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NZ Hitchhiking

New Zealand Day 73-79: Bluff, Dunedin, and Auckland

Day 73: We hitched out with a Maori family in the morning, the mom telling us about her daughter’s wedding and how she supports Donald Trump. She brought us back to Invercargill, where we indulged yet again at the lovely Bombay Palace before hitching north towards Dunedin, an Air BnB set up for us for the next 2 nights while we waited to fly back to Auckland. We got a few short rides, including one in a 70’s muscle car, and ended up at an intersection where we did some music theory stuff, and laughed a whole bunch while waiting for a lift.… Read more

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New Zealand Day 64-66: St Arnaud to Franz Josef

Day 64-65: When we woke up at the campground, we packed up and walked out to the little cafe back in town, drank coffee and ate a cooked breakfast, hanging out for a while, enjoying the quaint atmosphere with outdoor seating under the trees. St. Arnaud is not really a full town, but a collection of buildings necessary for the support of the park, it’s visitors, the park employees, the handful of wealthy vacation-home owners, and the locals whose families have lived here for generations. There is a lodge across the street from the cafe next to the fire house, another smaller one up the road next to a motel and a very small school building, and another really swanky one farther down the highway.… Read more

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New Zealand Day 60-63: St Arnaud

Day 60: We got some coffee so I could wake up in the morning, then walked to the I-site in Nelson for wifi and to finalize our route through the South Island, and there were a shitload of people passing through on their way to Abel Tasman National Park and its gold sand beaches. The weather was supposed to turn foul over the next couple days, but the radar showed that some of the inner mountain ranges might stay dry, so we set our sights on St Arnaud, a place I had researched thoroughly while back in the states while trying to map out some off trail traverses on the South Island, though our goal would not be quite as ambitious.… Read more

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New Zealand Day 57-59: Hitching South

Day 57: When we woke up, there were already a lot of people hiking and jogging on the nice, wide, flat rail-to-trail. We walked into town, talking about growing up and our perspectives on money and social status, stopping for some breakfast, then hitching out with some Maori folks- two dudes and a girl probably in their late 20’s, one dude with tattoos on his face, talking about all the places their friends have tagged with graffiti, making apparent gang references and day drinking in the car. They told us that we absolutely can’t pass up Raglan, but we did. They dropped us off near Hamilton, where we got some drinks and snacks at the gas station before hitching across the street in the shade of a mini-mall sign.… Read more

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New Zealand Day 52-56: Whangarei and Poor Knights Islands

Day 52: We hitched back to Whangarei in the morning, booked a room at the same hostel/former jail I had stayed at with Nuthatch and Magnus- the Cell Block. We got a room in the back building this time, requiring a climb up a steep metal ladder, walking through a bunkroom and past 3 or 4 other dormitories to get into what used to be a building for correctional officers/police for 5 days while we got our open water diving certifications. Our room was called “the barn”, because of its independent top and bottom halves of the door, and had a queen sized bed, wide windows opened by hand cranks, and was right next to the kitchen.… Read more

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New Zealand Day 45-51: Paihia, Waitangi, and Urupukapuka Island

Day 45: We hitched out to Whangarei with a couple young farmhands, one kiwi teen and a twenty something dude from Denmark, talking about the hard work of raising cattle and the amazing feats of well trained working dogs. They dropped us off at the Pak n’ Save, where we established another ritual- taking our shoes off to walk around the grocery store. I had seen a few barefoot shoppers since I got to New Zealand, attributing the pattern to the proximity of nearly the entire country’s population to one beach or another, but after seeing a shoeless man at the Four Square in Waipu and trying to explain this phenomenon to Xena, I realized that the proportion of barefoot shoppers is just high enough to constitute a socially acceptable behavior, and we concluded that we ought to exercise our social freedoms by following suit.… Read more

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