Given that our first attempt at resting was thwarted by a massive mountain, we tried again. A few relaxed days in Ohakune, followed by a return to one of our favourites so far - Whanganui. A library day was required to plan our our next section of the trip (and to catch up on writing these entries!) so we sat in the courtyard and conducted yet another “WiFi-heist”.
Now, being a stickler for the rules, I’m conflicted about this next part. We were in a library A.K.A The Land of Enforced Silence and the rarest of things occurred. One of our fellow travellers spoke to us! Shock horror! Someone check the temperature of hell...
We had a discussion with a Canadian girl who had been in the area for six weeks or so. She suggested that we join her at Lucky Bar in Whanganui to see some live music that evening. We went along and saw some eclectic styles of music and some rather “out there” performances. It was good fun. We were also invited to go and plant some trees at the nearby Eco School on the Sunday. Given that we’ve been really embracing the doing-whatever-random-strangers-tell-us-to approach to this trip, we had to agree.
The Eco School is a largely Americanised affair (think Californian rather than Deep South), along with the aforementioned Canadian. Their aim is to provide a robust and secure environment for native plants. We planted 18 trees with our bare hands. Mum - I’m a full hippy now (Dad - don’t worry! Smash the system).
Everyone seemed very nice and made us feel very welcome with the possible exception of the most militant of hippies who drinks loose leaf tea without a strainer (“just spit the leaves out, or eat them - it’s all natural, man”) and was slightly overzealous in his efforts to get us to pick litter up from the side of the main road. We left when they got the acoustic guitars and homemade percussion out...
We then headed to a couple of Art Galleries to get out of the rain. I’m completely taken by the blown glass work over here. It’s beautifully abstract, if a little expensive, and we’ll never own some because we live in our car but it’s good to pretend.
We then started our mission to the East Coast by travelling to Dannevirke for the night. Dannevirke is so named as it was originally settled by 28 Danish and Norwegian farmers, and nearby Norseville is a slightly bizarre Nordic-style town in the Southern Hemisphere. The area is fairly unremarkable but appears to have approximately one cafe per person so is a good stop for cake and coffee. A Viking said “farvell” to us as we left in the morning.