Oh hello nature

February 2018

 

Sandfly Bay

Sandfly Bay

 

SPONTANEITY LEADS TO A WEEKEND ON THE ROAD

The desire to get back on the road never left me after the high of the first road trip in November. So, during the 7 months I was in New Zealand I went on two more, both alone and with friends.

The feeling of just driving with no concrete plan is so freeing, driving through mountains, past lakes and into the wilderness, is a world away from being stuck in the traffic on the rush hour commute. I drove alone on my second road trip and visited the Otago peninsula, seeing the famous royal albatross, flying high above me, impressive and graceful. It’s funny that the drive down the peninsula took me on roads that were very nearly in the sea, narrow and twisty and yet I thought nothing of driving down them, I just did. If they were in England I probably would have, but then again if they were in England they would have had a queue of traffic down them. The best part of having no plan is discovering hidden gems, one of my favourite was Sandfly Bay, on the Otago peninsula. It was at this beach that I saw my first yellow eyed penguin in the wild, just walking down the beach. In this moment I just stopped and sat, watching as it walked along the sand. Just being there surrounded by the coastal landscape and its animal inhabitants I felt so content. With no signs of human civilisation, no cafes or toilets or tacky souvenir shops, the nature was still unspoilt and natural. I hope it stays that way. 

I camped at a place just above Dunedin called Warrington, on a free campsite, yes normally the free campsites aren’t much more than a composting toilet, but I had struck gold with this one. A nice grassy campsite with real toilets and a walk through the sand dunes lead to a beach, a beach which you could walk down and see hardly anyone. I still can’t believe that it was free but then again, I have been brought up in a society where nothing is free, this was defiantly a nice surprise.  

Visiting the Moeraki boulders I saw that they had become the victim of tourism. Geological wonders, something fascinating and seen as a way to make money. Although it was free to see the boulders the giant café and gift shop on the cliff above were evidence of something natural turning into an amusement. I could appreciate the boulders but not the merchandising. After visiting the boulders, I drove down the road and found a view point which lead to a colony of fur seals. Here there were only two other people, no café, just nature.

After a weekend of nature, beaches and peace I drove back to Wanaka where I was working a house keeping job in one of my favourite places. After the first road trip I decided to leave Christchurch for a while move to Wanaka. What’s not to love about it when the walk back from work encompasses a view of the lake and mountains. Until the next road trip.