New Zealand Diary: Issues ahead

It was not long, until things began to fall apart. Read about the issues on the road.


What happened before the issues…

As you can read in my previous post, I have just left Wellington for the South Island of New Zealand. The goal was to visit some Fish&Game councils en route to capture footage and photographs for/with them. Given I was visiting the South Island in July (their winter), I expected the weather to be even more unsettled than during summer and much colder. Truth to be told, it was a very mild winter. Moreover, I was very lucky that all mountain passes I had to take closed after my drive. The weather seemed to be on my side (mostly…). Nonetheless, this did not prevent me from other issues.

New Zealand Diary: Ferry from Wellington to Picton (Queen Charlotte Sound)
New Zealand Diary: Ferry from Wellington to Picton (Queen Charlotte Sound)

Things that fell apart/got lost/went wrong

Well, there was not only one item which failed, but several of them. Some got lost, others fell apart or broke, and other stuff just went wrong too. Here is a list of some issues I had along the way.

Aerial view West Coast New Zealand South Island
Aerial view West Coast New Zealand South Island

Toyota Yaris

I rented a car in Auckland and drove all the way down to Wellington. Then the ferry carried me to Picton (South Island) and I continued the journey towards Invercargill, via Karamea on the West Coast. On the way down, the engine lamp started flashing while crossing the mountain pass from Wanaka to Queenstown. Given I made a stop there anyway for another repair, I contacted Apex rental. Instead of fixing my Toyota Yaris, they exchanged it for a Corolla. The Yaris was too small to sleep in anyway. But wait, why did I not use my tent to sleep?

Apex rental car issue Toyota Yaris
Apex rental car issue Toyota Yaris

MSR Freelite 2 Tent

From Picton I drove towards Karamea and camped for two nights in Mokihinui. A wonderful area, I have not visited previously. Apart from stunningly beautiful rivers, there are not only magnificent lime caves nearby, but also a shipwreck on the beach. This shipwreck, the fact that it was new moon, and the absence of any light pollution towards south west, was an opportunity for astrophotography not to be missed.

Night sky at the West Coast NZ with shipwreck
Night sky at the West Coast NZ with shipwreck

On the day of departure, I packed the tent in the dark. It was very windy, and I had to secure the tent with side lines during the night. When I undid them, a strong gust pushed down the tent sideways and an awkward cracking sound shook me to the core. The pole of the MSR Freelite 2 broke.*

Broken MSR Freelite 2 tent pole issue
Broken MSR Freelite 2 tent pole issue

From this moment onwards, I visited every outdoor shop along the way. From Greymouth, to Wanaka, Queenstown, and Invercargill. It was not until the last stop that I was able to receive replacement, although other shops did their best to assist me.

Broken MSR Freelite 2 tent pole issue
Broken MSR Freelite 2 tent pole issue

On the way down, I tried bivouacking with the tarp and the groundsheet of the tent. Yet, the humid and windy conditions at Fox Glacier lead me to spend awful nights in the car. Back then I still used a Toyota Yaris, which was a pain in the… neck. Moreover, during my search for replacement other things figuratively fell apart.

Mount Tasman close to Fox Glacier New Zealand
Mount Tasman close to Fox Glacier New Zealand

Samsung S7 phone

While looking for replacement in Greymouth, I put my phone into the belly pocket of my sweater. My gut feeling told me for a second that many things had fallen out of it in the past, but I was too lazy to take the hint seriously. Inevitably, my gut feeling was validated once again. Even though my phone had survived countless falls with only scratches, the kiwi asphalt proved to be an unfair opponent. The screen was cracked.

Sunset at West Coast New Zealand
Sunset at West Coast New Zealand

It was not the fact that my phone broke, but rather my laziness to put stuff away properly that annoyed me. Unavoidably, this issue reminded me of the golden rules Philippe and I had established on our treks:

  1. Put everything in the same place when it is not in use.
  2. Always close every compartment – always.

More Issues…

Some zipper failures occurred such as on the soap bag and the packing sac. My jeans tore between my legs while wading. The Zoom H5 audio recorder seems to have a problem with the stereo capsule. Moreover, I lost my beloved blue Buff, which I had bought back in 2015 – in New Zealand. Another quite disturbing issue was that I accidentally threw an USB adapter from my drone into the rubbish bin… Don’t ask…

Sunrise West Coast New Zealand
Sunrise West Coast New Zealand

As you can see, many things did not work out as planned. Nonetheless, my way down South provided me with many new and known sights. Even though I had many issues, I was reminded of a wonderful saying: The more you own, the more it owns you. So, I tried my best to look at the bright side and NZ did a great job in distracting me from worrying about these little incidents.


* The pole was replaced by MSR to no surcharge except for the postage.

5 Responses

  1. Man that sucks!
    Have a great trip nevertheless

    • Hi Jay,
      Cool to hear from you! Well, it’s all part of the journey. I realised on many advenutures that sometimes things must fall apart so that you value what you have. Without the inevitable downsides you couldn’t enjoy the highs on your trip.
      All the best,
      Tom

  2. Rob Mellors

    I guess it’s ‘been there, done that’! I once got out of a taxi in Costa Rica without thinking about the expensive pair of binoculars which were resting on my lap. They crashed to the ground and as a result I could only watch birds through one eyepiece for the rest of the trip. Not a great start to a bird watching tour! Beautiful night sky at Mokihinui. Not been there before. will have to put it on the list of places to go and visit.

    • Hi Rob,
      Bugger! That must have been a really worrying situation, but hey always look on the bright side: one side was (more or less) intact!
      Thanks for the compliment definitely worth the detour towards Karamea. If you make your way up there I totally recommend visiting the Oparara Arches. I found a blue duck there and they are truly incredible.
      All the best,
      Tom

      • Rob Mellors

        Hi Tom. Yeah, the Whio is a wonderful duck. I love the black bit at the end of its beak. But don’t they blend in with their surroundings? They can be really hard to spot against a river bed. Enjoying reading your post and it seems you had a great time in NZ.

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