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Trip Information

The Big Gay Van
The Big Gay Van (3)
Trip Date:2004-05-24 - 2004-05-30
# Photos:2 [View]
Countries visited:Nova-Zelândia
Visto: 4903
Later that day, yes it was beautiful, sun shining not a cloud in the sky that sort of thing we went for a walk or tramp as they are called here. The country side in the far North is lush and green; think ‘far from the madding crowd, sheep dotted hillsides’ with the occasional smattering of palm trees and tropical plants. Our walk took us through such hills where we picnicked on a rock over looking the Whangerei heads bay; a trip to the shore where we picked up driftwood and crunched along piles of mussel shells. We are enjoying the luxury of the van and being able to drive any where on a whim. NZ is well signposted, signs for towns, picnic spots, speed limits, signs galore. Each town we enter usually has a rainbow colored sign proclaiming on a scale of green to red Water Reserves, Fire Risk Number of Fatal Crashes last Month (they are obsessed with road safety over here), its all good informative stuff.
The radio in the can has been a nice change too although Limp Bizkit Behind Blue eyes is played at least 4 times an hour on every station, I know all the lyrics now. Bristol even featured on the local NZ news. A man was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court for 3 months for drinking a bottle of vodka on a Costa Del Sol-Bristol flight and getting rowdy. It makes you proud to be British!.
Lack of time the next day, it gets dark around 6 at this time of year, meant we were driving in the dark again looking for a place to stay. Street lights are scarce and as houses are so far spaced out they give off little light. We drove through 18KM of a famous Kauri forest, twisting, tree covered, and spooky highway. Our eyes strained and nerves stretched so we decided to take the next turn off that was signposted. The Kai Iwi Lakes were what we came across and we took a small road, still in pitch blackness to pull up to a campsite.
The small hut serving as an office was deserted as was the campsite. The exception was a huge coach spray painted in a spectacular sun set mural and looking like a spinal tap tour bus. We followed the track round and parked under a tree waiting for the morning.
The long drive, eerie forest road, coupled with the black campsite confirmed to me I am a city girl at heart. I always feel slightly nervous being in the middle of nowhere at night. Too many teenage horror films I guess. So when sharp pointy fingernails began to scratch the outside of the can my heart stopped and I could feel blood rushing in my ears. ‘Its only possums’ Nick whispered. Cute furry creatures that are considered pest in NZ and used for fur products or often found flattened by the roadside. Not surprising really as they have a tendency to dance in front of the van headlights as we speed towards them.
‘How do you know’ I replied.
‘What else could it be?’
Flesh eating zombies of course, I think that Nick having watched nearly as many horror films as I suspected this also but was afraid to voice it out loud.
Fortunately rather than crashing through the van to eat our brains the zombies only returned once more that night to scare us witless, perhaps they feasted off possums instead.
We awoke early the next day and I rushed outside, confidences buoyed by daylight and desire to see the sunrise.
As I walked to the lake tiny birds flitted around my legs to keep me company following me all the way down to the shore. I felt like Snow White until I realized they were only after the bugs that I was scuffing up with my footsteps.
The lake we had parked by was crystal clear and fringed by a white sand beach. The rising sun sparkled off the water and the heat was just enough to draw the morning lake mist upwards in plumes of smoke. We were in a clearing in a pine forest that fringed the lake, in the daylight every thing was so perfectly peaceful I felt foolish about my jitters the night before. We took a 4hr tramp around the lake circumference. Stopping to marvel at how clear the water was, the fly garric toadstools, tiny bays and Kingfishers. As I stopped to study dew covered spider web our phone rang. Friends from the UK calling during a late night at the pub, opposite side of the world, opposite activities!
When we got back to the campsite the owner was there. A farmer with 2,000 hectacres of land, 2 houses and a terrible fear of NZ immigrants. It was sad to talk to a man so comfortably off but so petrified of change, even though the chance of it affecting him badly was remote.