Posts by Country

Monday, September 30, 2013

Monkey Island

On Thursday, 26th of September I woke up in Dunsdale for the first of three days that I would be staying there. I rode to Mataura and the next day to Winton then on the last day I finally did the walking track then made plans to move on to the next freedom camping spot. 
On the 29th I rode to a place called Monkey Island where the limit is 27 days. I was slightly disappointed to find that the spot was not actually on the island but on the other hand I wouldn't have to wait for low tide in order to leave.

After a visit to Cosy Nook, a bay named by Captain George Thompson after his homeland Scottish Village, I spent the evening rock fishing back at Monkey Island.

The next day I took a trip to Tuatapere to get some of their famous sausages then stopped in at the Surfer Dude sculpture before heading back to camp.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


On Wednesday, 24th of September I rode on to Nugget Point and visited the light house at the end. From there I went to Cannibal Bay and rode up the beach where I saw a Sea Lion.

Next I visited famous Purakaunui Falls, one of the most photographed waterfalls in New Zealand.

After a short stop at Lake Wilkie I continued to Curio Bay. Curio Bay is famous for its ancient fossil forest remains from 180 million years ago and endangered yellow-eyed penguins. That night I arrived just in time to see the penguins and the next morning I went back out to explore the fossil forest.

After I finished packing up my gear I headed off to the most southerly point on the South Island - Slope Point. Finally, I finished my tour of the Catlins at Fortrose. When I arrived the tide was out and the remnants of an old shipwreck were accessible on foot.

Back on the bike I stopped in Invercargill and then headed over to a relatively close freedom campground called Dunsdale.

The wide open field all to myself, I enjoyed stargazing at night and a variety of bird life during the day. At night the only sounds that could be heard were the wind in the distance and a slight trickling of water from the stream.With toilets, water and a short walking track, Dunsdale Reserve was the clear choice for my next few nights of camping.

Monday, September 23, 2013


After the meeting on Sunday, 22nd of September I tried going to Tunnel Beach, but it was closed for lambing so I went to Allan's Beach - a place that I had heard about on the road. It was a bit of a drive out onto the Otago Peninsula down some gravel and dirt roads but it was pretty well worth it for the views.

Back in town I rode my bike up and down Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world. After that I headed to Mt Cargill to see the Organ Pipes.

The Organ Pipes are a prominent formation of columnar jointed basalt - a result of rapidly cooling and fracturing lava flows, common around the world in places such as Boyabat, Turkey and the Giants Causeway in Ireland.

The next day I headed for the Catlins and stayed at Hill View Camp where we were greeted by a friendly farmer and his 1.5 horses - the smaller one aptly named Little Sebastian.

Hill View Camp is one of very few places where they acknowledge the price gauging in what has become the New Zealand campsite industry. Instead of charging hostel prices of over $20 for a patch of grass they offer an actual cabin for that price or a patch of grass for $5. The other traveling Americans that I met there were equally impressed and we happily paid the price and even donated a bit extra to help out with the new cabin project.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Port Chalmers Seafood Festival

On Saturday, 21st of September I went to the Port Chalmers Seafood Festival just out of Dunedin where I was expecting to see some friends from Cheeseman. I tried fried cheese and went to a couple cooking shows where we were given tasty samples and some good ideas such as simply cooking with heaps of fresh ingredients.

After meeting up with Erin and Sylvie we went to watch a few musical performances and had some more treats from the surrounding venues.

Friday, September 20, 2013


On Friday, 20th of September I walked around Oamaru with Frank looking at the Victorian street art and after a visit to the Oamaru lookout I continued riding.

On the way to Dunedin I stopped to see the Moeraki Boulders - a bunch of concretions formed of limestone around pebbles and shells similarly to the way a pearl is formed of secretions around sand.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


 On Thursday, 19th of September I left for Oamaru. On the way I stopped to see the Clay Cliffs but missed a turn and ended up at the Quailburn Woolshed. I walked into the old, dilapidated place just as a bird went crashing through the window - almost a hundred years after the place was built. 
Next I stopped at the Takiroa Rock Art Site and saw paintings which, after about 200 years, were hard to make out. After arriving in Oamaru I met with Frank who showed me around town.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mt Cook

 On Tuesday, September 17th I rode from Christchurch to a rest stop after Fairlie. As the sun was beginning to set I decided to stop there and camp out behind some trees.

The next day I went to Lake Tekapo, Mt John and Mt Cook. 
After a walk through Hooker Valley I continued to Lake Ohau where I camped out for the night.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Godley Head

On Sunday, the 15th of September everyone at Cheeseman packed up and left. I went back to Leanne and Arthur's in Christchurch and the next day I went for a ride on my motorcycle to Godley Head.
Later that day I did an oil change on my bike and went to Flying Burrito Brothers for the last Cheeseman staff meeting.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


On Tuesday, July 2nd Mike from Cheeseman Ski Resort came to pick me up in one of the company vehicles and, after doing the first supply run across town, we headed to the mountain.

Cheeseman is a club field; this means that, like a credit union, all profits go into improving the product. As a result of this business model the staff and patrons reap some pretty awesome benefits. The staff in particular enjoy accommodation, food, ski pass and even gear, if needed, all for free. Overall, the mountain has a very familial feel and everyone enjoys good value and generally nonexistent lift queues. For me, the benefits continued as my position afforded me with, not only the time to enjoy it all, but also the most enviable accommodation on the mountain. Aside from having my own room with a king sized bed and private staff quarters all to myself, my accommodation in Forest Lodge had the added benefit of being somewhat removed. Just a few minutes down the mountain from the harsh weather and general goings on up at Snowline Lodge, Forest Lodge is a private, quiet and generally a more relaxed atmosphere. Forest Lodge also has a good number of diversions nearby such as walking tracks, world class climbing/bouldering and a skating rink.

On the way up Mike, a member of Cheeseman staff since birth, named off the sections of road as used by the mountain for describing one's location.

First we climbed Chisms Cunning and continued across Alcohol Avenue onto Texas Flat. As we climbed the mountain we went around Big Bend, passed by Forest Lodge, Fat Jimmy's, around Land Rover Corner, passed Middle Hut and then, finally, we arrived at Snowline. Of course, many of these places have a bit of a story to them; Fat Jimmy's, for example, was where James the grader driver went over the edge and survived only because he wasn't wearing his seat-belt and was flung from the vehicle before it rolled perilously down the mountain.

After we arrived at Snowline everyone went to work and, after four hours, managed to set things up for the start of the season. A large snow storm, which preceded our arrival, made for very optimistic conditions but still required some preparation. Over the following days we did Avalanche and Beacon Training and attempted some preseason skiing on "snow", now ice, which was yet to be groomed. We also enjoyed food prepared by a highly qualified chef while waiting for the cook who would be making our food for the remainder of the season.

On Saturday, the 6th of July, the mountain opened for the season and I received my first guests in Forest Lodge. At first I had one other staff member staying there, an instructor named Justin, who seemed alright but managed to get into an argument with management before long and was fired. I still had some friends to hang out with over the season, specifically Josh - an engineer who had managed his investments so that he would be able to ski year round and potentially never have to work again. Josh made an agreement with Cheeseman, the first in the history of the club, so that he could stay at Forest Lodge for the duration of the season. We had a few that came for as a long as a month and we would invite them to join us for TV marathons and general hanging out in the evenings.

On July 11th I returned from my weekly supply run to Christchurch and found we had some guests. The West Coast Curling Team was around for the first of several regular practice sessions which they borrowed the skating rink for. These old fellas were a funny bunch; they would show up in their full Scottish regalia, including kilts, patches and orange wigs, put on a massive BBQ and start playing what is probably the most unusual game you've ever seen. For those who don't know (most people I reckon) Curling is this game where you chuck a stone across the ice and someone else on your team sweeps the ice with a broom in order to decrease friction so that the stone will go far enough to stop in the middle of a group of concentric rings. Of course, sweeping only occurs when the stone isn't thrown hard enough to go the full distance. As strange as it is, Curling is actually a pretty fun and addictive game as well as a good way to get all your buddies out in the cold for a BBQ in the middle of Winter.

On July 14th, the mountain was closed by a storm. During this closure the ski patrol unit set off some explosives to create controlled avalanches in order to make the slopes safer for skiing. During this process one of the guys accidentally set off an avalanche while checking the stability of the snow. He slid several hundred metres and managed to land himself scraped and bruised with only a minor sprain.

In the last couple weeks of July I got sick and lost my voice, a large group came to party and a kid got sick in his room and a possum forced his way into the lodge while I was sleeping.

August 25th I took my first and only day off to go snowboarding at Broken River where the snow was a bit deeper and a few days later we got a big snow storm which improved conditions throughout Arthur's Pass.

In the first week of September I finally shaved my beard as well as my head.

A couple days later was the Undie 500, a race down the mountain with small challenges like bombing the steepest run and eating a dry weetbix. The next day the mountain closed and we all spent the last few days hanging out in the lodge and eating up the rest of the food. 

Before leaving we had a day climbing at Castle Hill and went over to Cave Stream - another must see in Arthur's Pass.