By Jade Johnston
We stayed the following night at the Waikaramoana motor camp, relaxing, watching John Safran videos on my laptop and organizing our stuff. The girls got back from their hike the following afternoon and we then played tetras with all the bags in order to fit them all into their little station wagon. We did manage it, and the five of us began the drive to Wairoa. The road was windy and alternated between gravel and pavement. The poor little car had to stop every 15 – 20 minutes to let the engine cool down, so it was slow going. When we eventually got to Wairoa, James and I got out and the girls continued on their journey.
From Wairoa we were trying to hitch back to Napier. We stood by the petrol station on the edge of town for what seemed like ages and after about an hour and a bit we gave up. After sitting on a desolate bench which seemed like it would break under our weight any moment, we decided to walk along the highway and look for a place we could freedom camp.
As we were walking along, and by this point we had given up on hitching, a car pulled up and asked us if we needed a ride. Angela (a Canadian) and Frank (a German) are a couple who are living and working as fruit pickers on a kiwi orchard which was nearby. They drove us to the orchard, and after clearing it with their bosses, we were allowed to set our tent up at their place.
They have done the same sort of thing that James and I want to do, working and living in both New Zealand and Australia. Angela and I discussed all the Canadian delicacies that we miss – such as Caesars and Caramilk bars, which thoroughly confused James. Despite what he thinks, vodka and tomatoe/clam juice is a winning combination.
The next day was rainy and one of the other workers at the orchard thought he might be going to Napier. We waited around for both the rain to stop and for him to get a phone call which decided if he was going or not. In the end the rain didn’t stop, and he didn’t need to go to Napier. After lunch we decided it was now or never, so we headed to the highway and started to hitch.
After about twenty minutes we got picked up by a Kiwi/ Irish couple who now live in Ireland but were visiting her father in Wairoa. They took us all the way to Napier. The road from Wairoa to Napier is a windy mountainous one, and it took all my personal strength and effort to remain cheerful and talkative despite how horrendously motion sick I was.
When we arrived in Napier we found that all the camp sites were fully booked, so we ended up staying in a hostel. This is the first hostel we have stayed in, and it was called “The Stables.” It ended up being a rather good deal despite the higher cost due to the unlimited internet access.
The next day we were all ready to go early in the morning but then were captured by a nap on the couches sitting on the hostels porch. At about one in the afternoon we did manage to get moving and got a ride with a man to Hastings who was about to go on a three day trail ride with his standard bred horse.
In Hastings – which is a rather grim town – we toured all the dollar stores before meeting up with Brian who is staying in Hastings to work as a seasonal fruit worker. We hung out at a local dive bar and in the park until evening set it. Then we piled into his friends car and drove all the way back to Napier to see a band.
After living in a tent for the last several weeks, we have gotten into the habit of rising and sleeping with the sun – meaning that by ten o clock we were dead tired. After the gig ended – which was awesome by the way – we took our bags to the marine parade in Napier and set up tent behind a bush. Which could have been well camouflaged if perhaps we were not right next to a jogging path.