In these blog posts you are following the Kiwidutch adventures of our recent trip to Christchurch, New Zealand, made in December 2011-Janurary 2012.
But not everyone we want to see …this trip lives in Christchurch… several of them live in the North Island of New Zealand.
One of our friends suffers from a degenerative medical condition that means he isn’t allowed to fly and travel in general is difficult, he and his wife are in Wainuiamata just outside of Wellington and they welcome us with open arms, big smiles and hospitality unmatched, their only complaint being that we never stay long enough.
Sadly our time in New Zealand is always limited and we do our best to get to see them if we can.
This time our visits to Wainuiamata will be fleeting as we are also on our way to see friends and family in the far north of the North Island.
We could have flown to Wellington and then to Auckland and then hired a car to go to Northland, but it seems that any cheap airfares are long gone due to the school holiday/Christmas/ high summer season so it’s worked out cheaper to take the van we hired from Teddy in Christchurch, across the Cook Straight on the ferry and drive to the top of the North Island and back.
Himself and I set about plotting a course for our road trip, he has a few places he’s curious to visit and I’d like to revisit a few paces that I have fond memories of but haven’t seen since I was fifteen years old.
We could do most of the North Island in a day, maybe two’s solid driving, but with my foot still not recovered I can’t help out with the driving and it’s not wise for Himself to drive so far without breaks.
I also can’t sit all day with my foot down without it swelling so instead we aim to allow four days to get from Wellington to Auckland and to take a more scenic route that would allow us to explore a few nice places on the way and do it leisurely with rest breaks.
We will take a different route back to Wellington but also over four days.
It’s both a positive point and a negative one that New Zealand’s State Highway 1 that runs the entire length of the country is not a wide staright steamlined motorway, but rather for 98% consists of one lane each way that winds up and down hills, around valleys and coastlines.
This means that kilometre distances on the map might bear little realation to the time you may think you need to get to get from one place to another, it’s entirely possible that 300 kms could well be many hours driving.
OK, if you are a truck making long haul deliveries it’s hardly handy, but goodness knows the views are magnificently and stunningly better than any of the world’s muilti-laned mega highways where you only get to see up the backsides of massive semi-trailors and endless streams of cars.
So.. of course if we want to get to the North Island with our van, we first need to reach Picton and from Christchurch there’s only one real option (unless you want to detour all the way inland and then back again) … we need to get onto State Highway 1.
So… this is the start of Kiwidutch’s “tour within a tour”…
…we have freshly podded peas for nibbles, a chilly-bin ( a.k.a. eski/cooler) in the back, a full tank of petrol and and early start.
Kiwi Daughter and I both get car-sick so we envision a decent add-on time necessary for frequent anti-wobbly stomach stops and our Ferry booking is for around 6.00 p.m. so we hit the road in beautiful sunshine a few minutes after 9.00 a.m.
Let’s go see New Zealand!