Across Continents

Ken's Blog

A little lattitude

July 14th, 2011

Today’s Kiwese word or phrase: "Nin tin dough". Computer games console

If the weather had declined, our driver had improved. Perhaps we’d all been spoilt a bit by the others. By the time we’d reached Hokitika, the last decent sized town before Franz Josef, the air felt damp. Forty five minute stop. Encouraged by our chap, most of us headed for the local supermarket. Last chance to stock up, he’d said. Helpfully.

I’d met the bus as it’d pulled into Punakaiki. Sought to stow my bag onboard. But no. Told the baggage trailer was locked. I’d have to wait until we came to board in half an hour or so. I wasn’t impressed. It wasn’t so much the lack of joviality. He just seemed plain miserable. Perhaps he didn’t like the northern lattitudes. For, as we headed south, his commentaries did warm. Bit by bit.

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Damp day in Punakaiki

July 13th, 2011

Damp day in Punakaiki from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Ken heads off from Punakaiki. Or hopes to. Once the jovial driver lets him put his bag onboard.

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In the woods

July 12th, 2011

Retsign(3)

Today’s Kiwese word or phrase: "Sivven Sucks Sivven". Big passenger aircraft

Punakaiki. A hostel like nothing I’d ever seen. Been a few. Te Nikau describes itself as a retreat. Collection of quirky houses squirreled away amongst tame rainforest. Bright. Colourful.

Rethouse(2)

I’d spent an hour or so wandering in the woods. Following winding, twisting paths. Encouraged to explore by handyman Jesse. Explaining all, bar the one I occupied, were empty.

Rethouse(4)

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Around the retreat

July 12th, 2011

Retreatmont

Te Nikau Retreat. Actually a hostel affiliated to the New Zealand Youth Hostels Association network. Quite charming. Close to Punakaiki. On the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island

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Surly Shelia

July 12th, 2011

Today’s Kiwese word or phrase: "Cuttin". Young cat

It was an embarrassingly stupid question. Her favourite book? Started to cringe almost as the words stumbled out. Caroline had read literature. Durham. Originally from Barrow-in-Furness. I’d spent a night there once. Nondescript B&B. Arrived in the dark. Left before dawn.

Sheila(2)

I’d come across her bike a little earlier. A Surly. Well-equipped serious touring machine. Parked up in Punakaiki. No sign of its owner. Judging by the saddle, a woman. Left my card. Tucked carefully into one of the front panniers.

If Caroline thought my question awkward she didn’t let on. Difficult choices. Probably Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion. Not, I’d admitted, a text I was familiar with. But the author? He’d given his name to the Royal Geographical Society’s theatre in Kensington Gore she explained.

Caroline had passed me on the road as I’d strolled back from Punakaiki to the Te Nikau retreat. Slowed a little by an incline, we’d exchanged pleasantries. I’d asked if she found my card. She had. Did her steed have a name? Yes, she said. Sheila.

We were the only guests that night at the retreat. Sharing one of the houses. And dinner. Concocted from our respective rations. Between efforts to keep the small stove alight. Little heat from the now faintly glowing coals.

She’d been touring around New Zealand’s South Island. Heading up the coast to the North Island. Well-prepared. Very. Knew some of the familiar faces of the long-haul touring world. Had been along to the Royal Geographical Society. Serious stuff. Reflected in the kit she carried.

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In search of a cyclist

July 11th, 2011

In search of a cyclist from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Ken stumbles on a fully laden long-haul touring bicycle. British built Surly. But no sign of its owner…

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Evening sun at Punakaiki

July 10th, 2011

Punacoast (5)

Punakaiki. On the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island

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Water features

July 10th, 2011

Water(2)

On the beach. Close to the village of Punakaiki. On the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island

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Daylight

July 10th, 2011

PunCavern (3)

Punakaiki Cavern. Near the small village of Punakaiki. On the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island

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Taste of the Tasman – Part Two

July 9th, 2011

Taste of the Tasman – Part Two from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

More scenes from along the coast around Punakaiki. On the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island

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