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.

New Plymouth Coastal Walkway

I was about 7km away from my car when my flip-flop broke. The pavement was too hot to continue the walk barefoot, and I couldn’t find a toothpick or something similar to fix the issue.

As such, I half hopped, half awkwardly ran half a mile to the shopping mall a passer-by recommended to me.

I can’t explain what is so strange about walking barefoot in a shopping mall. Maybe the floor’s coldness was unnatural. Maybe the “no shoes, no shirt, no service” signs from my childhood had me antsy. Maybe it’s the strange texture of an escalator’s step, one which I had never felt on my bare feet.

I eventually found a surf shop, and was on my way again.

Up until that point, the walk had been a relaxing stroll by the ocean.

Even during the week, families were out. Kids were learning to ride bikes. The local surf shop was giving lessons to hopeful tourists. Paragliders were doing their thing.

From the Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, the famous Mount Taranaki can be seen.

I even saw some cool graffito (singular of graffiti?)

The trail probably finished at the Port. I was never 100% sure where the path began and ended, but I sure had a good time.

Three Sisters

Opheila was doing her best to try to navigate the wet roads. Her wipers flicked back and forth, unable to decide on a speed. A Kiwi trailed us about three feet back. The winding road meant there wouldn’t be a passing lanes for a while.

My plan was to head to New Plymouth to do the coastal walk, but I failed to check the weather. Two hours of driving in rain had been enough for me. I saw a sign leading to the Three Sisters. A physical one, that is.

I vaguely remembered reading about the Three Sisters. I can’t remember what the article said, but name recognition was enough.

As luck would have it, there is a freedom camping site right next to the beach.

The Three Sisters are only accessible (by walking along the beach) within two hours on either side of low tide. With no internet, I started walking to see if I had time. I did not. But, as I arrived early in the day, I had time to wait.

The Three Sisters are a set of large rocks stuck in the ocean. The wind and water are slowly wearing them down, but an information placard assured me that these forces of nature would also form more to replace them.

Free campsites are the best.