Te Waikoropupu Springs

I woke up and saw a goat grazing in the small patch of grass next to my van. The goat belonged to a few hippie-types who had made the campground their home base.

One from the group was arrested yesterday for refusing to show up to court. The others cleared out shortly thereafter.

As they left, they bequeathed myself and a Canadian their couch. We set the couch up near the bridge underpass, and took turns playing guitar. We were joined by a few guys from Austria whose were content to listen to our conversation.

The Canadian was more intent on getting a girlfriend more than anything, playing louder and more difficult stuff when any women were near.

The next day, I headed to the springs, intent on at least stretching my legs today. I didn’t see a single person the entire time I was out there.

The loop is only a kilometer, so I walked it three times.

Signs signal that the water is sacred and should not be touched or ingested.

I took the rest of the day relaxing and recovering.

Abel Tasmen and More Rain

I decided against doing the three day hike all the way across for a few different reasons:

  1. After getting my car fixed, the price to stay at the campsites, as well as transportation back would be too much.
  2. The rain. Oh the rain.
  3. The Department of Conservation doubled prices for international visitors this season as a “trial run” with the new prices, and I don’t want to be responsible for raising prices for everyone.

So, instead, I decided to park at one end, hike 15k in, then hike back. Then, the next day, go to the other end, hike 15k in and back.

I am not sure how much of the park I missed, but I loved what I saw! I feel as though there are many free places in New Zealand almost as good to see, though.

From the Marahau parking lot, I went just past the Anchorage stop, with all the side roads in between. It was raining pretty much the entire day I was there, alternating between refreshing sprinkles and downpour.

From the Wainui parking lot, you can make it to the Separation Point Lighthouse and back fairly easily in one day. There were some seals playing around on the rocks when I was spending time at the lighthouse. My phone’s zoom wasn’t good enough to get a picture, but rest assured they were there.

New Zealand is an expensive country to travel around, but it can be done cheaply. Unfortunately, I doubt it will be possible in a few years. The Department of Conservation, as well as private campsites, have been raising prices steadily for the last year or so as more people travel here.

Although we don’t travel abroad much in the States, the massive amount of backpackers here (myself included) is causing strain on both the people and the government. Some cities have sought to outlaw freedom camping completely. It will be interesting to see what happens with the country, but I will say that I am happy to have gotten here before it becomes impossible to travel cheaply.

Takaka Hills and Rain

In total, it took about a week and $800NZ to get my car fixed.

As soon as I got the OK, I booked the quickest ferry down to the South Island, ready to distance myself from Upper Hut and the memories made there.

I stopped for supplies in Picton, and made my way west.

The first thing I noticed about the South Island is the fact that I want to stop at every single viewpoint to look at the landscape.  I am still in the northern part, and it still feels like the end of the earth.

Like the North Island, the rain has been unrelenting.  The weather forecast still shows rain the next ten days straight.

I made my way up the winding road to a walk near Takaka Hills.  This has been one of my favorite walks so far.  The weather was uncooperative, but that made the view even better.

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The rocks were a spectacular shade of gray, and the mist on the mountaintop made for a unique view.

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I was alone that day, apart from an older British couple who got lost on their way to the top.  I wondered if they had any part in stacking the stones I found at the top.

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I spent far more time at the top than I figured I would.  I like the fog, I guess.

Camp Hikes and More Car Troubles

Tomorrow will be day 5 doing car things. It should be the last day, but I never count my chickens in a basket, as they say.

In the meantime, I have enjoyed being at the Belmont Regional Park campsite. Good people and steep walks here. One of which leads up to Boulder Hill.

It’s a steep 4.2km jot up to the top, where you are metaphorically greeted by fields of sheepen (to use the house rule Catan term). You are also able to see the coast, not unlike every other place in New Zealand.

The trek down is the same length, but goes about five times as fast.

Next to the campsite is where you find “Helm’s Deep” from Lord of the Rings. Luckily I didn’t notice until someone told me that it really isn’t worth it, as it is just a quarry now.

I feel as though I haven’t given Wellington it’s fair share of my time, but I am ready to be down to the South Island. Also, I am hemorrhaging money.

Night Fires and Car Troubles

Felix and I were hanging around beside the flame of the campfire, rain pouring down on us. I was surprised to see the fire still burning strong, despite mother nature’s attempts. We had decided to have a bbq, despite having little in the way of bbq-able foods. I brought rice and some still unripe avocados, Felix brought some broccoli. We smothered the food with bbq sauce, and it ended up palatable.

The weather had been bad for the past week, and the bad weather is supposed to continue for the next few weeks. This, combined with the $800 bill to fix my car, had left me a bit uneasy. Two guys trying to make a bbq work against all odds was what I needed.

I’ve spent the last three days or so trying to get my Wof (Warrent of Fitness) for my car. Turns out, there was a lot wrong with it: two tires that needed to be replaced, a chip in the windshield to be repaired, a new strut, and some other small problems. Four different locations, four days, and $800 seems to have fixed the problem, but I have yet to do my second inspection. I don’t know if my heart or wallet could take another fail.

Once I get the all-clear from VTNZ, I will either spend a day or two more in Wellington, or just head down to the South Island.

After the cost to get the car fixed, I am going to have to find another job soon.

That’s ok though, just another opportunity to learn something new and meet new people.