Friday, 16 December 2011

Days 5-7: Clutch problems

I'm writing this perched on a cliff on the outskirts of New Plymouth, watching bands of rain rolling in off the sea. Rain seems to be a feature of the holiday thus far…

As it turns out there's a storm system passing over NZ at present. On Wednesday it dumped 2 months worth of rain on the northern tip of south island. In one day. The most rain they've had in 100 years, they say. 

Despite the continuing precipitation, Wednesday morning saw us hit the back-country of the west coast of North island - we figured that the black sand surf beaches would look good in any weather, and how right we were.
A stroll on the beach, umbrella in hand

State highway 3 hits the coast at Mokau, a small harbour town centred around a tidal estuary and the bridge over it. This is the kind of place where the post office, diner, general store and camp site are all one and the same. Still great coffee though.

Exploring the narrow back streets for ways down to the beach we hit a blocked road and had to reverse back up the hill. This was clearly too much for the clutch as, when we got to the top and turned round, it gave a puff of smoke and stuck in first gear. When I say stuck I mean it - couldn't even get neutral - so I turned off the engine and we coasted to a halt partly blocking a junction. Waiting half an hour for the smell of burnt clutch to subside didn't help, so we called the AA for a tow. Thursday morning saw Wilderness spring into action and by 10:00 they'd arranged a replacement vehicle and had it on a truck being brought down.

Our day waiting for the new wheels in Mocau was far from wasted - it may have been lashed by rain but the long beach looked stunning. The driftwood here is incredible - whole trees lying at the back of the beach in piles, truly a sight to see. That, the jet black volcanic sand and the big waves kept us quite occupied. Our new home turned up on schedule and turned out to be a slight upgrade - bigger fridge, and we now have an extractor fan!

K shows off the latest in water-proof camera cases

This morning (Friday?) we awoke to (OK - partly) blue skies. Still lots of clouds, but definitely gaps between them! We wasted no time in hanging our wet clothes out to dry, and then hit the beach for another walk along the shoreline. We moved south through the day, exploring the coastline until the next band of rain set in, after which we made a dash for our next port of call.

That is where you find us now. There's apparently a stunning volcano here, perfectly proportioned in the manner of Mount Fuji, but we have yet to catch a glimpse of it. This is one of the rainiest corners of NZ, and in a week of record-breaking rain…

Still, we're off to Wellington tomorrow and the forecast is for sun on Sunday :-)

The new van


Solvnotan said...

hej, på er, tack för trevliga hälsningar från NZ otur ni har med vädret, men ni hade väl det lite i bakhuvudet att det kunde bli så, jag tror minsann att det är extremår över hela jordklotet. Här är fortfarande +grader har bakat mer knäckebröd idag samt jitterbuggare och pepparkakor bra att ha om vi får besök. Ha nu fortsatt trevlig resa och var rädda om er. puss från mamma

Anonymous said...

Sorry the weather has not been better but you are still appreciating the landscape. Hope you didn't lose too much time in getting the replacement RPV, thanks for photo. Have managed to use online translator for the Swedish comments. Take care, M&D