Kidnapping Gannets

Cape Kidnappers has 2 things that make it one of the main tourist attractions in Hawke’s Bay – Great and unique scenery, and Gannets. You may recall I saw some Gannets out in Muriwai, on the west coast of New Zealand. Cape Kidnappers is a much larger spot for Gannets during nesting season, which is approaching now.

The thing about getting to Cape Kidnappers? You can only go at certain times, determined by the tide. The day I went, I had to start my walk at 815am. The DOC estimated time for the hike there and back was 4-5 hours, which for once, proved to be about right since it was 16km round trip, including some good uphills at the far end. Since I’m usually up before 7am anyways, this wasn’t too big a deal though.

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I am no longer an unemployed vagrant. My phone interview yesterday paid off – I’ve got a job starting October 2nd in Ohakune. Never heard of the town? Ya, neither had I. It’s in the central part of the North Island – and it caters mostly to people heading to the nearby ski hills on Mt. Ruapehu. Ski season is still on down here and runs until the end of October, so I’m guessing the town is still busy. I’ll be working at the Ohakune Court Motel, doing reception and housekeeping for at least 4 weeks. 3 hours a day, and that covers my accommodation, internet and laundry. Any hours after that (and apparently there should be a decent amount), will be paid hours. Even if I don’t get paid hours very often, it will still be nice drawing some money.

While there, I think I might actually get to try snowboarding! I’m excited.

As for now, I’ve changed direction completely since I have a few days to kill, and headed north again. I’m trying to get to something that I couldn’t on a previous attempt – White Island. Tomorrow has a great forecast, so my fingers are crossed. Tonight though, I grab the air mattress again and camp near Rotorua. Off to set up my campground now, likely without internet reception, so I’ll be back in a few days. With updates and pictures of the past and next few eventful days. 🙂

Everything happens on the same day

1. Hiked to Cape Kidnappers and saw Boobie relatives (Gannets). 8km each way.

2. Had telephone interview during return hike.

3. Returned to car to find battery dead.

4. After about an hour, found another car with jumper cables. Got boost.

5. Checked one last time in vain for Canada/Japan rugby tickets. Still sold out.

6. Went to stadium with cardboard sign reading ‘Looking to buy 1 Ticket (Canada Flag)’. I should have taken a picture.

7. Within 15 minutes scored a $72 ticket (highest price) for $40, with 2 kiwi ladies and 1 husband. Other husband had been called into work.

8. Proceeded to drink a lot with new kiwi friends as Canada and Japan played a hard fought match…to a draw. Sounds like a soccer match, but it certainly wasn’t – 23-23 was the score. And the beards were out en force.

9. Going to bed early because of exhaustion. Will update more thoroughly tomorrow. Where I might be for that update – still to be determined. This is my last night in Napier, where I go from here is still to be decided. Something to figure out tomorrow morning. For now, sleep. Before the horrible snoring person returns, whom has cost me many hours of sleep the last 2 nights, despite my ipod and earplugs (justifiable homicide?). Gnight!

Hiking to Te Mata Peak

While I had driven to the peak of Te Mata a few days back, it just left me wanting to hike the darn thing, on a beautiful sunny day. Today was that day. After getting new brake pads on my car (just kind of necessary maintenance given the hills here), I headed south of Napier, back to Te Mata. This time I parked at the base car park and took a look at the map. 

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I’ve got a couple hours to kill while waiting for new brakepads to be put on my car, and figured I should check in on my finances. So, how has the slower moving travelling impacted the budget so far? Pretty well actually.

In 2 months I’ve spent $4500NZD (roughly $3700CAD), for everything. That includes $2000 for my car alone, which I hopefully will be able to recoup most of the money for, so the actual ‘travel’ expenses has been a more reasonable $2500NZD, or roughly $50/day. That still is quite a bit higher than what I’d like to see (since it would come to over $18,000/year, when my ideal is closer to $12,000NZD), but a lot of that still includes initial costs that I paid out in Auckland – setting up cell phone ($40), setting up internet ($80), car insurance ($150), etc. After my first 10 days in Auckland, I’ve spent a much more reasonable $1500($30/day = $11,000!) . The highest consistent cost? Gas – around $650 worth so far. I’ve done nearly 3200km on my car already, so that adds up quickly. Adding in the, so far, expected maintenance (tires and brakes), it’s been well over $1K of car related expenses. Still, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy a car again given the option to go back and have the choice between my own car or using buses.  The car is just SO much more convenient to see everything, and the amount of hikes I’ve done along already number probably well over 25 that I never would have been able to do without access to a vehicle. New Zealand just begs to be explored – a car allows that.

Here’s a pretty pie chart, initial car cost removed:


Back in Canada

At least, one can be mistaken from time to time here in Napier.

Right outside my hostel and up and down the nearby street, Canadian flags are flying everywhere. There were also pictures of the Loonie in store windows – something about a contest. Heck, I don’t think WE fly the flag this often in Canada. It’s all very enjoyable – Napier hosts 2 Rugby World Cup games, featuring Canada both games, against France and Japan. Other streets have done themselves up in a similar French or Japanese fashion. And the town has the distinction of selling out both of their games. Unfortunately, I’ve still been unable to find a ticket for myself, and the game day is only 2 days away now. Not looking good, but worst case I hit a pub that night and enjoy what should be a good match between evenly matched teams. I’m holding out a little hope still, but it’s waning by now.

Pushing Boundaries

A few days delayed getting this one up, but a couple days ago I awoke to a gorgeous sunny day. Having sufficiently rested from the hiking Steff and I had done on our way to Napier, I packed my daypack with a banana, several granola bars, filled my water, and added extra weight – my laptop, AC adapter, Kindle, extra sweater, and a light jacket. I was on a mission – do a half-day (4-6 hour), relatively strenuous hike.

I hadn’t made mention of my hip bursitis recently because I had hoped that it was fully in the past. There are still twinges of pain every now and then during steep ascents, but nothing lasting nor debilitating. But all of my hikes in the last few weeks had been of the 1-2 hour max. I needed something to test my legs out a bit more thoroughly, along with getting used to carrying weight on my back/shoulders for longer periods of time. What I needed was an endurance hike – I found it at Boundary Stream Reserve.

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When one buys a ‘Meatlovers Pizza’, one has certain expectations. For there to be various type of dead animal carcass on the pizza. And it to be devoid of any redeeming factors besides taste – namely, no veggies.

And I thought I was fairly diligent – I checked the label, I checked the packaging relatively closely. All in all, it looked like a tasty, CHEAP ($2.50) dinner/lunch to be heated in the oven. Excited to have tasty cheese bread and meat, I pre-heated the oven and opened the package. My senses were assaulted with the horrible, awful smell of…

Those that know me, know I absolutely ABHOR the retched things. Onions ruin the taste of everything they touch, scourge of the earth that they are. I hoped that the smell was just the packaging, but on very close inspection I noticed diced white onion covering the pizza. My dinner, ruined. I still ate the pizza, didn’t enjoy it, but I wasn’t about to waste $2.50. I had to wash the awful taste away with ice cream afterwards but even now, it still lingers. I’m now apprehensive about my ‘Hawaiian Pizza’ from the same company – if they hid mushrooms in the thing, I might just cry.