Decided to find ourselves a decent shop to stock up on provisions for our forthcoming “long hike” – the one at the motor-camp being entirely useless. Happily, we chanced upon a couple driving out of the site to Taupei, so we cadged a ride to Turangi, the nearest town, about 20 miles away. The couple were really nice, a Pom and a Scots girl, living in Christchurch – they gave us their address. And then chore no. 1 was to find someone to fix my glasses. Last night in the tent I had somehow managed to break them very neatly down the middle. Since I’d also broken a lens in my other pair, back in October sometime, I was now somewhat buggered. Turangi didn’t have an optician, so I tried an electrician – I was hoping he might be able to solder the two halves together. One gets desperate – I’d even borrowed some superglue in the morning + tried that, but despite its professed abilities to hold elephants to trees, + old gentlemen to toilet seats, it couldn’t manage to keep my glasses together. However, the electrician couldn’t help. Apparently, it needed to be brazed, + his brazing equipment would likely melt the things. He suggested a working jewellers.
We bought our food supplies, +then headed back. This proved remarkably difficult – quite a few people that we’ve met have commented that hitch-hiking in this area is a pain. We waited a long time (by NZ standards anyway) but eventually a lorry stopped. Then we had to decide the best place to get off. We passed one turning almost immediately, which disconcerted us considerably, but more by accident than design we descended at the right road. Cars were few and far between, but the 3rd one picked us up, as well as 2 Swiss girls who happened to arrive at just the right time. It was a fun ride with, I believe, a group of Maoris + activists off to a meeting. They dropped us at the road leading to the Chateau, + tho’ we all started walking, a big lorry stopped, + the 4 of us rode on the back. So, ultimately, things didn’t work out too badly.
In what was left of the afternoon, we went on a short walk, one of several one can take from the Park HQ, to Taranaki Falls. It was pleasant enough, but certainly nothing over-spectacular – more, simply a pleasant way of killing a couple of hours. In the evening, Val baked pasties. They weren’t quite as successful as the ones she’d made in Huntly, but that can largely be attributed to a lack of home luxuries – rolling pin, baking tray, decent lard, etc. They were nonetheless quite delicious… even if they did fall apart. She even made an apple pastie, for dessert.
For me, glasses problems and tooth problems pretty much equal themselves out, both requiring attention by specialists, both costing money. And then we were preparing for our first proper walk in NZ, even goung so far as to go on a “shakedown” hike (as pictured.) NZ has excellent long-distance hiking (or tramping) trails, with huts at sensible intervals.