It rained overnight and as we drove north from Greymouth we ran into successive rain showers, which once again deprived us of the views of the Southern Alps that we’d hoped for.
We also ran into the most enormous ‘convoi exceptionnel’ coming south towards us, which forced us and all other vehicles to pull over to the side of the road to avoid being flattened by whatever it was they were moving – which looked something like a cross between a medium sized house and a Space Shuttle. As half of the road bridges in this part of the country are single track and look rickety enough to be used in a Disney theme park we couldn’t work out where it had come from or where it was going – but, believe me, it was big!
Driving in New Zealand is a fairly painless experience. With a national speed limit of 100km, which most motorists seem content to obey, both driver and navigator have time to enjoy the scenery – especially if you’re at the wheel of a clapped-out VW campervan which struggles to manage some of the climbs up through the mountains in anything greater than third gear. The other pleasurable aspect of motoring over here is the price of diesel, which at $1.50/litre is about half the cost of fuel in UK – though watch out for the sneaky tax on diesel vehicles, which I gather they levy at the end of each hire.
As we crept over the last of the passes through the mountains we left the last (hopefully) of the miserable weather behind us and dropped down into the Nelson Region which is known for wine making and fruit growing and ……. yes, you’ve guessed, more beautiful scenery. Staying at a place called Woodstock in a campervan appealed to something in the hippy side of my nature – though these days I’m more interested in free Wi-Fi than free love.