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…
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…
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…
Friday, March 24: Cloudy pretty much the whole day
Jugglers’ Rest, 8 Canterbury St., Picton, double room as single ($60, BBH)
The alarm actually went off @ 7:00 and the rest of the stuff was fairly easily packed away into two backpacks, the smaller one with the computer and the clothes, so that will be the satellite for this tour. Genie was up somewhat later and I had found everything for breakfast before she appeared for a shower. I gave her a copy of the book and after a short discussion of the room I grabbed my stuff, packed it into her car and we were at the bus stop @ around 8:45.
The bus driver was already loading passengers so I immediately had my stuff stowed away and chose a seat up front for the journey, and started on consuming some now month old podcasts. A couple of extra stops around town netted very few extra passengers and it was only after that were we onto the main road, some corners of which I actually recognised from 2009 or 2013. A bit of construction work along the way and the stop in Blenheim was very short. We were just a bit late into Picton. Read more…
Breakfast at Genie’s was muesli & yoghurt; I had found some instant coffee and made my own, and the toast was first defrosted in the toaster before appearing for a dressing of vegemite. I started working on: Getting transport to and from Picton, accommodation there, all the while waiting for confirmation from Marlborough Sounds Adventures whether they were going to let us have a boat.
Genie’s car needed a new battery, but before that comes about she called the AA for a jump start and took me down to town where I started off trying to collect information about the campsites around the Sound. Seems that there are plenty, and we should have enough time to find another if one is full. It was the same bloke who had given me the tip of using Tapawera Settle on the way off the Wangapeka Track and I used the opportunity to thank him for it. 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…
Tuesday, March 7: Sunny to begin with, but cold, later changeable with a couple of showers, strong winds in the afternoon
Waking time was a little closer to 8:00 this morning and since at least the sun was shining, even though it was a little chilly I decided that the Botanic Gardens, which are just opposite, might make a reasonable occupation for a couple of hours, as well as provide some opportunity for photography.
Headed for the aviary for the first stop but the cages were quite depressing, especially seeing kaka and kea all cooped up, as well as some of the more spectacular Australian and South American birds. After that the fare was more run of the mill, except that in the glasshouse I had to wait for a bit for the camera to warm up to the physical temperature as the lens was steaming up. Read more…