Saturday, April 01, 2006

Day 296 - Waipukurau - Morere, New Zealand

Day 296 – 31st March 2006 +11:00 GMT Total Miles 60009

Packed up and then sat on the decking having breakfast with spectacular views of the farm.

Me having Breakfast

Jill by our Cottage

Chatted to Greg for a while and took some fliers to help advertise his farm stay. Then we hit the road and headed North on the Highway 2. We drove until we reached Napier and here we stopped as we drove up the hill to the look out point. The lookout is situated above the docks so you can sit and watch all the large boats having the containers loaded ad unloaded, it is quite fascinating watching so much work going on below.

Napier Docks

Me at Napier View Point

We took some photo’s of the docks and the coastline and then drove to Pak N Save for a bit of wine and some food then carried on along Highway 2. After another hour or so we stopped at a picnic bench by a large river and had some lunch. The afternoon drive was slow as it was up and down through hill and mountains. We reached our destination of Morere around 3:30pm. We had a bit of trouble finding our lodgings a place called Moonlight Lodge. We followed the signs along a dirt track and came across a raging river. The track went into the river and up the other side. Jill was certain the car would not make it through the water. We pondered for 10 minutes and then decided to phone the lodge but of course there is no phone signal in most of New Zealand. So I decided to stick to 1st gear and slowly go through the water. The water came up to the top of the tyres but kept going and we were very soon on the other side. We came around the corner and were at Moonlight Lodge. We were welcomed by a very cute small dog called Socks who immediately rolls on his back and insists you rub is belly. We then met Yuki who owns the place and she showed us around, we are the only ones staying here at the moment so we had a whole 1917 farm house to ourselves. She explained that it had rained for 6 days and the river had been uncrossable until today. We choose our room and unpacked our bags. I then sat out on the balcony and read my book overlooking fields of wandering sheep. Geoff who is Yuki wife came over in the evening to say hello and have a chat. We then cooked our food and spend a good hour trying to light the open log fire, eventually I got it going and we sat around and spent the night playing trivial pursuits and drinking wine.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Day 295 - Waipukurau, New Zealand

Day 295 – 30th March 2006 +11:00 GMT Total Miles 59862

I spent the morning sitting on the decking reading my book and looking out over the countryside. I then went for a walk around the farm.

View of The Farm

Jill and I ate and then went for a walk in the countryside to the nearby lake. It was a nice walk through the farm fields and they had signposts with information about the farm every few hundred yards.

The Lake

When we got back to the room we decided to go for a drive and find the longest place name in the world. It was about a 25 Km drive to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu which means “The Place Where Tamatea The Man With The Big Knees Who Slid, Climbed And Swallowed Mountains ,Known As Landeater Played His Flute To Loved One.”

The Longest Place Name in The World

Information on The Longest Place Name in The World

We then drove to Waipukurau and did a bit of shopping and headed back to the hostel. Watched a bit of TV whilst we cooked dinner and then watched the film Underworld then got some sleep.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Day 294 - Wellington - Waipukurau, New Zealand

Day 294 – 29th March 2006 +11:00 GMT Total Miles 59798

Got up early and checked out the hostel. We headed North on Highway 2 for around 280 Km. On the journey we passed through the town where Arber Day first began. We stopped at Woodville for lunch at a small café and then carried on to Waipukurau and did some shopping and then drove south just passed a village called Wanstead. Arrived around 3pm and checked into a room which is on a sheep and cattle farm. The farm is quite literally in the middle of nowhere and has wonderful countryside views. A family also stayed at the hostel that night but other than them we were alone. WE spent the night chatting and watching TV.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Day 292 - 293, Wellington, New Zealand

Day 292 - 293 - 27th – 28th March 2006 +11:00 GMT Total Miles 59624

Booked up some hostels to go away for a couple of weeks and then headed into town to check my e-mail. Spent Tuesday morning at the Rock Climbing centre and the stopped at Te Papa on the way back for a cup of tea. As I walked in I thought I saw Tony Blair, but guessed it was someone else. So as I sat reading the paper with my cup of tea the front page article said, Tony Blair is at Te Papa today doing a speech at the climate control convention. Went back to the hostel and after eating drove out to Pak N Save with Kirsty and Thomas. We spent about an hour shopping before returning to the hostel.Packed up my bags and then played a few games of Chess and had a relatively early evening.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Day 282 - 291, Wellington, New Zealand

Day 282 - 291 - 17th – 26th March 2006 +12:00 GMT Total Miles 59608

Well it’s been another busy week in Wellington. I have applied for my Inland Revenue number, you need a tax number before you can start work. It was an easy process just fill a form in at the tax office and show them your passport and wait 10 days and you get it in the post. Walking back from the tax office we stopped at an Irish bar for a pint of Guinness as it was St. Patrick’s day. The pubs are crowded and everyone is on the streets dressed in green and having fun. On the Saturday a group of us visited the local park and as the arts festival is presently taking place in Wellington there were free bands playing.

Waiting for the Band

So we all went to see a local band called Fat Freddy’s Drop who were very good.

Fat Freddy's Drop

Fat Freddy's Drop

After the Gig

On the Sunday a few of us walked the 50 yards down from the hostel to the cricket ground as it is the 5 day test match with New Zealand playing the West Indies. So paid our $10 (yes that’s like £3.40) we opted to sit on the grass and spent the day in the sun watching New Zealand thrash the West Indies, Brian Lara was caught out in both innings for 1 run.

New Zealand v's West Indies

New Zealand v's West Indies

New Zealand v's West Indies

Spent the rest of the week either at the hostel or wandering around the city centre, we visited the cinema a couple of times, first time to see Syriana which was a good film and a cross between politics and religion in the middle east. The second time we went to the Paramount cinema and it was like sitting in someone’s living room, they have a few very small screens, the rooms are bare brick walls and above is wooden beams, the seats are very comfortable and each screen has between 30 and 50 seats. The added bonus is you can sit at your seat with a bottle of wine or a beer and it feels a very sociable night out, anyway we saw the film History of Violence which I thought was very good considering I knew nothing about the film. Jill and I decided that we would leave and travel around the North island for a few weeks before I start my Job so we looked at renting a car but it would cost around $880 so I decided to buy one. The next day I bought a 1984 Toyota Corolla for $650 (just under £250). It has 4 wheels and engine seems OK, it has just passed it’s warrant of fitness which is the MOT equivalent. So on Wednesday we will head North. As for the job, I was told that the job was mine if I want it, which is great news. I will be running a Backpackers Hostel with Jill’s help of course.
I start on my Birthday (25th April). I also get free accommodation, a large room, en-suite facilities and TV and DVD in my room. Jill and I will run the hostel together, although Jill may look for some extra part time work to top up the cash. It's only a small hostel 26 people and 11 rooms. We do not even need to do the cleaning as someone else cleans the bathrooms and kitchen. The laundry (bed covers etc) are collected each morning. So it is mostly concentrating on the bookings and banking the money and organising the DVD nights etc. It is 9am - 12pm and then 5pm - 9pm each day so the times are a bit unsocial, but when you go out at night no one leaves until after 10pm so we would not miss out on anything. Also most people staying there presently 18 are permanent i.e. staying for 3 months at a time. So no need to make beds etc each day. I spent the morning Rock Climbing at an indoor climbing centre on Friday which was real good fun and my climbing skills seemed to come back to me quite quickly, Saturday I took a drive up to the top of mount Victoria to see the amazing views and we had a quiz night at the hostel, Jill and I won which is always a good thing. On Sunday we drove to Lower Hutt and had a look around and visited the shopping mall there for some supplies.
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