Hitchhiking from South to North

New Zealand part I - Posted On

From Wanaka to Auckland, 1600kms are to be travelled hitchhiking. We start going to France, thumb up on the side of the road. It will take two weeks to get there! 

First day, eight different cars lead us to Christchurch at Sophie,s place. This wonderful friend takes us for a tour the next day around Christchurch city. We get a vision of what happened during and after the famous earthquake. They have now closed a giant area in the middle of the city and nearly all tall buildings are about to be destroyed to be replaced later. It’s a major disaster in NZ history!

Third day, we hitchhike and we are quite unlucky for a start, because it’s taking ages. When we start feeling desperate, a car stops. It’s a Jaguar for heaven’s sake! Chris is travelling to … Mont Manganui, 900 kms upper north! This superbusinessman takes us to the ferry and hosts us in a hotel after having picked up Stew, his accountant. We try to avoid such act of over-generosity from someone who is already giving a great deal of kindness, but there’s no way to exit, and we must accept. This comes up just after he gave his First Class ticket to Nadege in the ferry in exchange of her standard ticket. He couldn’t bare acting less than a knight!

Chris is Santa Klaus all the way up. He owns a motor yacht in Mont Manganui that he lends us for two nights. And the Mount nearby is a great spot for paragliding!

We take the best out of it and fly hours above the sea. I even meet the Ozone speedflying team pilot Dave Edwards, a crazy guy rushing through the obstacles with his small Fazer wing. Here is his video: http://vimeo.com/ozone/fazer.

Chris also invites us for a great ‘French touch’ dinner that he cooked at his magnificent house. When we talk to him about our possible visa troubles that we might have when coming back (we will have to leave NZ three months earlier the sailing season), he assures he can sponsor us for staying more… 

Talking to Stew, he appears to have the project to make his house self sufficient on an energy basis. He want tos install photovoltaic panels and hot water solar panel with a windmill for extra power. When I mention I have a mechanical engineer degree, he offers me to work on the project. I simply love the idea! It means being useful for an environmental friendly project without hierarchic pressure. Exactly what I am made for!

Seems like we got the jackpot when we met Chris!!!

In Auckland we see Jamie a cyclist friend. This morning he goes to his work 25kms away… by rowing! I love the idea and record it for the posterity. At 4am he walks 4kms carrying the 20kgs  of his gear. Crazy friend…

After setting up various things we head our way hitchhiking to the airport. Our flight is tomorrow morning and we plan to camp nearby.