Travel

The Stunning South Island Adventures 2/5

Christchurch to Rakaia

Each and every part of the journey presented new beauty and appreciation for how diverse our countryside is.

After a great couple of days (Roadshow and Training), we set off to the picturesque Akoroa Harbour, a historic French settlement and quaint little township full of cafes, galleries and boutique shops. Simply perfect!

One of the awesome things about any travel, is the people who are there to offer advice. One friend, who saw on Instagram I was travelling, was full of suggestions for campers, and walks and places to see. While you can find so much online, it is invaluable having the first hand experience of either the locals or people who have done the same thing.

One recommendation was Onuku, a hostel, camper van and camping spot. This remote farm was traditionally Kiwi style, with a European flavour from the transient staff and many venturesome travelers. It included the rustic tin shed (typical no.8 wire ingenuity!) showers, pizza ovens and a huge paddock for parking complete with surrounding birdsong, visiting chickens and stunning coastal bush and views.

Had I read the reviews beforehand (i.e recommended for small vans), I am not sure I would have taken on the challenge! We did however tackle the narrow, steep, one way, gravel access (with hairpin bends) with ease – well kinda – thanks to my trusty support crew, cheerleader and navigator Tracey, who was with me on this adventure!

The walks on this 430 hectare block are open to everyone who stays, and A-MAZ-ING. Layla and I even convinced some neighbouring Swedes to make the pre-dawn trek to the summit for sunrise. This rewarded us with a view and experience that is embedded forever in my memory, but too hard to describe!

Freedom Campers

While tourists and freedom camping has had its bad wrap in New Zealand in recent times, every encounter for me, has been a great one. Rubbish is taken. People are respectful.

The camping / travelling life becomes a community in itself – offering surplus food to your neighbours, sharing stories and best spots, and a mutual appreciation for the enjoyment you are all experiencing.

This shot captures the essence of some fellow travelers, settled for the eve after having found the perfect spot, on the top of their camper and watching the sunset. Bliss!

Sunset Camper Life of Tourists

We found out by pure chance, while parked in Hakatere, (without mobile coverage or any connection to the outside world), that the road south had been blocked. From where we sat, watching the sunset, this was hard to imagine.

Hakatere

Heavy rains over the weekend across the country, in particular the South Island, have forced road and rail closures, isolating the upper from the lower South Island. The most serious closure is State Highway 1 North of Timaru at the Rangitata River crossing, following the washout of road and rail access, together with a major slip on State Highway 6 on the West Coast effectively cutting off all services with no alternative routes available at this time.

NZ Herald – 8 December 2019

Again, people love to help – friends, facebook groups, associations and locals! Nosh Cafe in Ashburton became our local for a couple of days, while we pondered next steps (or miles) , with wonderful food, a lovely garden to utilise the wifi and super friendly and helpful owners.

While the delays meant cancelling the Dunedin Roadshow, and re-routing a couple of times, for me it meant finding a few more walks. I enjoyed exploring the scenic stretches of straight roads, with mountainous backdrops and just relaxing.

For the rest, it was gratitude at being able to work from the camper, from anywhere, a team back home that capably handled what was needed, and a case of accepting the things you cannot change.

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