Monday, March 15, 2010

Not in Kansas Anymore

I have arrived!  My flight here was great, mostly because the flight from LAX to Auckland was pretty empty which allowed me to move to a different seat.  I found a window seat (as a nervous flyer it’s a prerequisite for my own peace of mind) next to a girl who is also in New Zealand on a working holiday visa.  She is my age and plans to stay until June so I’m hoping to meet up with her again somewhere in New Zealand.  We toasted our upcoming adventure and marvelled at the differences in airlines (we were on Air New Zealand, which was recently ranked the highest in the world).  Which meant that wine was offered for free, the food was good, and the service was polite (not to mention the personal video screens and blankets, pillows, and earphones on every seat).  After arriving, we travelled through customs and then I kindly offered her a ride to the city, unbeknownst to my friend who was picking me up.

After spending the morning running (the hills here are brutal) and exploring the area (I found the local library for Internet), I went back to the house I’m staying at to pack for the weekend.  We started our drive out of the city around 4pm to head up to the Kai Iwi Lakes (pictured left).  The car and boat were packed with enough stuff for a small country to spend a weekend at the lakes.  And it was looking to be a beautiful weekend until we were about an hour away from our destination and the sky darkened and opened up.  We ate dinner, hoping that the rain would didn’t.  So, we set up the tent in the mist and dark – little did we know that this battle would continue the whole weekend.

Fortunately, the kiwis know how to camp in style.  Our tent (pictured left) was called “the Taj” it fit two queen air mattresses side by side and included a front entry way with a floor and roof where we could safely sit out of the rain on our chairs drinking well-deserved beer.  The other tent, which we set up on Friday, was called “the Hilton” and included two rooms and a sunroom for the other couple and their two kids that were coming to join us that night.  We also had a gas stove, kitchen set (which truly included even the kitchen sink), a table, games, air mattresses galore and four coolers of food and drinks.

We hiked around the lake the next morning and then took a drive to Baylys Beach (pronounced like Bailey’s) on the Tasman Sea (pictured below).  It was a rough day but that didn’t stop the kite surfers from taking advantage of the wind.  After picking up a few things in town (including a tasty ice cream) we headed back to the camps, only to be stopped short by a “traffic jam” (pictured right).  I have arrived.

Things to be thankful for:
-  No wild animals in New Zealand scarier than a possum (which managed to sneak into the entry room of our tent while we slept on Friday night).
- A wakeboard teacher who almost managed to get me out of the water (I ruined it when I was so excited to be standing that I forgot to keep the weight on my back leg).
- Fantastic tents and people that made camping in the rain a good time


  1. I'm going to love following all your adventures. :-) Glad you made it safely!

  2. Looks and sounds amazing - certainly beats what I'm doing here at home. I'm truly jealous of your camping adventure, the landscape shots are amazing!

    Have fun!