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Saturday 3 Apr 2004
Auckland, New Zealand

Back in Auckland...

Come a long way over the past few days to arrive back "home" in Auckland... amazingly though I was going at a leaisurely pace (averaging only 4-5 hours driving at 80 kph per day) and arrived so soon. I suppose it isnt really that amazing, since you can drive across Ireland in about a day, but I suppose it feels like the South and North Island are so far apart because they represent drastically different landscapes and people. *shrug*

28th March 2004

Eventually found a private place to park the night in Dunedin: down near the Marina there is a cul-de-sac road off the main road leading north. There was another guy staying in his van here, but he seemed to be a local or something, and as he ventured off to work (or beg on the streets... I dunno) I supposed he stayed here full-time.

29th March 2004

Drove to Mt Cook National Park today. Passed by the Moeraki Boulders on the way. These are unusual almost-spherical natural "marbles" on the coastline that date back millions of years. Made for good photos though!

Evntually arrived at Mt Cook in splendid weather and got a great view of the highest mountain in NZ as I approached.

Camped that night in the DOC camping ground there. No problems not paying fees yadda yadda.

30th March 2004

Took to walking the main track to the base lake at Mt Cook (about 3-4 hours return). I did two walks!! I did the first walk at around 8am, thinking that I would have a great photo session of the mountain at sunrise. Unfortunately after walking all that way (through some great scenery albeit, plus the track was empty at this time!) the great mountain was in the shade and was covered in cloud! Doh!

I had lunch when I arrived back, but still determined to get some great photos I decided to walk it again at 12pm... this time I got some fantastic shots - some of the best I think Ive taken with this camera... hmm maybe I should really think about getting a proper pro camera when I get some more money...

Later on I found a "free" shower at the YHA. Quite simply walk in the side entrance to the left of the main entrance. Then turn left once inside to avoid the office.

I stayed the second night there at Mt Cook camp.

31st March 2004

Well leaving Mt Cook marked the last of my "tourist trail" to NZ. Now I had to get back to Auckland as quickly (i.e. cheaply) as possible to sell my car before the petrol costs mount up. I also need to sell the car fast because its gradually moving out of the tourist season now!!!

Drove back to Kaikoura today and stayed the night at my favourite spot again.

1st April 2004

Before leaving Kaikoura I took a chance at looking for the seals there again - the last time I tried they werent present. This time there were lying all over the place! It was really sunny today and the seals were enjoying the weather in the carpark, lying on the grass oblivious to the crowds of people who had gathered. Got a great shot of a seal in mid-yawn.

Drove to Picton today to get the ferry back across to the North Isle. Id managed to book an ultra-saver 130 dollar fare again a few days back.. was a close call though since the thing was booked up for a week! The only fare I could get at this price was the 9.30 pm trip...

Id arrived at Picton at around 11am! Thankfully though, when I went to pick up my ticket the receptionist asked if Id like to get on the next boat... I was perplexed because the internet said that all the spaces were gone, but nevertheless got it! Phew saved me a few agonising hours!

The trip across was on a catamaran called The Lynx. A lot faster than the Interisland Ferry, but also a LOT more crowded! Once back in Wellington I drove straight on north and ended up camping at a nice DOC spot near Otaki.

2nd April 2004

Drove up to Bretts Road, 29km SE of Rotorua. Camped here.

Today...

This morning I went to Rotorua again to pick up a few souvenirs Id missed out on last time... got a good deal too cuz I went to the shop in Whakapapa village! Nice lady I was dealing with was impressed with my efforts to speak Maori...

Soon headed off to Auckland and, well, here I am!

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