In amongst being bombarded with life lesson after life lesson (see last post) this is what I’ve been up to. 🙂
Riverton – Robyn and Robert Guyton (friends of Paul and Michelle’s at Edievale where I wwoofed) have grown a food forest on their two-acre plot and I had the pleasure of a tour followed by an impromptu kind invitation to stay for dinner (in return for making apple pie for dessert) and fascinating exciting conversation! Permaculture and food forests are going to save the planet…
Invercargill – after camping in my van on the doorstep of the second of Michelle’s friends, I got up before dawn to go to a third: a small organic dairy farm with nine jersey cows, to help bring them in to the milking shed, see how it all works and help with milking; an intriguing alternative to the vast dairy industry that’s helping to cause havoc with New Zealand’s (and the planet’s) environment!
The Catlins – I gave a lift to another backpacker along the coast, in the rain, and we both encouraged each other to brave the awful weather to visit points of interest: the lighthouse at Waipapa point; Slope Point, the southernmost point of the South Island; the 170 million year old petrified forest in Curio Bay.
I stayed in a hostel by a sea lion beach near Owaka, where four solo travellers bonded over shared stories of feeling the pressure for NZ to be ‘constantly absolutely amazing’! Nugget Point was pretty impressive in the dusk. With a French girl called Camille, I enjoyed Porpoise Bay and saw yellow-eyed penguins and acrobatic Hector’s Dolphins surfing with a kayaker! We were both planning the same route north – a great travel partner, at last! 🙂
Arriving in Dunedin, I had to challenge my assumptions about this student-city-I-thought-I’d-dislike: first I surprisingly thought it felt like home and second I thought it has those characteristics that always attract me to a city: good atmosphere about it, liveliness, character and architecture. For once I’d accidentally timed it right to be there for a festival; we went to a slightly random harp-playing one man show with 26 characters, and to some local comedy. Brilliant! The world’s steepest street beckoned, as did the rugby match; cheap as chips and crazy entertainment!
Before heading north we spent a beautiful morning at Tunnel Beach.