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Experimentation… 21 November, 2005

Posted by Ian in Not categorized.

So I’ve used WordPress on my own website in the past, but I haven’t done much with it but get in trouble as well as frustrutate myself with it’s configuration.  (Not that it’s WordPress’s fault… I was just lazy last time I tried it)

Anyway… I’m thinking I’ll finally get around to posting my travel journal from New Zealand on here.  I’ll do a little linking over to Flickr and end up making the whole thing come together.



Shelter Rock Hut to Dart Hut 25 February, 2005

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There are points where I’ve got detailed narrative, but it jumps throughout the day, so I’ll fill in with the details I can remember to make this section of track more connected.

I woke at a reasonable hour, some time around sunrise. I remember cooking something warm for breakfast, but I don’t know what exactly. None of my warm meals were very memorable. I can recall looking out the window of the kitchen and seeing the young German woman leaving well ahead of the rest. I also remember how flat and easy the terrian looked from the hut window. There was lots of loose rock and the trail was only barely visible because of it, but it simply didn’t look too tough.


New Shelter Rock Hut (cont) 24 February, 2005

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Again, this day is covered through a series of talking points, so I’ll craft sentences from them instead of giving you the hacked up version. These points were written while sitting in the common room of the New Shelter Rock Hut on the Rees-Dart track – my first night on the track.

I woke up at David’s and packed my bag up as quietly as I could. I removed the items I thought I wouldn’t need – things like the road map or my bulky toiletries that I had purchased in Kaitia. Now that I had my pack, I could use the smaller items that were intended for this trip. I did not, however, take my thermarest or tent out – I figured I would use them at least once because I wasn’t sure about the huts. I worried that they would either be full or just rotten – either way, I was going to be prepared. I came to regret this prepardedness.

Moving on – I removed some weight/space and shouldered my pack. I slipped out the door and headed down the road. It was just a little while after sunrise and the mountains on the far side of the lake were lit up in the glow of the early morning sun. The air was crisp, clean and quiet. The sealed road beneath my feet wasn’t necessarily comfortable, but the idea of carrying my pack toward the track was a lovely idea.


New Shelter Rock Hut 24 February, 2005

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This day is really covered in my journal by a series of talking points/reminders. Instead of catloging those, I”ll write complete sentences using that list. It was written while I was in the New Shelter Rock Hut on the Rees-Dart track for my first night.

Wednesday (23rd) was a very rushed day…

Rachel had dropped me off in Orewa on Tuesday night before she headed into the labrinyth of the Auckland suburbs. She had visited Orewa during her travels and knew that I could get a bus from here into the big city. We said a goodbyes, although a little more rushed than I probably should have. I ran over after securing my room, but before the guy showed me around – they were both waiting on me and I thought Rachel would want to leave before the tour finished. Maybe she did, but I still regret not really saying a decent goodbye to her.

Anyway, I found an internet cafe and spent a few hours researching bus schedules as well as writing some emails. I felt pretty lost with Rachel being there since she’d been my guide the previous two days. It was amusing – gaining so much independence in the beginning by not having my pack, and then feeling so lost after picking up two days with a stranger. I didn’t eat very well that night – I think just some more trail mix, because I didn’t care to go to the one thing I could find open – McDonald’s.

I crawled into my dark room where my roommate was asleep. I slid onto the bed without a sheet or a blanket. I slipped into a fitful sleep, worried about the time and rather cold. I had been hot in Kaitai and Phiai, but now I was getting quite a chill. Finally 5am come along and I slid out of the room. I crept across the courtyard to what I figured had to be the bathrooms. I washed up and headed down the road using a map that the young man running the hostel gave me. (more…)

Flying to Queenstown (j) 23 February, 2005

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Written on the plane to Queenstown.

We picked up our film an hour later.  Halfway though the wait we moved the car since it was only 30 minute parking.  The pictures turned out nice.  The shop, though, didn’t put the borders on which upset Rachel a good bit over time.  Shortly after picking them up we headed out of town.

We drove [to] Oapu and got the car ferry to Russell.  She’d been told about a great beach by a guy in the hostel so we turned away from the town and headed out.

We drove for ages it seemed.  Poor Rachel was in a sour mood, her mind racing about all the things to come in Southeast Asia.  She needed padlocks & a mozzie net.  A chain, too.  She had expected Charlie [(her friend that had been travelling with her)] to be with her for the whole trip and now she was at it alone.

I did my best to put a smile on her, but shes as bad as me when I start thinking.


Orewa – Auckland (j) 23 February, 2005

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[I’m] on the AirBus to the airport in Auckland.  I’ve been up since 5am.  Catching up…

Walked back to the hostel [after watching the sunrise] & ate 3 pieces of free toast.  I showered properly and brushed my teeth.  Then I sat in the courtyard updating my journal and waiting on the manager.

When he came in, I checked out.

But I forgot.  Before breakfast I called the airport and finally spoke to someone!  She told me they had a note that I’d come to the airport to pick [my pack] up. Then I called Mom & Susan to let them know where I was.  Neither of them said anything much about my detour, which I found amusing.  There was a bad storm at home and I lost connection with mom’s cell [phone] once.

Back to the hostel I checked out and walked toward Rachel’s hostel.  It was a bit further than I remembered, sending me around a bluff.  It wasn’t terrible though & I found a nice spot near the beach to wait.

I saw her loading up the car after sitting (and writing) for about 20 minutes.  I walked up the road and we headed out.

We stopped at the strip mall & dropped out film at the 1 hour.  Then we wandered around shopping.  I picked up some postcards.  1 for Jamie & 1 for Mom & Dad.  Rachel sent a few – her gran, her mum & dad, and her boss.

Whangarei (j) 22 February, 2005

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So we’re at the hospital for Rachel to do an interview sort of thing.

Backing up though…

She dropped me back at the Pickled Parrot and [I] headed into my room.  There were two girls and a guy.  They were all together & I chatted with the girls about the [Cape] tour [that] I’d just been on since they were looking the brochure.

I headed to the shower, but only remember to carry my towel.  I didn’t care, though – the water was plenty to clear the sand off.

Once I finished I headed to bed.

Before I continue, I should describe this place.

You walk [in] from the gravel car park into a garden coutryard.  Its about 20ft wide including the deck that 6ft by a good bit long – 50ft?  There was a fire being stoked by the owner, plus music from his radio.  When I first arrived there were tons of people about.

The owner gave me a tour, which must be standard to every hostel of course.  Next to the office was the phone, then the toilets/showers.  Then laundry, then the kitchen.  Breakfast was free from 7-9.  Internet was available.  Then 2 doors down was my room – “Kiwi House.”

It was hot on the top bunk even though I was down to my boxers and a thin sheet.

I made it to sleep eventually, but woke somewhere around what must have been 4am.  I guess I got in around 10.  I tossed and slept a bit.

Eventually I could see some light coming into the sky, so I got up & dressed.  I slipped out with my bag and headed to the beach.

Along the way I met a man and his two dogs.  The dogs were perfectly trained.  They stayed on the sidewalk until he checked the traffic and said “ok, cross now.”  They walked up the beach for sunrise – how cool is that??

It was on a bench at the beach that I wrote this morning.  I watched the sunrise over the Pacific Ocean.  All by myself on a beach in Piahia.  It wasn’t quite a tramping experience, but it was pretty cool.

I took a number of pictures of the sunrise, the tide coming in and people headed to their boats to start their days.

Paihia continued 2 (j) 22 February, 2005

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Checked out [of my hostel] & walked to Rachel’s [hostel].

So we kept travelling, talking about all sorts of things – work, life, love, etc.  We swapped long winded tangent plauged stories for hours, stopping often or taking random turns down scenic drives.  I was very happy to have taken up with this stranger!

So we got to Paihia around 8:30pm.  She had booked a room at Capn’ Bob’s and when we arrived they had no vacancies.  The lady at the desk was nice enough to call around and find me a bed – at the Pickled Parrot!

So we drove to the other end of town and secured my room for the night.  $24 for the last dorm bed.  i told the owner my the story of my missing pack and got a sheet & towel from him.

Back to the car for Fish & Chips that Rachel was craving.  Unfortunately, being just after 9pm, everyone was closing up, so we weren’t able to get any.

Pihia continued (j) 22 February, 2005

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Ran off, made some calls, showered.

Anyway, we ended up at the Kaori Kingdom again so Willie could wash the bus.  There was a restaurant beside it so I grabbed some water and watched the Brit have Cornish tea.

A biscuit covered in cream & jam plus tea with milk.  We chatted at a table.  [I] found out she was a midwife on a 6 month holiday.  She was close to 3 months in NZ and leaves Thursday for Vietnam, then Thailand.

We headed out from there and I figured I’d catch her before we all parted ways and exchange email addresses.  Maybe I’d even ask her if I could tag along.

That was all foiled when she and the Dutch lady got off before me, 5 minutes [drive] up the road [from my hostel].

I got off the bus at the hostel and nearly immediately headed up the road.  A number of times I gave up and ended up spinning around in circles.  I watched every car go by thinking she might pass me, but no luck.  Finally I committed to giving up, and headed toward the hostel.

Just before I got there, she pulled up beside me!  I told her that I had been going to look for her to see if she had wanted a companion for her travels.  Without a pause she said yes.

I went back to the office and checked to see if my pack had showed up, which it hadn’t.  Then I grabbed my little bag and my box, I told Kerry’s [(the hostel manager)] daugther that I was leaving town and to tell the airline to keep my bag at the airport.

Then I jumped in the car with the Brit girl.  A minute in, I introduced myself!  She was Rachel.

We turned right onto [State] Highway 1 and drove off.  Up a bit then right on 10.  We saw Cable Bay and then went to Coopers Beach.  She took a swim to get rid of sand she’d collected on the dunes.

There were tons of trees along the beach and she explained they were NZ Christmas trees because they bloomed a red flower at Christmas time.

Pihia (j) 22 February, 2005

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I’m in Pihia.  That wasn’t on my list originally!  I guess I should catch up first.

The tour was fun.  Willie [(the tour bus driver)] drove us on the small bus.  [(A minibus, as opposed to a full-sized coach bus)].  1 older dutch woman, an older British couple, an American man, four Japanese twenty-somethings, a British 20ish [woman], and me.  First to the Kaori Kingdom where we saw furniture made from giant trees.

Then with another little stop to buy postcards, we stopped at a bay to eat lunch.  Tapa-something.  This was meant to be my final campsite on the tramp so I asked Willie about it.

He gave me great information.  Where to buy clothes if my bag didn’t turn up, where to buy the stove fuel, and stuff about the track.

After lunch came the Cape. (more…)