NEW ZEALAND | Karekare

Well, what can I say about this place! This has to be one of the most magical places to spend time that I have ever been to. Lucky me… again! My best friend Neil and his girlfriend Alyssa just happen to live here! I’ve been so fortunate for the entire trip this time. The global work situation is pretty desperate, and where I expected to waltz back into the freelance world in New Zealand, it never quite happened. Needless to say four months into the adventure, I’m pretty screwed financially. I can never thank Neil and Alyssa enough for putting me up, and putting up with me for almost three whole months, it’s been an absolute pleasure staying in this wicked bush retreat, and only a stones throw away from beautiful Karekare beach, the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park and the West Coast.

I’m writing this blog on the 20th May 2011, I think this is the first time I’ve actually managed to write it on the day of posting. There is good reason for this, and that is because it is not just raining, but pissing it down outside. Good for nothing but frogs and ducks out there, that’s why I’m not out there, and I’m in here writing this! There are never two days the same here in Karekare. I absolutely love the coastline here, I’ve spent literally hours on end striding up and down the beach which stretches as far as you can be bothered to walk. If there’s one mistake I made coming out here that was not making room for my walking boots in my suitcase. Instead I brought my tripod, which I’ve used all of about three times up to now. When I first got here I instantly regretted not having them, especially seeing as the market price for a decent pair of hiking boots here is now somewhere in the region of NZ$400 which is a piss take really. You can’t let a little obstacle like that get in your way, but after trying a few tracks in my flip-flops I realised I was going to have to purchase something a bit more substantial. No problem! Neil took me to the No.1 Shoe shop in Henderson, there I managed to bag a pair of trainers for the more reasonable price of NZ$36, what a bargain. The sole of the shoe is actually that thin you can feel the floor with your toes through them. This doesn’t sound that great, but actually, it’s a bit like having climbing shoes on and great for clinging onto the volcanic rock with your toes without having to take you shoes off to do it. Said trainers and myself have walked over 200km through the jungle in the last month or so. I’ll take a photograph of them before I leave for the memory. Who needs fancy footwear?

Each day in the past few weeks I have made it a daily event to go hiking, for anything between 2 – 6 hours at a time. Some days I’m lucky enough to take Mali, Neil’s boxer dog along, which I adore. I’ve only managed the 6 hour track once, not because it was took too long, but because there has been so much rain, most of where I’ve been going it’s absolute shit up to the eyeballs. The trainers have been marvelous, but they aren’t quite up to six hours of foot deep shite. Still, I’m managing three hours most days, and I’ve even been out there in it today. As I was walking up the top of the Zion Hill track, there was a river running back down it. Bring it on!

It dawned on me today, that I’m actually leaving next week. Out here you live completely on Karekare time. It’s gone really fast, and really slow all at the same time and that will never make any sense to anyone who hasn’t lived here. I truly love it here, and maybe one day I’ll have a beach house here that I can come and stay at for a few months a year or something. It really is a special place, a place I never tire of being.

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