Running from the Warden

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
Trip End Jan 04, 2012

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Where I stayed
Dicky Flats Campsite

Flag of New Zealand  , Waikato,
Monday, November 14, 2011

There were no envelopes to put our payment for the night's stay in, and so we decided that was a good enough reason not to pay. After a good night's sleep and before dashing off I had a little play on the tree swing and Kate busied herself trying to treat the Campervan as our house. I tried to explain that you have to treat a campervan as a campervan and be hippy like and free with where you throw things but she is having none of it. She’s running the place like a 5* Hilton. It’s only a matter of time before she makes me take my shoes off at the door.

We bolted along the gravel track at about 8.30am. The warden was in to begin his day but we both bowed our heads in shame to ensure we didn't have to make any contact. We escaped 9 quid richer. He wouldn’t care if one of the 7 groups staying last night hadn’t paid. I would put money on the fact that a few more of the 7 groups hadn’t paid either.

We drove happily along the coast road after getting back into insurance covered territory and I got back into the swing of Italian Job style driving. I ignore the stares burning into the side of my head every time the van swings around a corner and the vehicle threatens to overturn.

We popped along to a place called Cathedral Cove and for the first time the warnings were correct. It was a 45 minute walk down to the cove. It would also be a 45 minute walk back. I had decided before the walk that I would go for a swim and god-damnit I did. It was cold. It was also refreshing, beautifully clear beyond the breaking waves and full of little fishes swimming around. A huge splosh resounding to my right in front of the cliffs alerted me to some sea bird diving under for a few seconds to find a catch – it appeared unsuccessful. Although Kate’s photography has massively improved since the Great Ocean Road fiasco, she missed catching this gem.

I was a little worried about how we had left the van as we have been alerted to a mini epidemic of van thefts throughout New Zealand. Our van shows scars (in the left door lock) of an attempt at least of someone trying to break in. Kate’s door also does not seem to shut fully as the door alert light on the dash never goes out. Stupidly, this time and for the first time, we had left the stereo fascia still in place even though we carefully take everything else of significant value with us on a venture away from the van.

I was very relieved to see the van untouched on our return. I can’t help think that this is one of those big scare things that catches out people that leave the vans open more than anything, but it’s still something to worry about.

We drove slightly further along the coast to Hot Water Beach (a beach which has an underground thermal spring along a small stretch of the sand and for a couple of hours a day people frantically dig in the sand to find a hot spot to sit in) and ventured out onto the sand post sandwiches. The digging looked far too energetic and all the shaking heads suggested not everyone was having much luck. The sand did seem warmer in this area though, so maybe that’s something.

Another spat of driving where a small Kate panic (she had the map upside down) nearly had me worried but not for long and then another 100km of endless curves twisting through the hillside kept me enthralled (Kate slept some of this).

We were lost a little when trying to find our next DOC site near Waihi but eventually found the turnoff after consulting a tourist information map. Down a gravel track, but this one nowhere near as long – we’re parked up alongside a river flowing down to a beautiful gorge (which I have driven up and down again and again trying to find the turnoff) with another 3 cars for company. Quiet, peaceful and idyllic but for a little panic where we are 60 cents short for our overnight payment. I left a note saying we’ll sort change in the morning if they wanted the other 60 cents but I didn’t have change small enough. The honesty system is not natural with the English I would think and the temptation not to pay once again when there is no one there to collect the money is very high – but then again, it’s 6 quid. How cheap would that be not to pay?! It's not like it's 9 quid.
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