DAY 326...Discovery

Calm and tranquil is the best way to describe our night last night. We had tucked ourselves into a corner of the campsite sheltered by the increasing wind during the night, so when I first wandered across the grass towards the kitchen this morning I had to look up at the clouds to reassure myself that there was actually a strong wind blowing, as per the forecast I had just been looking at. It was there alright.

Back into Cuzzie to write up some more thoughts and my past few months of kayaking life. This sometimes is easier than others so for a little while it kept me occupied until Anna awoke. As she sat eating her cereal, still in her sleeping bag to keep warm, we planned out the day ahead. I talked about my life pre-paddling and then it was time for another "lets go discover the real NZ" typical adventure day.

It did take us awhile to get going, me chatting on the phone to a gorgeous friend who is on the road as well. Being nomads from Auckland, we are trying to plan a catch-up and it is a must do. (I can't wait Sue and Steve.) It was also hard to leave this very quaint little campsite, but we do have to return when I am due to launch and are both very happy about that thought.

We headed off to firstly pay for our overnight stay and then head into Eltham to look at the cheese shop we had been recommended to stop at. It was a day using google maps and a day to be reminded that google maps does not ever suggest for the prion to do U turns! It always takes you around the block. We discovered that when we went around a very large road detour to get to our destination after a small wrong turn! Anyway it is all the more reason to just have a good laugh then continue along another hardly ever driven road!

Then we went towards Rotokare; the rippling lake. Stopping first to visit an Alpaca farm, Anna was keen to see some young newborns. Sadly there were none. We found out that they are not due until November. But the adults looked really cute, albiet when we did approach them to say hi they tucked their ears back giving the impression they were rather grumpy.

It was cold and raining by now so we headed inland towards the lake and as we passed through two pest security gates, which then opens up into a very beautiful and tranquil lake and scenic reserve, we sat and ate lunch then dragged on our raincoats, selected the appropriate footwear (Crocs and Tevas!) and headed for the boardwalk track through the bush and the wetlands around the lake edge. Sometimes with the walks where you are not expecting anything amazing, you seem to find the most wonderful discoveries. This 4.5km is one of those. It was effortless but totally beautiful the entire time. Saddleback birds, fish in the clear streams, fantails, pigeons and a couple of other bird calls I could not recognise. It is a must go place. Even beautiful on the wet and blustery day.

Now back at Cuzzie, our feet and shoes washed in the clean fresh lake it was later than we thought so it was time to head for a new overnight stop. Towards the mountain we thought was a nice option. Up we drove, past snow on the roadsides and then to Stratford plateau DOC carpark. The snow was just about to the base of the mountain and it had been one week since snow had fallen. As we parked up it became apparent that the wind gusts where horrendous, it made me nervous for Louise on the roof and we moved to a lower location to see if we could get shelter. It was only a little better, we sat for awhile with the heater on and braced ourselves every time the wind gust tried to rip the kayak and the roof racks off. The weather was not to improve the forecast said! Also the cloud cover had completely blanketed out any view we did have pre-nightfall. We then and there decided to relocate. Off I drove about 30 minutes further to a location I had been to before with Martin and they also have parking overnight (Dawsons Falls). It is more sheltered and beautiful bush surrounds us, we are tucked away from most of the storm, with the heater on and enjoying the early evening.

Today has been about discovering, and how this landscape changes as soon as you leave state highway 3. It is incredible. As the rain falls on the roof of Cuzzie we make bacon and potato soup for tonight's heart warming dinner. 

My smiles today:
$12 for the Waverley campsite. A powered site, hot showers and kitchen.
Brie cheese circle for just $2.20.
Alpacas are rather cute.
The grey water saga in Cuzzie. (That story is for another day.)
That Martin got Cuzzie stuck in sad on a beach! A local had to pull him out!
Poor Anna just told me that I managed to hit her in the head with the orange mud ramps the other day!! Holy crap it is a wonder she is still on this journey with me!
Homemade soup. I love it.

My thoughts today:
Life is like a mirror, it'll smile at you if you smile at it. Well best I keep smiling

Good night from Red, Anna, Cuzzie and Louise.

Ma Te Wa.

Lake Rotokare.

Lake Rotokare.

Enchanted forest.

Enchanted forest.