"Dry Cleaning - Drop your pants here". "Levin East Electrical - Let us remove your shorts". A humour that, wherever you are is with you, the professionals to all of the the people you meet. Couple this with their horizontal approach and endless desire to help, you have the basis on which these folk go about life.
Taking that then and projecting it further, the Kiwi way is to care for their surroundings, the environment and our planet as a whole. Not a scrap of litter, not even a cigarette butt, can be found anywhere. No graffiti, no vandalism - nothing. It drives a great respect and instils care into your own behaviours too, to the point that throwing an apple into the hedge seems rude, discourteous and unnecessary.
Having left Taranaki NP later in the day we took a night's stop in the sleepy village of Foxton. A freedom camp car park outside the local marina was dark and peaceful on arrival. It wasn't until the blinds were opened the next morning, sun beaming, that the beauty of our location was revealed - the lawn behind us gave way to the estuary punctuated by snow capped mountains in
the distance. The roar of more powerful, breaking waves in the distance to our right spanned around to the tranquillity of our these stunning vista to our left. A wander along the beach between the driftwood large and small, fused with those first views, was a inspirative start to the day.
One of our 'must do's' in Wellington was a return to the Te Papa museum. A free educational and national affair, the five storey building is full of varying exhibitions. We hadn't realised they change over time so were somewhat disappointed to have missed, by just two months, a revisit to the tectonic, earthquake and volcanic displays that demonstrate how New Zealand's topography has been defined. Replaced however by a large area of Maori crafts, carvings, canoes, buildings and informative descriptions we learnt a lot about the first people of this beautiful country. Hearing how the Europeans had pushed the Maori's out, defining new laws to take their land, was not a pleasant thing to read. The Norwegians and Swedish were good workers in forestry so many were encouraged here, along with other Europeans to strip out the bush and forests to create farm land; the timber used
as trade in exchange for other building materials. On Cook's first discovery, New Zealand was - apart from the mountains - all forest and wetlands; a vast difference to the changes made by the Europeans - take a look at the photo of the maps below.
Having two contrasting freedom spots in Wellington brought great appreciation for the second. The first a noisy car park by the harbour was vastly disparate to the peace and nature of Owhiro Bay, just 15 minutes from the CBD. With parking spots for around eight campers, the gentle tumbling of the waves backed by rolling cliffs gave a welcomed escape from the city. Attempting to spend a couple of hours downtime here also gave time to chase our undelivered consignment some more. It was with great relief that one of the three had at least arrived in Wellington. We are pleased to say we now have skis for the season, albeit no boots to put in them! The saga continues.
All the rain here, interspersed with the sunshine attempting to share the day, brings beautiful rainbows this time of year, many times a day. Not one day has gone by so far
without this beautiful signature written across the skies. The day of our ferry crossing was no exception. The sun came up over the surrounding hills of Wellington as we awaited our turn to board, casting beautiful shadows across the calm waters. With forecasts showing a two metre swell out in the open waters of the - notoriously rough this time of year - Cook Strait, we had prepared ourselves given neither of us are blessed with sea legs. Fortunately, the predictions were incorrect this time and a smooth and picturesque journey was had. Clouds hanging around the hilltops and obscuring views were joined by those colourful rainbows too. Docking safely in Picton, some three and a half hours later, our journey in the long anticipated South Island was about to begin.
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