Putangirua Pinnacles and Lake Baths

I met a lovely Canadian/American aunt/niece pair who were, as it appeared to me, doing a Lord of the Rings tour if New Zealand. The aunt regaled me with stories of winning raffles, her former travels, and their time spent in NZ so far.

The path from the bottom led us through a wooded area up to a nice viewpoint.

The path then branched at a riverbed. Up the bed was the real main event, pillars of stone sticking out from the earth.

It reminded me a little of the Tsingy de Bemaraha in Madagascar.

The path back down was along the riverbed, partially filled we water. We hopped over small streams and eventually made it back down.

We parted and wished each other luck with the rest of our respective trips.

I made my way to a free campsite on the way to Wellington that had a nice creek. I took the chance to go swimming, as it had been days since I last showered.

There were some nice locals there with me, a family who like to go to Renaissance festivals, and an athletic family who just finished an 80k bike ride.

Tomorrow I plan on heading to Wellington and hopefully being productive before I move down to the South Island.

Cape Palliser

I woke up and made a sunrise trip to the lighthouse. I got there a little late, but the view was still magnificent. Great free place to stay.

On the drive to Cape Palliser, I passed through a town called Masterton. There must have been a strike, as teachers with signs lined the outside of the roundabouts. The signs were asking drivers to honk to show their support. A symphony of car horns rang out, and with each blare the teachers cheered. If you’re reading this teachers, I wanted to honk, but roundabouts take 100% of my concentration.

I hope they get their raise.

I made it to Cape Palliser, finishing the drive on a narrow dirt road that, at one point, passes through a creek.

The lighthouse has been operating since 1897, and it takes some 250 steps to reach the top.

Upon nearing the top, the tempest that had me wavering on the walk up now caused (I would find out) the metal guard rails to shake, creating an eerie, metallic sound. I was glad it wasn’t a banshee, like I had assumed.

What stuck me about the view from the top is the color of the water. I couldn’t tell if it was a different shade of blue than normal, or if the black sand made it appear so.

I went swimming in the (cold) ocean on my way out of the area.


I wish I had studied more about the Vietnam War.

The day began back in Woodville. I packed up early and made my way down to Castlepoint.

The town is seated between idyllic beaches, and is known for its lighthouse, operating since the early 1900s.

The trek up to the lighthouse is a nice ten minute walk.

The Deliverance Cove track, next to the parking lot, leads you on top of a massive hill overlooking the lighthouse and surrounding features (see header).

On the way, I met an older kiwi couple. The man was intent on discussing US politics, and was pleased to find me humoring him.

After I got back down, they invited me to have a beer and continue the discussion. The man had just watched a Netflix series on the Vietnam War, and had all sorts of questions for me. I did my best to answer them, though it seemed like he got more out of asking the question than listening to my answer.

I caught the sunset sharing a beer with a Czech man and a pair of French guys. The kiwi couple joined us thereafter.

Quite a friendly parking lot.

Manawatu Gorge

Five viewpoints. One closed. Four viewpoints. Twenty kilometers. Six people passed. Many, many steps. One almost twisted ankle. Four score and seven years ago.

The Gorge is a local hotspot. This was possibly the only hike I’ve done where I met more locals than tourists. I met zero other tourists.

I started the trek from the Ballance bridge, hiked 10k to the other end, then hiked back.

The hike itself wasn’t too bad. There were quite a few hills to climb, but they were always offset by long periods of flat or downhill sections.

I found an interesting metal man. His name is Whatonga, though I was thinking Ozymandias. Whatonga stands guard over the forest. He seems to be doing a good job.

The viewpoints were nice, but I was more interested in the hike itself and the greenery.

Good times.

Driving and Wind Farms

I woke up to an absolutely spectacular view.

Some friends I met last night recommended me a nice campsite about three and a half hours away.

The drive through the southwestern part of New Zealand reminded me of Texas, with more hills. Wide, open, green pastures filled with cows. NZ has more sheep per field, though (no sources).

Near the campsite, I stopped along a wind farm. A hill led to a parking area with nobody there. The hill offered a great view of the wind farm.

The cows in the header picture wandered over near me. Cows like to stare (again, no sources). I took the time to name them. Conrad was my favorite. His (her?) Eyes pierced my soul. I was too afraid to take a picture.

The campsite I am staying at is completely empty. There is a road closed sign a few hundred meters before the turn off, so I know that all the people here are rebels who don’t obey signs.