
Walking: 22.3 km
Tracy had to get up early for work and by the time I was awake I could hear the garage door go up and the car start. Day for a real shave today, and then breakfast of the last of Tracy’s eggs, three breakfast sausages, all on toast, OJ, about ⅓ of the yoghurt, and coffee. Had a brief look on the net, but really wanted to get walking to Pak’n’save to see what their vegemite costs.
As I walked along Glenfield Rd couldn’t really identify where Archer Road left and continued on to the Glenfield Shopping Center and beyond before turning back and finding a bit of a map in the public library, and made my way back and eventually found the turnoff. Nice views of Rangitoto and downtown all the way. Reached the supermarket, but their price ($6.39) was more than I had in mind from New World, so I returned empty handed. As the whole trip had taken much more time than originally planned, and a bus was due in a couple of minutes, I waited for it to take me back to the Highbury shops. Read more…
Sunday, April 2: Variable during the day with some showers in the evening
Walking: 12.4 km
The computer had worked its way through two folders quite successfully and needed to reboot to get into winter time. I was up @ 7:30 after a little bit of a lie in and went down to cook one egg and a trio of sausages for breakfast in a titanium nowo pan that appeared to be invincible. Coffee had half condensed, half fresh milk in it, and with butter used liberally on the toast those two leftovers from the tramping kitchen may well be finished by Wednesday.
I secured the use of a garden hose and the deck with Tracy’s permission to spray my tent down with and it dried for a short while on the deck until the drizzle appeared to want to last longer, then I hung everything up in the garage. Tracy had left after a short time to attend a baby shower and I was left to my own devices, mainly putting together the new panorama (Blumine Island) and chatting with Rayna. Read more…
Saturday, April 1: Nelson: Overcast
Auckland: Fine & warm with some high clouds
Walking: 8.1 km
Tracy’s (airbnb, $50)
Perhaps the last wakening at 7:30 summer time. Breakfast was the remainder of the crumpets with vegemite, some coffee with milk out of Genie’s fridge, and then the work of packing had to be done. Almost everything fit into where it should and Genie’s scales gave a reading of just under 20 kg for the suitcase (with more clothes to be discarded) and just over 7 for the backpack. Everything was checked and double-checked, the flat locked up and the keys in their hiding place, and I was on the street waiting for the Super Shuttle with 30 minutes to spare. The only thing that didn’t seem to work out was deleting played podcasts from the ipod (impossible; the podcasts have to be deleted from the master list first and then the ipod has to be synced, which might have triggered World War 3, i.e. the loss of all of the old podcasts that would then have to be downloaded again). Listening to the podcasts out on the street it occurred to me that having the pocket knife and the scissors in the backpack was probably not such a good idea, even if security at Nelson was going to be fairly laid back, so those were transferred to the suitcase without much of a problem. Read more…
Friday, March 31: Some remnants of cloud in the hills in Picton, becoming sunny and rather warm
The hostel was rather quiet last night with very few guests; at around 4:00 when I got up to go to the loo, one of Nikki’s bread machines was making a lot of noise and she was up, too, to turn it off so that it didn’t wake any other guests. Regular waking was around 7:30, and breakfast was three of the crumpets that I had bought last night with vegemite, coffee, and grape juice from Nikki. I was chatting with the American, Dave, who was also leaving on the midday bus.
I was out of my room @ 10:00 and proceeded to check the internet for anything I had forgotten yesterday. Itunes took up a lot of time and the result on the ipod was less than satisfactory but it will have to do for the trip. I saw that the university sports centre back in Hannover now had a sea kayaking group (Tuesday evenings, so finding time for swimming practice will be a bit of a challenge) instead of flatwater paddling, so I guess that is what I will have to take. Around 12:00 Dave turned up from wherever it was he had been & we loaded up our backpacks and headed for the ferry terminal. Read more…
Thursday, March 30: Low but light cloud in the morning clearing to sunny, hot & dry by the time we reached Picton; fogging over in the early evening
Sea kayaking: 8.3 km
Graham & Warwick were quite circumspect this morning and although I could hear them talking I dozed on. No cramps in the night, even despite having to manoeuvre past the stuff in the tent (it was better organised this time, but the head end had changed, and there was a bit of a slope which caused me to slide down the tent in the course of the night).
Christelle’s alarm failed to go off for the first time, but we were in no particular hurry, so getting up @ 7:30 we were greeted by the empty space left behind by Graham & Warwick’s tents and no one else was about. Eventually the others were up as well, with many of them out for a skinny dip to start the day. Read more…
Wednesday, March 29: Cloudy overnight, becoming a bit lighter in the course of the day, freshening south wind, and rain showers in the later afternoon & early evening
Sea kayaking: 16.4 km
Cannibal Cove ($6, Doc)
Graham & Warwick were up extremely early to practise for getting up early on Thursday morning (their water taxi leaves at 8:30), as well as some very vocal wekas, and we slept in a bit until Christelle’s alarm clock went off at 7:00.
The weather was not promising for the deck camera, so everything was packed away until at least lunchtime. We were also quite early and Christelle was eager to go & not so much interested in the historical walks, so we pushed off just after 9:30. Read more…
Tuesday, March 28: Cloudy to begin with, less wind than the night before, becoming sunny and fine with little to no wind by the early afternoon
Sea kayaking: 21.9 km
Blumine Island campsite (Doc $6)
During the night I had cramped again and again, first in the left calf, then in the right. Nothing too serious or permanent, but in my contortions I had bent my glasses and trying to fix them I dislodged one lens. Managed to get everything back together and did get some sleep in the end.
We were up at around 7:30 and ready to go just on two hours later. The sea was much calmer, although the weather wasn’t promising that much. I set the camera up for time lapse and it did something (have since discovered that M mode had to be set on the A470 to be able to trigger continuous mode). We wanted to get to Ratimera and decide further from there. For the first bit Graham & Warwick were following us 10-15 minutes behind but they didn’t take the turn to Ratimera and we didn’t see them until later. I used the Travel Buddy pillow to support my back and that worked very well as long as I put the footpegs back one stop again. Read more…