‘Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road’
– from On the Road by Jack Kerouac
While it will probably be a while before I go on a long American road trip Kerouac style but the weeks I spent on the road in New Zealand last year just oozed of the same feeling Kerouac conveys in On the Road. The sheer freedom of the roads and how no matter what you have seen what lies ahead always seems more promising than what has already been.
The road stretching out in front of you inviting you to keep going inviting you just one more mile on. Thats the trouble with travel you will never be satisfied with what you have seen you will always want to go and see more explore further.
The drive from Christchurch to Picton was by far the most enjoyable driving I have ever done, stops to explore and enjoy the view were so often we had to start stopping ourselves from stopping.
When I was on my flight over to New Zealand from Sydney the man next to me on the plane said that if I got the chance I should drive through Arthurs Pass, and up the west coast of the South Island and boy oh boy was he not wrong. By this point in our road trip adventure I had done a lot of driving which I enjoyed but when we started to drive through Arthurs Pass we started to swap who was driving more often than previously because you need to be in the passenger seat to appreciate just how unreal New Zealand has the capacity to look.
The drive through Arthurs pass took us most of a day so we stopped at a small camper van car park behind a petrol station in Greymouth. This is good because we were driving a 4×4 not a camper van and were going to sleep in the car with the back seats down. Now unsurprisingly the owners of the small parking area thought we were crazy but we did it anyway. And thanks to some takeaway cups the man and the petrol station gave us we also got to have a couple cups of instant chai latte.
The next day we headed on up the West Coast which again was bloody insane. Our first mini stop was to look at these pancake rocks. Now we saw the sign a few kms before hand and I was interested because I had no idea what a pancake rock was, but as you can probably tell from the photos they are just rocks that look like stacks of pancakes. I don’t know what else I thought they would be but hey the look pretty impressive.
Our next pit stop was on a beach about ten minutes drive of the main road we were on. The beach as with all the beaches I went to in New Zealand was a dream but we mostly just stopped to eat yet more peanut butter and jam sandwiches and draw words in the sand.
We spent most of the rest of the day on the road to Picton, while I would have liked to stop in Nelson transfer cars like normal rentals have a deadline except you can’t control the number of days. The Atlantis hostel in Picton was probably one of my favourite hostels I stayed in throughout my travels. It was run by the loveliest American woman who had decorated the whole thing with murals that were Atlantis themed, and while there were some things that irritated me about the place, not much bag storage, and no bedding on some of the beds I really enjoyed out two nights here. It wasn’t meant to be a two night stay but we messed up our Ferry bookings so we had a day there.
And while that seemed like an annoying prospect we ended up being able to go and explore this amazing sail boat. The man who owned it saw/heard us admiring it and brought us aboard to see inside and told us how him and his partner have been working on it for around sixteen years including sailing to New Zealand.
The next post is going to take quite a jump into the North Island because when I was going through all my photos from this trip I realised I didn’t actually take any photos in Wellington. Which doesn’t sound all that bad until you realise that I now live there. So I might do a separate guide to Wellington at some point but for now the next post will be in Taupo.