Waikouaiti > Waianakarua > Oamaru

6 Nov

The time came for me to depart from hill-enshrouded Dunedin for northern lands on October 3rd.

Before I go on I have to mention a wonderful woman, Mayra Clarke of Waihola.  Mayra owns the Black Swan Tearooms and Hotel in Waihola and is the survivor of a husband who suffered from Heart Disease and passed away a year ago.  I stopped in for a rest and ordered some food for lunch.  She asked me a few questions and once she found out what I was doing, immediately comped my meal and donated to my cause, while sharing her story.  She is an absolutely sweet woman and afforded a very lively and entertaining conversation.  I am very happy to have met Mayra and she certainly brightened my day!

Ok, back to leaving Dunedin…

37.9 km/23.5 miles later…

I found myself in Waikouaiti looking for the Golden Fleece Hotel, Restaurant and Bar (http://www.aatravel.co.nz/main/listing.php?listingId=56062).  I had inquired about accommodation the  day prior to my arrival and Allan and Vicki Hall, hotel managers, were eager to sponsor me a night in the hotel.  They also had a family member struck with heart ailments and after several surgeries she survived!  Waikouaiti is a quaint little town with very inviting people and the Golden Fleece was the main hangout for the locals, giving me a great opportunity to mingle.  This is quite nice after flying solo for 5 or 6 hours at a time.  The people I met were all very encouraging and the interactions made for a great evening.   I woke up energized and ready to conquer the next leg of the trip.

46.7 km/29 miles later…

The next stop was in Waianakarua.  This place is not so much a town as it is a T-junction with two hidden lodges each a kilometer or two off the highway.  I was lucky enough to find accommodation in one called the Olive Grove Lodge and Holiday Park.  The owner, Kim, was very helpful and gave me a warm welcome after a day of excessively fickle weather, ranging from hot heat, windy rains, and horizontal hail!  It was quite comforting and cool to notice how many more people honked to encourage and stopped to offer me rides when the weather turned treacherous.  These things made the day bearable and gave me a sweet taste of the hospitality of New Zealanders.  Can’t say I wasn’t tempted to hop in a car but I kept my head down and luckily, in the end, Olive Grove was there with a warm bed, hot shower, and a washing machine for me and my smelly clothes 🙂

25.6 km/16 miles later…

Now I am in Oamaru.  The trip to here was gorgeous.  I was able to escape the main highway for the coastal road, allowing me to stop at a beachside cafe for lunch and a great view on a perfect day.  The days distance was relatively shorter than all the others, but it was sweet nonetheless.  In the second half of the day, one of the roads Google had directed me towards was closed to cars, but I took it to find the reason why.  I came upon this reason with amazement.  At some points the coastal road had collapsed into the ocean, making it obviously unsuitable for cars of any size.  In one spot, the entire width of the road was gone.  I assume Google has not updated its mapping of this part of the world since the Christchurch earthquakes.  Sadly, this is just  a mere glimpse of the destruction those catastrophes caused.

I eventually arrived to Oamaru in the early afternoon and was graciously accommodated by Kelly at Chillawhile Backpackers and Art gallery in Oamaru North.  This hostel has a great vibe and displays numerous pieces of art, while also providing several other forms of creative and goofy outlets such as musical instruments, huge Jenga, ping pong, juggling objects and several others.  The staff is composed mostly of travelers and they were quite friendly and helpful.  Here is a video about this hostel, and if you are ever in Oamaru, you should definitely check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScjwGrFy0vI

 

Well, tomorrow I am off to Waimate, then to Timaru the day after.  Hope to update you all very soon with the latest, but I am at the mercy of the internet access lords and am not sure when I will have sufficient time to write something up.  Hopefully sooner than later.

And terribly sorry for the lack of pictures they, too, will be up when I get some more time on a computer.

Cheers!

Big Cat

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2 Responses to “Waikouaiti > Waianakarua > Oamaru”

  1. Patty Robles November 13, 2011 at 3:19 AM #

    AMAZING!! EXCELLENT!! AND FANTASTIC!! “BIG CAT”. I just finished sharing your blog with my boys. May you remain strong and dedicated and may God continue blessing you. WE ARE VERY PROUD OF YOU!

    • philipguerrero11 November 14, 2011 at 11:31 AM #

      Thanks a ton Patty! tell the family I say “What Up!”

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