"How the hell did you get here?!"

Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
Trip End Jun 18, 2011

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Sunday, September 19, 2010

Reading back over the last few diary entries I've realised that I've not really said anything about the main news happening here in New Zealand... the freak weather we've been having! Since we got to New Zealand the weather had been gradually getting worse; it has rained nearly every day and the wind has been causing some major damage on the North Island. We have seen quite a few washouts where the edges of the road has been washed away, there have been dozens of mud slides in the surrounding hills, power cables have come down and the storms have caused huge potholes in the roads. Well when we left Waitomo yesterday we had planned to drive all the way down to Wellington in preparation for our ferry crossing on Monday, but when we set off the wind was really getting up and we spent most of the journey dodging potholes and falled trees in the road. Instead of getting all the way to Wellington we only got about two thirds of the way and ended up staying overnight in a place called Wanganui. When we arrived at about 8pm I went into the reception to pay our fees and the lady behind the counter seemed quite shocked to see me. "How the hell did you get here?!" she asked me. "Errm, we came down Route 4 and through the National Park. Why?" I asked. "Because all the roads are shut because of the storm! I'm surprise you made it this far!". It turns out that every road we had driven on had been shut only a few minutes after we had finished driving on them because the wind was so strong!
The next day when we woke up there was quite a lot of damage on the roads and as we listened to the radio we discovered that the strong winds last night had actually been classified as a tornado! Tom was very pleased with himself that he had driven 4 hours through a tornado, but to be honest apart from some strong winds and a spot of rain we got off pretty lightly compared to the rest of the country.

Today we finished the rest of our journey to Wellington and stayed in a campsite just outside of the city. Once we arrived we went for a wander around the town, there were more food outlets in the Shopping Centre than there are people in the whole of New Zealand and the Pound Shops were filled with the same rubbish as at home. As you can probably tell, we both woke up this morning feeling pretty worn out from our caving adventure yesterday. Tom has got two of the biggest blisters I've ever seen across his knuckles from the abseil ropes and between us we've got a nice collection of bruises and bumps. So after some lovely homemade pizzas (you can't get a cheese and tomato pizza at the supermarket, they all have bacon on them!) we head to the land of nod for a very deep sleep!     
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