New Zealand is very interesting and over the past few weeks I’ve learnt quite a lot about this big small country.
‘End of roadworks’ just means that there are no roadworks until you find a new sign ‘roadworks’ 5 metres further.
Here the weather changes from boiling hot to ice cold in a matter of seconds. There are winds that sweep your car into the other side of the road (yes that happened) and five minutes later you cannot see anything because the sun blinds your sight.
Locals do not care about recommended speeds in bends. Even though if the recommended (and much needed) speed is 25, they will not give you space to brake.
Entering a village does not mean that you have anywhere to stop. It just means that 4 people live there and you can’t drive 100 km/h.
You have to hydrate and you shouldn’t hydrate. There are no toilets or stops for ages. If you find a stop and you want to go secretly, someone will suddenly stop at the same place too (even though you didn’t see anyone in the last 20 min). If you find a nice quiet forest-y place to go, you’ll find a sheep carcass, run to your car and decide not to try again. You will have trouble not peeing your pants the whole way, which is awkward when you meet your family for the first time. (”Hi I’m Sarah and I really have to use the bathroom”)
There are gangs on the roads. And yes, they look scary on their motorbikes while they’re travelling with a group of twenty.
It is normal to have a ‘one lane bridge’ more than once on a highway.
You will see some cars or motorbikes lying in ditches while your driving. They don’t pick them up, they leave them there as a sort of monument.
If you find a bar there will always be an angry looking person of 2m tall sitting in front of it.
Airco uses petrol but you cannot live without it.
The quanitity of sheep looking at you surprised or suspicious while your driving is immensely high. And yes, they stand next to the 100 roads pondering life and the little amount of cars passing.
The radio stations in New Zealand are great, but most of the time you hear white noise.
Highways are one lane wide and have rocks and trees lying on them.
The scenery constantly changes and the most pretty views cannot be captured, because there is no way of stopping on those roads. New Zealand is so pretty and while driving is exhausting, it is absolutely worth it. It is the most stunning and diverse I have ever seen.
When I arrived in Whanganui, I met Phyl, the mother of Paul. Her husband (Leo; my dad’s cousin) sadly died too young. Phyl showed me a speech he wrote about living here and it is absolutely amazing.
I had to laugh so hard at the ‘Bastard Sugar’. Also the looking at sheep. And the riding in the wrong direction. It is amazing. This was in 1952, when they came here by boat(!). Amazing how things have progressed. I spent the evening with Phyl, who made me lovely dinner (steak!) and we talked loads. Awesome night!