Acceptable in the 80's
Kaikoura x 1, Picton x 2, Nelson x 1
I am now officially a bus w***er!
Trams are no more (soz) and all public transport pleasure is gained from the fine luxury coach travel I will be participating in for the next month. (just waiting on Brandon and the film crew).
However trying to find said coach was the first dilemma in the next phase of the big adventure.
After kindly offering to drop me off at the airport (the place for all coach departures) Kiverton boy narrowly avoided causing coach calamity after parking in front of the coach barrier; kiwis don't have car insurance but they do have horns!
I then attempted to rely on two, 18 going- on -12 -year -olds to direct me to which stop in this mammoth coach park I needed to be. Of course they didn't know (fresh from the plane/ womb).
Together myself and the kids, shortly followed by ginger nut (Southampton, 26 club, yay!) decided to loiter in the middle of the generic departure path (not at all blocking everyone rushing to catch planes) until our coach could be spied... Which hopefully would be big and orange and advertise Stray really largely on the side... Oh look at that it does!
Fortunately our driver didn't subscribe to kiwi time; being the first stop I would hope not, so after being joined by Gandolf (Hull bird, 26 club yay x2) we headed on the short and sweet 2hr journey to Kaikoura. Singing along to classic 80's rock, stretching out on the back seat and general coach merriment... So far so good.
Kaikoura in Moari means
Food/ meal of crayfish (tour guide what now?) because yeah you guessed it - it's famous for crayfish to eat .......And whales (fact: NZ don't eat whales)
Not truely understanding what a crayfish was/ is (little lobster big langoustine??) I planned my afternoon to be dedicated to spying on the whales David Attenborough style.
It was a spectacularly sunny day (best NZ yet) and after a lazy stroll through Kaikoura (it's says town but means street), The 26 club headed to go watch the whales in their natural habitat... Requiring a boat (naturally).
However at el boat departure point, Mr Capatain was keen to smash our whale spying dreams; apparently the sea was too rough... For boats and whales.
Staring out at the smooth sea, barely a ripple in sight I was all ready to commandeer a boat myself....and whack the captain.
Mmm What does one do in Kaikoura when whales and crayfish are no longer an option? (Sea not to rough for crayfish that boat had sailed long ago...)
Despondent, we did as all mature 26 year olds do and went to play on the beach and eat awesome (gigantic) icecreams....
Kaikoura is a pebble beach but unlike those that waterholes and cement pits which line the English east coast these are giant (hot stone massage type) pebbles.
After attempting to skim stones (and failing) I am starting to accept of if I can't do it in England I can't do it full stop.
A few perilous moments followed when I nearly lost my (mountain goat) balance; pebbles- no incline-3ft deep drop- water - Sea- Head first- sea spack. So erring on the side of precaution I moved away from the sea, whilst Gandolf was sea spaccy enough for the both of us with her stick! (jealous really G ;)
However my cynicism against the good captain was to be proved wrong when the weather flipped. Literally. In the space of 5 minutes.
gale force winds screamed around the bay. waves leaped up the beach. Crazy. We'd gone from basking seal style to hair whipping ala mini smith.
Not one to be deterred by a good strong wind I was happy with the light whipping, however the rest of club 26 aren't so special, so we headed for the relative protection of the beer garden.
Following an afternoon of lazy shagging; that's the local beers... and local bird, (feathered variety not sheff lingo) we headed back to The Lazy shag hostel for dinner. BTW shag is only funny to the English... And the immature.
The 26 club cemented friendship over a veggie tea (YES!! I can't do it in England but can in NZ).
And meat eater... (But not bacon... Fell out with bacon)
The start of my demise into a vegan hippie traveller has begun (rival Peg)
My night at lazy shag-inn was a pleasant enough experience for me ...not for the roomies. Full of cold my marathon sneeze sessions sent the bunk bed into full on sway. It's crap being on holiday when your ill and it's even crapper when this illness is attributed to either
1: the despised airports/ plane air con
2: kiwian failure to understand central heating. It's 2014. [email protected] coatsarenot validbedattire.
3: dirty foreigner lying when he said Kiwis don't have central heating....
Wednesday morning and the 26 club were to be separated (already!) with my fellow old timers deciding to give the whales a second chance (I'm not so forgiving... & have seen whales in action before) so after an emotional goodbye I hopped back on the coach.to sit with the children.at the front. :(
Picton was the next stop; original coach massive (approx 28) quickly reduced to 4....(me, Amalie and L.A honeymooning dodgeballers) most of the strayers having completed the South Island were heading up North (to the sun- I know weird right).
Picton doesn't entertain shagging birds (well it does but doesn't advertise as so) and my hostel for the evening was the quaint and cute Villa ( a must stay) wooden huts circled around a hot tub, tree house and hammocks- what's not to love.
Being the ultra fit avid cycler I now am (most definitely not) collecting a bike; Max.bmx.free.yayhostel, I decided to take the advice of 'deputy Villa manager and all round nice guy' Mr Seatbelt; and take the 'lovely trip' up to Waikiua point.
Lovely it was not. On the map it was flat. on the road it looked flat. It was not flat.
One hell of a 16km cliff side cycle later (uphill bends are deceiving) I had made it to Waikiua Point.
Thoughout my uphill struggle I experienced a few pointed stares from Pictorians; initially putting this down to Helmet (compulsory) then bag tied to my back with bright pink scarf ala African baby style (twat); it was only 40 mins in I was notified by a honest Italian pointing out the boobs were making a bid for freedom...say hello to my nipples school children ;)
The view from the peninsular point was fabulous... And definately worth the exertion and my dignity... Cloudless sky and bright sun shone down upon the Picton bay and mountain sides. I also discovered the side camera photo button so rents you can have your selfies (with scenery).
However if I thought my epic bike struggle was over and it would be all downhill (literally) from this point... I was wrong...
That great tease of NZ weather swiftly brought in the rolling winds (its like the pirates omen from POTC) and naturally this wind was blowing against me on my down hill free fall. Strong winds. Pushing me backwards.meaning I needed to peddle. Downhill. Stupid brake wire. Slashed my legs. Look like a failed self harmer. Bike winner!
That night, after declining the hot tub with attractive Netherlandish sorts (damn cold) myself and roomies Hannah Montana and Amalie set about trying to perk up the sleepy town. A few bottles of red and a fire later and we had quite the little gathering in the villa courtyard.
We even ventured to the local Irish bar (1 of 3 bars... Only one open); overran with Aussie Youths learning to bush walk (actual degree in this) for a night of NZ firsts:
I learnt to hit the dart board
I allowed a youth to buy me a beverage (not captain cockblock style)
I had my first otherside of the world shot (tequila not Bucca)
Prior to our arrival A Fagen male (aged 52) had spent the evening piling said Aussie youths with alcohol; which he then piled on us (Gilmore I have met your American twin!)
No strings attached...
Pure alcohol generosity.....
Apparently people in New Zealand are just nice....
Although I'm trying to reign in the spends (this is not a holiday this is not a holiday) as I move around New Zealand- especially with the National Park and Glacier coming up. However my inner snob keeps rejecting this and splurging.
So keen to fully embrace the culture of the area (I am in the Malborough valley you know) I cancelled Stray coach (detour queen) and booked a wine tour.
Naturally it would be rude for the deputy manager not to accompany one of his guests on a wine tour so a pleasurable Thursday was spent with; a driver attempting to bully me (he doesn't have a good grasp of a Sheffield birds) and copious amounts of wine... Majoritively white...a few choice red wines and two fizzes and a sneaky chocolate factory stop.
I made a fool of myself many times (expected) in particular not counting Scotland as part of the UK (geography standard) decking it (clumsy standard) and back chatting the bus driver (Scarlett standard).
Seatbelt shouted at me - Apparently my childish magpie instinct to touch everything is not ok. I shouted at him - southern fairy seatbelt wearing drunk after the first taster is not ok. Banterific times!
Can safely say the rest of the night was spent in a wasted headache haze on my bottom bunk!
So now aswell as eating veggies I'm a white wine drinker (Reisling not the famed Sauv Blanc of the area). Advice for anyone visiting on the future all wine tasting is free so the cost you pay is the cost of the driver- take a bike then it will be free :) (looking at you favourite cosie SW)
Friday dawned and after a leisurely sunbathe on the harbour and strut around Picton; I quickly got my comeuppance when a duck set the water sprinklers on resulting in an epic soaking...(hilarious if I wasn't on my own)
Karl was packed and ready to jump on the naked bus to Nelson. Disappointingly the naked bus did not approve of nakedness :(
Bus timetables do not fit in with my freestyle Scarlett spirit and it is somewhat thwarting the independent travelling. Hussying up with different bus companies is the only way it's kind of working at the minute...Should.never.have.preplanned.raahhh
It was on the advice of dirty foreigner, kievton & co I visited the town of Nelson and being good Sheffield lads expectation was high!
My naked bus dropped me off in the centre and unlike the stray bus I did not have 'Guarenteed' accommodation; however being well prepared I had booked a lovely hostel with pool, sauna and hot tub... Yes hostel not hotel... Which would have been perfect if it wasn't a 40min walk... From the centre... With 15kg on my back... In flip flips...Dang
Nelson is cool, I'll allow it to be called a town (it says city- barely bigger than Vatican) but hey it had shops. After an early night (2nd night white wine hangover and army crawl to hostel) I awoke jazzy and excited to face the rain... That's right heavy, pouring, having to put my mac on rain! Cheers boys!
Myself and hollandaise Roomie bravely headed out for coffee and a market stroll. Jade stone.bone stone. Pottery. Done. I spent a good hour in a bead shop... Amazingly fabulous... further demise into the hippy ways!
It was then Trek time... That's right trek:In Kin with Aussie lies. The New Zealandish (being too honest to lie) just don't bother telling you things. Distances aren't signposted and any Signposts are few and far between Following my gut (literally in an effort to reduce it ;)
I began the uphill zigzag, this was no deceiving cliff bend, this was pure take a deep breath- stretch the calves and go vertical walk/ climb.
As all good Trekkers I was wearing a waterproof mac...however unlike all good Trekkers I was not wearing a bra....
The sun came out, laughing at me as I sweated and strived up the hill rendering my unable to strip my layers off... Nipplegate part deux!
Reaching the climax and passing out from the heat (mac + heat= sweat!!!) I'm pretty sure I resembled a dying dog... Luckily I was alone!
The view was pretty immense. The epiphany of four seasons in one day (song- spotify it- wrote especially for NZ) every direction was a different weather, snow topped mountains in front, misty fog covered cliffs to the right and then and the sun beaming out behind me.
In my dying, gasping moment my thoughts were... Ok maybe NZ ain't to bad....Not love but like!
Secondary tip cosie: put the spreadsheet away and don't pre book ANYTHING Naked bus all the way!
This afternoon I'm rejoining the Stray cronies to spend a few days camping vegan bra-less style in Able Tasman (national forest)
See you on the otherside!