Some time off the bike

Indeed, well I’ve been hanging out in Wellington for most of the last few weeks staying with Pat and Doro while doing some Help X. It’s been really nice as its given me a chance to rest my legs, do some exploring in and around Wellington and have a little base for a few weeks over the festive period. Also as a bonus Pat and Doro have very kindly said I can leave my bike and all my stuff in their garage while I go off and do some other none bike adventures in the next few weeks which is brilliant.

What have I been getting up to, well for the Help X I’m doing roughly two hours of jobs a day which has involved doing all sorts of things from simple stuff like cutting the grass and cleaning out the chicken house to trickier things like tidying the garage…if you’d seen it before we started you understand why this was one of the trickier jobs! I’ve also done a few mechanical bits and pieces and a bit of DIY so it’s been an interesting mix of stuff. Things here are really nice and relaxed so after doing my various bits and pieces I can go off and explore or sometimes Pat and Doro have been awesome and they’ve taken me to places that are harder to reach when you haven’t got a car. I’ve also done a bit of walking with Zoey, Pat and Doro’s dog which has been lovely. Within half an hour you can be up on the top of the hills with views like the one below and with hardly anybody up there it’s lovely and peaceful.

A good rainy day activity has been exploring Te Papa which is a free museum down in the centre of Wellington. It’s amazing with loads of brilliant exhibitions. I had to go back a second time as I didn’t manage to get round everywhere the first time I went. When the suns out there’s a lovely waterfront to walk around which has a few bars and restaurants along it and at the weekend there’s a couple of cool markets with lots of interesting things in it which have been fun to explore. One of my favourite places to go was a place called Red Rocks which meant taking Pat and Doro’s 4×4 and driving around the coast. I think I mentioned this in my last post but we went back again and this time the weather was epic. The coastline is stunning and as the name rather obviously suggests there are some rocks which are well red.

There’s a little dirt road the runs along the coast line and a few interesting little rock formations to get over but within 5 minutes you wouldn’t know your anywhere near the city. It’s amazing. You meet people along there who are off to do some fishing or have a wetsuit on as they are off to dive around the rocks along the coast to find some dinner. At one point there’s a little track that heads up into the hills and we went up as far as we could before meeting a locked gate but even there the view was just stunning! Just like below, you can see the track we were following and also in the distance is the faint shapes of the hills of the South Island.

When I wasn’t walking or exploring red rocks Pat invited me along to join him on his day job. He’s a truck driver and having never been in one before I thought it would be interesting to go along and see what it was like. The first trip was a simple pick up and drop off job but sitting so high you get a new perspective on everything which was really cool. The second day we took one of Pats diggers out to a friend of his called Ward who has a farm about 30 minutes drive from Wellington. This farm was also where a big wind farm is located and when they were building the turbines they had to put an access road in which made for a pretty impressive drive up to where the digger needed to be delivered.

While at this farm we had a bit of a random half an hour or so. To get onto this track you needed a magic code to get past a big gate so there wasn’t anybody except me and Pat in the truck, Ward in his pickup and a little later Doro. The plan was to drop the digger, leave the truck and Doro would pick us up in their red 4×4 soon after. It was a bit tricky to find where we had dropped the digger as it was down a dirt track in a bit of a valley. This also meant our phones didn’t really work so while Pat was working with the digger I walked up to a high point and tired to call Doro to try and guide her where we were. As I was on the phone to her I saw a Red 4×4 on the hill opposite, it drove off and the phone line wasn’t good enough to say to Doro to stay put and not go to far away. After that I struggled to get hold of her again so Ward offered to go search for her and I jumped in for the ride. We got back onto the main track and eventually bumped into Doro. She also mentions a red 4×4 on the track which had tourists in it which was the car I had seen when I was on the phone….this is all very weird! As I said with the locked gate there shouldn’t be anyone on that road apart from us but apparently Ward was telling me people try to sneak onto the land and do farm tours with tourist which is a bit cheeky. Anyway before I could really catch up to what’s going on Ward decides we need to pursue this mystery 4×4! We blast off in pursuit powersliding around the bends in an effort to get to them before they leave out the main gate. It was brilliant, it was like a proper police chase….probably. We had two gates which needed opening on the way to the main gate so I was chief gate opener, as we skidded to a stop I jumped out, swing open the gate and leap back in! Go go go! We were flying, I think we did actually fly a couple of times! We thought we’d lost them but as we came over the last hill we spotted them in the distance! We got to them just as they were at the main gate! Fortunately, I guess and a slight anticlimax I must admit, it turned out Ward knew the people in the car he just didn’t know the car they were in hence the confusion. False alarm but a fun blast through the hills. After all that excitement we went back to find everyone else and walked to the edge of the farm to a little outhouse. What a place!! On a clear day you can apparently see the South Island. Even on a rubbish day it was beautiful.

For Christmas I decided to head back to New Plymouth. When I had passed through there a few weeks back Pamela and Ken had very kindly said if I wanted to come back for Christmas just say. So I took them up on their offer. I even got a lift up there with Jerome and Lucy, they picked me up from the outskirts of Wellington and then they even gave me a lift back on the 28th, amazing. Thank you guys! I arrived Christmas Eve and we went around to Arron and Carly’s house for a BBQ and a few drinks. The sun was out and if I’m honest it didn’t feel much like Christmas, just very odd it being so warm. On Christmas Day we had a lovely breakfast cooked by Paul and Jennifer and then in the afternoon we had an amazing meal. It was awesome and I was made to feel very welcome which was amazing. I even got a few little presents which was very unexpected but a lovely surprise! Thank you everyone!

Christmas New Zealand style, an amazing feast which we had outside and then a nice evening around a big fire. Really cool! I stayed for a couple more days which were lovely and relaxed. I went along with Paul and Ken to their squash evening which was great fun. I’ve only played it once before I think but I managed to hit the ball more than once which was good. I realised pretty quickly it was a game which involved clever tactics, I mainly found this out because I ended up running all over the place while Paul put the ball as far away from me as he could while standing still, my legs hurt for three days after! Great fun though! On my last evening we went down to the park in the middle of New Plymouth where they put a light show on, all the trees in the park are decorated and there’s different displays hanging in the trees. We got there just as it was getting dark and as the evening goes on it becomes even more impressive. Below are some jellyfish floating above one of the parks lakes.

Once back in Wellington I had a quiet few days before new year. Pat and Doro got back from their holiday on New Years Eve and there’s three guys from France living here as well called Alan, Oscar and Lucas. For New year we had a few drinks and some food at the house before heading into town to check out the fireworks. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great but the rain pretty much held off which was good. We had a few more drinks in town and then headed home. A really nice New Year.

I’ve got another week or so here and then I’m off to do a little bit of paragliding and some surfing. Neither of which I’ve really done before so while I had a bit of time I thought I would give them a go! I can’t wait. I’ll be sure to let you know how I get on…or maybe how I don’t get on. Either way it should be fun. After that I’ve got a few weeks catching up with friends and family before coming back to Wellington mid Febuary to carry on cycling down the South Island. All very exciting! Happy New Year everyone!! Hope it’s brilliant and full of lots of epic adventures!!


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