First Days on the Road

Brixham Kiwi By Brixham Kiwi, 8th Apr 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/_g279.xl/
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Oceania>New Zealand>Poverty Bay, Hawke's Bay & The Wairarapa

We are finally able to leave Foxton and embark on our journey - no plans, just follow our noses

Sweet As...

Well, having had a truly SPICTICULAR Christmas we are now looking forward to an AWESOME New Year because, at last, we’re on the road! To beef ear I suppose when Steve said shelby right he didn’t actually specify when exactly! Anyway, we headed north to Wanganui (Wonganui) to friends, Pete and Robin, who have invited us to stay for Christmas. They have a very nice POP site (Park Over Property – safe overnight parking for NZMCA members) overlooking the river, although we lodged in their drive whilst tidying things away – a place for everything and everything in its place! We have spent a fortune on plastic boxes and hooks and straps and are just about sorted.

Our ears and eyes are becoming adjusted to NZ oddities – I have even started reading road signs the correct way i.e. Give Way instead of Way Give. We still find it amusing that everything you do, like giving the correct change or holding the door open is “awesome”, especially amongst the younger Kiwi’s but I suppose it is a bit like “cool” and “excellent” used in the same way at home.

The weather is getting warmer and we made use of Pete and Robin’s hot tub. We stayed with them for Christmas and had a very nice meal – lazing in the garden for the afternoon. On Boxing Day we set off towards Hastings much of it down an unsealed road, through a pass called Gentle Annie which wound its way through forests and mountains. We stayed the night in a grassy meadow above a deep river. The following day we set off, having set our new SatNav for Te Awanga (Tay Awonga) near Hastings. Of course the trouble with SatNav is that if you spot something interesting down a side road, as we did, and decide to take a sudden detour the poor woman gets rather agitated “make a U-Turn”, “make a U-Turn” and as we drove deeper into the forest finally giving up speaking to us and imploring us, at the bottom of the screen, to “find the nearest road”, while the little arrow just showed our direction in a mass of green, not even a track shown. We had taken the road because it said “Lake Car Park” – it was about 6km down the track and the lakes were a good 30 minute walk past that. Do you know we didn’t have to fill out a health questionnaire, nobody had “risk assessed” the walk in spite of many trip hazards, low hanging branches etc, there were no walk leaders, back leaders, side leaders or upside-down leaders and yet we managed to get there and back all on our own – I’m amazed we are alive to tell the tale!

Anyway, we eventually arrived at Te Awanga – a huge area right on the beach where you can park up for free and we are currently on our second night – it is very social, lots of chat and drinks in the early evening. The next day we headed off to Napier - New Zealand's Art Deco town.

Napier is a lovely place - long, long beach with walkways and cycle tracks for miles; the town itself is interesting with many Art Deco buildings and some good shops but boy did it rain! We did get the bikes down as we had to park a little way out of town, and cycled into the centre as the heavens opened. So, we parked the bikes up and went to visit the museum and learn all about the devastating earthquake that hit Napier and Hastings in 1931 when 256 people were killed and both cities badly damaged. There was a room where you could actually experience an "earthquake" - very unsettling.

A Loaded Bertie

The Portabote arrive last week – it really is amazingly neat the way it folds up to the size of a large surfboard – however, it also comes with a bag of similar size containing the thwarts, seating and oars; it is all now on the roof of Bertie and the bikes are on the back – we look really sporty (as long as we are inside....)!

A Lazy New Year

All of a sudden it is New Year. Last year we spent it cocooned in a Kauri forest, searching for Kiwis (the bird, not native New Zealanders...) by the light of red-shaded torches and ended up getting lost in the forest! What could beat that. Well as we left Napier and checked the map we found a peninsula called Mahia. It was glorious, narrow winding roads, little sandy coves. We found a POP site attached to the Mahia Cafe which was a delight an had a couple of nights there before setting off up the coast again; nice flat parking, lovely views over the coastline, good food if we tired of cooking for ourselves and wonderful showers. We obviously have a shower in Bertie but because of water constraints (we carry 100 litres) it is lovely to have a "proper" shower now and then. The weather was hot hot hot and we spent New Year's Eve cycling along the coast, stopping every now and again for a swim and sunbathe. We got back to the bus just before sunset, had a lovely meal in the Cafe and then.... went to bed, too tired to see New Year in!
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Comments

author avatar Lisette
7th Aug 2012 (#)

Very interesting blog. Gives a view of life on the road!

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