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A Day and a Half – Day 64
Monday 30th May 2005
I was headed for a mammoth drive today, and had to make some hasty decisions about what to do, it would turn out to be a day very different to the one I was expecting.
I awoke early and was ready to leave Akaroa at about 9am. As I left the room, one German guy woke up and said, “You can give us a lift today?”
I assumed he meant all four of them, and judging by the fact I had a lot to do, and wasn’t going to wait for them all to get ready, and didn’t actually like any of them, I said “No” and walked out.
I arrived in Christchurch at around 10am, and checked into The Old Country House hostel again. I didn’t waste any time in putting my things down and heading for the nearest garage. The guy told me he couldn’t do the repairs, and even if he was, it would take at least a week, not good for me. He advised I try the Peugeot garage, but with an estimated $600 bill at least, I declined. I had a huge decision to make, and one that would shape the rest of my time here in New Zealand.
I pondered for a while about what to do. I had a few options. I could just leave it and risk getting caught, or I could dump it somewhere, but I would still need to be able to get back to Auckland. I had seen most of what I wanted to see in this country, and was on the return journey anyway. I had a couple of places I wanted to see – Kaikura and Blenheim – but wouldn’t be too upset if I were to miss out on them. If I were to drive back to Auckland, I would have to be there in two days, before the W.O.F ran out and Registration expired. In reality I had but one option, to drive back to Auckland in two days. This would not be fun!
I went back to the hostel and asked for a refund, which was refused. Rather than make a fuss, as it was my fault anyway, I just accepted and left there and then. I got in the car and immediately began my long drive north.
Along the way I passed Kaikura, and took in as much of the surroundings as I could then carried on. The road took me along the coast, and the weather was great. I hit traffic a couple of times and worried I wouldn’t make it to Picton before nightfall, but as time continued to pass, so did the mountain scenery. I arrived in Picton in good time, much better than I had hoped. This gave me the opportunity to make another decision. I could stop here for the night, knowing I would have a ferry crossing and a long drive tomorrow, or I could make the last ferry crossing and stop in Wellington tonight, giving me a shorter day tomorrow. I chose the latter.
I used a public phone to book the ferry, and to book a night in Wellington, then sat in my car waiting for the ferry to arrive. It had been a long day, and I wondered if I had made the right decision, but there was no turning back now.
I got on the ferry at 7pm, then sat in a comfy chair and just pondered on my predicament. I could always come back and see these places another time if I so wished. I had seen far more than most people would on a trip around New Zealand, so I could be happy for that fact. Most importantly, I had done all the main things that I originally wanted to do.
We reached the other side of the water and I got back in my car to find The Cambridge Hotel. It was very late now, and I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to park where I did, but I had nothing else in my mind but to get to the room and just sleep. I found the room and realised I was sharing with a lot of people who had been here a while. There were clothes everywhere, and no space to put anything. Everyone was in bed and I was conscious of waking people up, so I just climbed to my bunk bed, threw my bag on the bed, chucked the underwear that was on my bed onto the floor, then just slept in my clothes. I was out like a light.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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