Mt Somers, New Zealand (13th Mar 2008)
Dunedin to Mt Somers via Twizel
Driver: MarkDistance Travelled: 480.1 Km / 298.4 Miles
Accumulative Distance: 2478.8 Km / 1540.6 Miles
After what we had planned to be an early start, we were eventually on the road taking us back north at around nine. We had a quick stop off in the town centre to use the internet and freshen up and then we were off.
The drive wasn't the most eventful we have ever experienced but Kara livened things up thirty minutes in by snapping her glasses in two , unintentionally of course, she was only bending them slightly like she had done a hundred times already to make them fit her face better but this time she pushed them too far and they snapped clean out of her hands. Not wanting Kara to be without glasses as she couldn't read the road signs without them, Mark set about doing a bit of a DIY job on them to which the outcome resembled something Jack Duckworth might wear on his face, not exactly a good luck but still good enough to still be able to see out of!
We thought the drive might be livened up by two tourist stops we knew were along the way, Moeraki Boulders and Maori Rock Drawings. For the first of the two, Moeraki Boulders we drove down a short dirt track to a car park where a sign told us the boulders were a 300 metre walk along the beach, totally do-able! I don't know what we were expecting but it certainly wasn't swarms of people surrounding what were essentially, big rocks sticking out of the sea right near the shore. We didn't even get too close as there were just too many people, still it was good to get out of the van and get a bit of fresh air.
Our second stop came about an hour later and left us feeling just the same. The cave edge that is home to the Maori drawings was far more impressive than the drawings themselves as a lot of them had been removed or had faded quite a lot and the rest bore an uncanny resemblance to a Crayola sketch a child might have done...maybe we weren't at a very good site and some of the other ones might have more to offer.
Pretty soon we reached the small town of Twizel that we were all ready to drive straight through until we saw 'Campers Paradise', washing machines, dryers, showers, computers and plug sockets all under one roof, heaven! So that was pretty much our afternoon gone, a washing load, shower and internet time later we were ready to find somewhere to set up camp for the night. Rather than stay in Twizel we decided to keep on driving towards Lake Tekapo so to take some miles off the next day driving as it was looking to be over 400 kilometres. Just as we left Twizel we pulled over for a while at Lake Pukaki as we caught our first glimpse of Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain, across the lake and as the sun was just starting to set we thought it the perfect opportunity to get a good photo. After numerous failed attempts to get a photo of us together with the camera on timer, a fellow traveller came to our rescue and offered to take one for us, obviously having seen us struggling!
Before the sun completely set we were off in the van again, this time determined to make it to Lake Tekapo only when we got there we found there was no-where to park up so again we carried on in the van. We eventually found a small picnic spot not too far out of town and made ourselves some tea. Mark had treated himself to some Chinese Honey Sausages as he was bored of the usual tins of beans and sausages to it was sausage butties for Mark for tea and boring old soup for Kara. By eight thirty we were all done but didn't feel tired at all so Mark came up with bright idea of carrying on driving into the night, making tomorrow's destination even closer. Kara really wasn't keen at first but soon came round to the idea, just to keep the peace so we made up the bed ready for when we finally did stop and got back on the road again.
It was strange as it was the first time we had driven at night and with no road lights anywhere and all the towns we did drive through resembling ghost towns it was quite an eerie experience. Our nerves weren't given a break as an hour into the ninety minute drive Mark to severely swerve at the last minute to avoid a big fat possum that was just happily sat in the middle of the road, now we realise just why there is so much fresh road kill on the roads each day. Around ten thirty we finally pulled over just outside a town called Geraldine and near Mount Summers where we quickly crawled into the back of the van and went straight to sleep.