James’ lack of enthusiasm continued through to the morning and I left him sleep to try and shake it off. After discovering my ‘domestic goddess’ duties of washing the clothes in the sink then leaving them to dry in the bathroom overnight had failed, and even the socks that were on the towel rail were still soaking, we had to wait for them to tumble dry.
After a lovely ‘get your arse down to Bluff and get that medal’ text message from my lovely work colleague, eventually at gone 10.30 we left Hokitika with as much enthusiasm as a horse in Central Park. (Me to James thinking the horse analogy won’t work: name something that doesn’t have much enthusiasm… James, without hesitation: “James” hahaha!)
The route took us around the lake and tree top walk, which if you’re ever in the area I would highly recommend. We did it with my folks last time they were here which was pretty cool. We took the more direct route along the highways, because, well, we couldn’t be arsed to do the extra 15km that took us to the same place.
Eventually we made it back to the West Coast Wilderness trail on the way to Ross. The trail was long, straight, flat, and, you’ve guessed it, GRAVEL! Although to be fair it wasn’t too bad and the most annoying thing was having a dusty water bottle. I ended up not bothering to even clean the dust off the bottle top before I drank it. I’m sure I ate mud as a child, some fresh kiwi gravel dust won’t kill me!
Eventually we cross the Totara River bridge, which is pretty cool and once again the most clear water we’ve seen!
We turn off the route and head into Ross to visit some friends. For those who don’t know the story, when I was a kid growing up my folks had a young Kiwi girl come and work on the farm. She was pretty much like our (my sis and I) big sister growing up, and I’m sure we were like annoying younger siblings to her too wanting to invade her space, watch Dawson’s Creek with her and play PlayStation! She once gave my folks some placemats with views of New Zealand on them, one of which was the Church of the Good Shepherd in Tekapo, which planted the seed of where 10 year old Victoria wanted to get married and the New Zealand dream was born.
We call in and have a cup of tea on the deck and catch up on all the things we’ve missed since we last saw them (which was only in Feb when my folks were here). With a cool breeze and good company it was hard to move off the chair and before we knew it, it was nearly 2pm!
On the road again we called into the local store to grab a fizzy and some chocolate to help with the motivation. We head off in the wrong direction, to turn around and go the right way. Doh!
The route took us away from the main road down a gravel road which wasn’t too bad as it was so quiet with only a couple of goats as company.
Back on the main highway across some bridges, up and down some hills, we flew down doing 60kph maybe, only to be overtaken by a Chelsea tractor (landrover) towing a small trailer (think: what you take green waste to the dump on) with a huge spa pool on the back, overhanging both sides and swaying all over the place. I honestly thought we were going to be ended by a spa pool!!!
We eventually made it to Lake Ianthe, after covering ourselves in bug spray we sat down to have some lunch.
Out of the car park took us up a hill, the last short blast of this section. We head on down en route to Hari Hari. We stop at the general store for a pie and a coffee and to find some motovation to continue to the next town.
We couldn’t find any motivation so asked the shop owner what accommodation options were available in the town, either next door which she highly recommended or the hotel / bar across the road which she turned her nose up at and chuckled when I asked if it was gross. Guess which one had a room for the night, yup, $120 for the gross one. Winner…
After a quick shower to feel less dusty and more human, we had a nice cuppa tea and a biscuit.
We waddle into the bar, which is a real locals bar. There was a table of grannies, the out of towner girl trying to impress a guy with her pool skills, the table of farmers who are just glad to have a cold beer in hand and the group of ladies who are out for a good night! One of who was feeding her tequila shots and by 6.30 was already watering the shots down as her friend was too drunk!!
Of course the bar had no vegetarian food on the menu, let alone vegan so it was a Hawaiian pizza without the ham and fish and chips for James.
By 7.30pm things were starting to get more rowdy, read, someone turned up Journey – Don’t Stop Believing, which was our cue to go to bed with a cuppa tea.
On that note, happy new year everyone, here’s hoping 2021 is better to you all.
The adventure continues…