Our last few days of freedom (again)…
Remember the review that we hoped would get us more volunteer time? Well it did. We’ve arranged a placement at another farm where we arrive on Saturday to start work on Sunday, and can hopefully stay until mid-November. That meant just a day and a half left on our own.
Day 158 – Friday 28th October 2016
We had the laziest morning ever this morning because we didn’t have to check out until midday which was amazing. Then, when we finally got on our way, we only had to drive for about an hour before reaching Akaroa where we spent the rest of our day.
Being a historic French settlement, it seemed only right to stop at the French Bay before heading anywhere else:
We had coffee and pancakes in a small French cafe before carrying on along the water for just over a kilometer to the Akaroa Lighthouse, which would’ve looked lovely had it not been under construction and surrounded by scaffold poles. After that we walked along the pier, popped into a few shops, tried some Akaroa made fudge and then decided to stop for lunch. Being our last full day on the road we went a bit all out too – I had fish and chips while Abbie had a seafood chowder, and to wash the food down we had a selection of seven different Monteith’s drinks:
Our aim was to stay close enough to Christchurch for tomorrow when we had to return the camper van by midday, but somewhere significant enough that our final evening wasn’t wasted. In the end we settled on Devauchelle Holiday Park, right along Devauchelle Bay, where we arrived just as a storm rolled in and ruined the picturesque evening that we’d conjured up the idea of. In the end we went to sleep a bit sad that we knew we’d be giving up our home tomorrow, regardless of the fact that it was only actually ours for three weeks.
Day 159 – Saturday 29th October 2016
We woke up at 08:00 and packed away all of our bits for one last time before the short drive into Christchurch to wave our camper van goodbye, which didn’t go entirely to plan. Firstly, we got hit with RUC (Road User Charges), something that wasn’t explained to us when we picked up the van in Auckland. In short, because we had a diesel van and there’s no diesel tax in New Zealand, we had to pay $6.30 for every 100km that we’d covered. That accompanied with the fact that we managed to clock up over 4,300km was a bit of a blow, but we couldn’t do anything about it really. Next up a problem which could have been avoided – a ‘one way fee’ from Lucky Rentals. Due to the fact that we picked up in Auckland and dropped off in Christchurch we had to pay $99 extra, which we thought we’d already paid.
Once we had everything sorted it was on with the backpacks again and to McDonald’s, the only place within walking distance. We had a ‘create your own’ burger each, which was surprisingly good, then walked to the airport and caught a bus towards Halswell to meet our new volunteering hosts. We arrived at our new place in the early evening, met everybody and settled in nicely. I think I’ll leave details for tomorrow, but our first impression was really good, yet completely opposite to last time in every way imaginable!