Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Great Wet North

We are now on the North Island. We rounded out the Wwoofing experince in Blenheim with an awesome homemade pizza and a ridiculous amount of baking. The idea was to make all this food so that we could take it with us on the road, as well as a cake for Pam who had her birthday the day we left. We packed up the van, and headed off to the ferry early Sunday morning. Unfortunately, we left all of the food we made in the fridge, along with some wine Pam and David gave us, chocolate, and cauliflower. Shit. We were feeling very at home on the farm, and it was hard to leave, but this is a trip, and it would be awfully pathetic if we visited NZ for 5 months and missed the north island. 


The ferry ride to the North Island was nice, but fell short of the “holiday at sea” it was supposed to be. It felt more like a ferry. Cruising out of the sounds was great, and a waterfront view of Wellington was worthwhile. We drove off the boat and went straight to Te Papa, an awesome museum of all that is New Zealand. The marine life exhibits are especially great. I was having a bit of trouble adjusting to city life after the two farms and very rural south. As we were walking around Wellington, I unceremoniously put down an injured and very sick pigeon with a well placed heel to the head. This didn’t go over well with the couple who were coming to “rescue” it. The pigeon didn’t help the situation by flapping around quite a bit despite being dead, nor did the surprising amount of blood that issued from its mangled carotid. Anyway, we walked away quickly, and managed not to get arrested.


That night we stayed with a friend of a friend in Wellington, which was great, and headed off in the morning to the Tararuas, a mountain range just north of Wellington. We did a quick hike up a very steep ridge to Table top mountain, and stayed overnight at a historic hut. We met a very nice Kiwi and Australian, who gave us all sorts of good tips for the north island and made us scared of swimming in the ocean in Australia by telling us about all the deadly things over there. The trip was very wet, and the mountain shrouded in clouds, so the views only consisted of about 20 m in front of us, but it was still great. The steep descent was very quick, and we had enough time in the day to go to Wanganui and find a nice beach to sleep on.


The beach is covered in pumice, which is a good indicator that the volcanoes around are not just for show. The sunset was beautiful and such a nice way to finish off a long day. A few of the local fisherman warned us of rough types that come around in the night. As we were just getting into bed a car full of teenagers pulled up and we chatted to them about New Zealand as they smoked dope and drank. Kelly and I abstained despite their protests. We covered all sort of topics. Did you know that “hot knives” are called “spots”, and dime bags are tinnies? I didn’t. But they were nice… if these are the rough types around, then I don’t think we need to worry.

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The plan was to quickly head into town in the morning, buy some new shoes (our old ones are basically falling apart), and climb up Mt. Taranaki. Unfortunately, gale force winds are being forecast, so we are going to wait a few days and give it a go. This leaves us with lots of time to see the coast in this area, and also to catch up on the blog. Wanaganui is a lovely town, and it is nice just walking around. Our next blog should chronicle our ascent of a real volcano, Taranaki, in a few days… woooo!

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