After three weeks holidaying with friends and family we have taken possession of another camper van (this one is a bit more palatial than Betty Sue) and have resumed our meanderings, this time on the more remote South Island. Once again we are discovering the joy of losing the sense of time, with days dictated by what looks interesting rather than what needs to be done and when.
Although this van is more upmarket than our first one we have reverted to living very simply, eeking out the life of the battery by going to bed when it gets dark and taking advantage of public facilities when they are available. We eat more simply too but still insist on a daily ration of Whittaker’s chocolate as dessert after the evening meal (four squares of the 62% cocoa with almonds in case you are wondering) which has to be one of New Zealand’s finest products.
Armed with an ornithological guide-book we are getting better at identifying the bird life that surrounds us (‘get that wretched red-billed gull off the roof of the van!’). Formerly the best we could muster in England was a reference to LBJs which I am embarrassed to confess stood for little brown jobbies.
We have become blase about sightings of seals, we expect an encounter with an oystercatcher on a daily basis in the same way we look for a daily heron on the canals of England, and in general we have become far more tuned in to the world around us thanks to the training we received from Sally’s sister and brother-in-law on Stewart Island. Still no kiwi though ☹.
This more simple lifestyle dictates our choice of campsite too (or maybe it is simply the fact we are cheapskates) but we look for freedom sites where possible. Our first night was spent in the car park of the supermarket we stopped to buy provisions at. Not a great view admittedly but it was quiet and it did allow me to claim my free cup of coffee the following day when the coffee shop opened, We have spent the last two nights in a remote coastal spot surrounded by flat sandy beaches that apparently didn’t exist until 14 November 2016 when the Kaikoura earthquake lifted the whole area 1.5 metres, exposing land that up to then was covered by sea. That is mind boggling.
One thing that is becoming abundantly clear, and discovering this is part of the reason for our trip, is seeing just how contented Sally is spending hours walking along the sea shore – more so than anywhere else I have seen her. It is certainly something we will need to factor into our thinking about what we might do after the gap year is over. Perhaps Sally should consider a career as a deep-sea fisherman.
Well as ever here are a few pictures to keep you posted.