Here’s to a summer spent in New Zealand …
Car stereo doesn’t work. Used the Warehouse voucher that was a Christmas present to buy batteries for the boombox, a 3 disc 90’s compilation and sunscreen. Pull over to pose with exuberant hydrangea bushes, small towns are so delicious. Head to where the river mouth meets the ocean. Black sand strewn with driftwood. Quad bikes hoon. Fish and chips and coleslaw and an icy Asahi to share. A caramel coloured shetland pony nibbles on the parched grass by the skatepark. Sun setting on sea-side neighbourhoods. Drinking green tea in the tent. Bananas growing in the far-north, an experimental vineyard planted by an early settler. Barefoot boys run across bubbling puddles towards the Ngawha Springs. Silty, hot, black and sulphuric. Skin as soft as silk. Out of time New Year countdowns drifting across a wide undulating field. Heavy winds and car headlights. Catching a bouquet. Playing scrabble in a caravan late at night. Plunging into a freezing pool of myth and legend then climbing out into the pure hot sunshine. Burn-outs listening to TLC. Floating in the sun-warmed shallows at dusk holding a can of DB. Six voices singing/shouting Bohemian Rhapsody. Kicking triumphant arcs of sea-water. Continue reading
It was hot, and the stereo was broken so we sang acapella All Saints, on the day I drove two hungover friends out of Melbourne, way way out, to Cactus Country in Strathmerton.
Just 10 bucks got us entry into the spiky wonderland. The excitement at the seriously amazing amounts of different cactuses there were meant I got stabbed and scratched quite a few times before I came to respect just how sharp the thorny beauties are.
When we’d had enough of the dusty desert heat we drove to the Murray River and dipped ourselves into the cool milky waters. We’d driven so far we were swimming on the border of Victoria and New South Wales.
We had a rule on last summer’s road trip, no regrets. This meant if either of us saw something we wanted to capture as we drove and drove, we had to stop, or else we would surely regret not doing so.
As we explored the very Northern and Eastern edges of the North Island we meet girls riding bareback at golden hour. Boys bombing off bridges. Field after field teeming with wildflowers. The best beaches. Sacred burial grounds. Magical forgotten towns that are of course not forgotten, lively communities exist here, just at a slower, lovelier pace. The sun burning down on my bare arm hanging out the window. It was one of those road trips that is just ripe with nostalgia.