Driving seems endless sometimes, I am amazed at how fast these folks drive, zipping past me and yet many hold back preferring to ride my tail for miles and miles until the passing lane appears. The motorcycles though are the worst, coming up out of nowhere and suddenly right beside me this shocking noise and then gone. One fellow passed me doing at least 120. A cop appears at the next intersection on the right, waiting to join the stream. Motorcycle goes by, I go by, the guy behind me goes by, the cop pulls in behind him and stops him for what, speeding? I am going just under the limit so he can't be going over... Duh.
I pick up a hitchhiker after buying some fruit in Foxton.
Did I tell you how hard it is to find grapefruit? Actually it is not that difficult to get grapefruit from the USA although often there are none in the stores. What I want is local NZ grapefruit. They look like ugly fat oranges and taste very different. Anyway a guy at the fruit stand sent me into town and I found some.
This hitchhiker is going to Levin, he has been working on a pig farm (hmm should I have picked him up?) when he gets in I figure he is a German tourist because of his accent.... No. That is my ear not used to the NZ accent. I tell him I'm going to the festival so he suggests a route. I take it and end up not that far away but , "you can't get there from here" It is over the next road but I need to back to the highway to get there.
It turns out to be a wild goose chase. Camping is sold out and I am not encouraged to stick around. I feel old around all these young folks, families etc. Certainly there are some old guys like me but they look a little over the hill and I don't! Friday is a set up day/evening so lots of coming and going confusion, first I can't then a maybe. I walk around looking at the sights, dreads on heads on chins, bikinis and lots of small children. The usual arrays of cheap cottons from India, Indonesia and where ever else, jewelry, vegetarian food and coffee. Big signs on the approach NO ALCOHOL, YOU WILL BE SEARCHED etc. I have JUST purchased a12 pack of Tui, I have mead I purchased a couple weeks ago... I'm thinking "this is not going to work" The guys stop me at the gate , ask me if I have a ticket? No ? then go see info, park over there...
There is a beer garden! People are walking around with plastic cups full of the stuff. Organic beer, many varieties.
I check out the swimming hole at the river more kids, more bikinis, more dreads playing Djembes. Some of those gypsy wagons are here, all painted up surrounding really ancient looking trucks. I wander past the info tent and hear the fellow who gave me the maybe being quoted as saying "sorry no available camping tonight" The message seems clear. I am outa here.
I decide I need a dose of beach. The first one I come to is Kuku beach road, it goes on and on and on. Finally I come to the entrance. A Maori fellow is sitting there on his ATV. There is a sign indicating this is Maori tribal land, please respect it don't litter etc. I wave to the guy drive in and discover I am not going far and the beach is waay off in the distance beyond some running water and dunes and a swamp. I try the other road where this fellow is now parked. We turn off our respective engines. He notices right away I am not local, and suggests going to Otaki Beach further south since, "this is not a great beach" Then "I just got off work milking and I am going for a swim". After I have turned around, I emerge and he is conversing with a young woman in a red car, maybe they will go swim together? NOMB
Drive on to Otaki , buy some takeaway fish and chips with scallop,oyster and mussels YUM! Park at the end of the beach where all the fishermen are fishing. After eating I walk down to the river mouth where I speak with a couple of fishers. One couple has short rods, they are fishing for Mullet in the river mouth, everyone else has a rod at least 12' long casting out into the surf for ....? except for the two kayak fisher who are waay out there with two short rods each.
The sun sets beside Kapiti Island and I stop writing to take a few pictures. I am attacked (not really) by a swarm of little flies. Just annoying really. I hide in the van till they go away.
This is freedom camping, out on an isolated beach (no facilities) parked for the night.
The moon is up, bright as day in the night and in the morning it is an orange orb on the Norwestern horizon. Sleep seem unlikely as the fishermen start arriving, so I drive to the facilities, have some breakfast and do my writing.