Saturday, March 11: Rain overnight & continuing as light showers during the day, clearing by evening
Swimming: 1200 m
The dancing girls had come home around one this morning but didn’t make a sound. I was ready for breakfast at 8:30 and it continued with the three of us for some time. Eventually I had to send a spot signal, confirm the two transport options that had been offered me right at the beginning and at the end. The final Intercity bus had to be booked and in going back one page I had reset the date to tomorrow, so that booking had to be cancelled and then the credit used for a new booking (very complicated and not well explained at all; directly changing the date on the booking didn’t seem possible, although that would have been the easiest solution; this then netted two booking fees of $4 apiece). Having sorted that out there were one or two things left to buy, and on my way to the supermarket found $2 on the street, as well as saving $3 via the tourist club card so everything was back in the green. Read more…
Friday, March 10: Overcast during the day with some sunshine in the afternoon, rain expected in the evening
Walking: 8.1 km
Another variation on Elizabeth’s breakfast this morning was to have weetbix with the ground up seeds, a plum and milk, and to forget the banana at some stage. Toast was a rather teutonic type of bread and it was plied with marmite. Not much sign of the torrential rainfall expected from the north.
First call of port was to tidy up the Wangapeka Track. Got an offer from Tapawera that they would pick me up and rent me a cabin for $75, which would have to be unbeatable. An Intercity bus @ full price can be cancelled up to two hours in advance for a full refund, but that has yet to be booked. In Karamea the very rainbowy Rongo Backpackers was taking $65 a night for a twin room plus $20 for a pickup which comes to much the same as Tapawera above, and was promptly reserved. Two things I will have to keep in mind: Taking enough cash to pay for everything, and a shopping list for Karamea. Shampoo & shower gel will have to be topped up before I go so that I can get some personal hygiene done in Karamea and Tapawera. And some decent meals. Read more…
Thursday, March 9: Sunny, windy, not particularly warm
After all of yesterday’s excitement I thought I might need a bit more sleep than usual, but was up just after 8:00 giving Elizabeth enough time to show me some stuff for breakfast (Allbran with yoghurt & cream, a banana, some toast, one of those in-the-packet coffees) before she was off to her work.
I wanted to see a bit more stuff around town so I headed off to Victory Park to see if there was a Four Square there with reduced price sandwiches (no such luck, no supermarket, but various convenience stores) and there was a cricket match in action in the park. Back along Vanguard St I opted to have a look in countdown for some milk, apples, and chocolate for emergencies; they had PAMS/Woolworth’s instant peas ($2/200 g) so if the Heaphy/Wangapeka comes into effect that is something worth taking.Read more…
Wednesday, March 8: Sunny in Dunedin but cold; clouds increasing as we flew north, then decreasing towards Nelson; stronger winds in the evening
Elizabeth’s (airbnb, $50)
Was up & about just after 8:00, as was Mike (first in his pyjamas) and had breakfast of three toasts with vegemite, OJ & coffee, which was followed by preparing two rounds of ham sandwiches for later in the day. Returned to packing stuff after visiting the bottle bank and found that Mike’s scales were quite variable in their performance. This meant that the distribution of the 38 kg was going to be more or less random. Threw some “really heavy” stuff (i.e. dense things like food) into the backpack and hoped for the best. Nothing much left to do by 10:00 except start listening to podcasts while waiting for the taxi. It appeared slightly ahead of time & I took my leave of Mike and took a front seat in the taxi to be able to see what was going on. Read more…
Saturday, March 4: Sunny with a few clouds about over the mountains and a string wind in the afternoon
The harder tasks were waiting this morning, as everything easier was disappearing. The library is open Saturdays from 10:00 to 3:00 so that enabled two sessions of relatively fast internet after the breakfast of OJ, two toasted cheese sandwiches and coffee had been dealt with. Met Shoko as she was waiting for her bus which would eventually take her back to Auckland. I let the spot tracker run a full course of 20 minutes, but apart from the ‘OK’ button turning off after that time, nothing much happened.
First task on the net was to get transport to the bus station, which eventually worked. Copied the bus times & destinations in Dunedin into a text file and I hope that at least that action would make me remember them. St Clair Hot Saltwater Pool looks inviting for some time next week. Read more…
Saturday, February 11: Sunny in Auckland & Christchurch, variable cloud around and fairly warm, high clouds in Invercargill
Randa’s ($50, airbnb)
For the final couple of hours I managed three episodes of Attenborough’s Planet Earth II. Nice pictures, but apart from the repetitious test to the point of being cliched, there was something worrying about Attenborough’s treatment of competition, which didn’t appear to be conceptually uniform. Nor was his use of contact clauses, by the way, with one or two being quite pithy and the remainder fell into the category of up with which I will not put.
Only really missed out on Mars, but not sure whether that would have been missing out on much. But it did occur to me that the Gemini story had led indirectly to massive improvements in civil aviation, if not civilian space travel or even space tourism. Read more…
Over the years, on buses, at motorcamps, in backpackers, I’ve stumbled across people spending their two weeks’ worth of holidays trying to see all of New Zealand, such is the call of the place desired by many. And yet here I am again, standing in front of the expanse of two months, squeezing the days into plans and realising how much there is still to do after five trips down under. But not to worry. There will be plenty of new stuff on this trip. Read more…