12 March 2012

Wired [Westport, New Zealand]

The West Coast of New Zealand is famous for its rainfall, and while we were visiting it did not disappoint. We had four days of solid rain, and had it not been for our Couch Surfing hosts I think Julia and I would have gone a little loopy! No one likes camping in the rain.

From Motueka Julia and I were picked up by a German guy in his van. He asked us to share the cost of petrol, which didn't seem unreasonable, and since it was pouring with rain, we jumped in. We took us through to the small town of Murchison, where we had a quick look around town and a lunch-stop. We saw the entire town in about five minutes!

Our ride leaving Murchison was the weirdest hitch hiking experience we had on the entire trip. It was a woman with her young child, driving home to Christchurch. That sounded strange; we wanted to go to the west coast and Christchurch is on the east, but she was positive she knew exactly where she was taking us. So we jumped in... The first sign something was up was her constant talking, she would not stop. And the topics were completely random, and to be honest; kinda strange. That is when I started paying more attention; she seemed way over-cautious when driving, a little too 'wired' (looked kinda like her head was going to pop off) and her teeth looked like she had smoked way too much P.

After about 10 minutes we passed by a junction heading toward Westport (our destination). The woman told us that it was the long way around, and she knew a much shorter way. But after about 15 minutes I started to question this crazy womans knowledge of the area and checked the map. That road we missed was the correct way, and we were now driving through a gorge which stretched out for 100kms. After more than an hour we got to the first sign of civilization  Springs Junction. We couldn't get out of the car fast enough! To get back to where we wanted to be was about 120kms. She had literally driven us in the complete wrong direction for more than an hour.

At Springs Junction there was hardly any traffic heading north to Westport, maybe three cars in 20 minutes. But thankfully one of those cars picked us up. The drive was spectacular, and we finally got to Westport early evening. That night we were couch surfing with Robbie, a kiwi guy who has lived on the coast for most of his life. He was really friendly and hospitable, and provided us with an amazing bed to sleep in for the following two nights.

The weather forecast was heavy rain for the next four days, not ideal travelling weather. The following day we spent a bit of town wandering around the town, then planned to walk or hitch out to see a seal colony. The tourist map provided by the information center was a little deceiving; we thought it was quite close to town, but Robbie informed us it was actually about 20kms! And it was p*ssing down outside! But Robbie threw us his keys to his Ford XR8 turbo ute and told us to go for it.

The seal colony was quite disappointing; all the seals were miles away so we could hardly see them. But we did catch a glimpse of a couple of pups jumping all over the rocks which was quite cool. Besides that, we were almost blown off the edge of a cliff by the crazy wind! The wild weather meant the sea was extremely rough, massive waves rolling in and smashing on the rocks (quite awesome to watch).

So not a whole lot going on, the bad weather having a lot to do with it, but also the fact that Westport is not really a tourist hot-spot. Hopefully things clear up soon and we can enjoy the rest of the trip in some sunshine.

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