• Claudio

New Zealand Diary: Driving Down Memory Lane

posted in: Fishing, General, New Zealand, Oceania, Travel | 7

Currently driving down memory lane in New Zealand.

Majestic Mount Tongariro rekindle fond memories
Majestic Mount Tongariro rekindles fond memories

Arriving in New Zealand

This is the very first time for me to visit a country twice for a longer period. Therefore, I was not as stoked at the beginning, as I usually am when visiting a new place. The airport and many sights along the way down South were familiar to me. Yet, the longer I drove, the more excited I became. Although I have seen many things before, everything appeared in a new light and not only due to the season.

Before heading South, I had to visit someone who was considerably involved in making my stay in 2015 memorable. Indeed, there are a couple of people: my host family in Auckland. Somehow, I always missed the chance to contact them. You know, the chances slipping from your hand like a wet soap. Hence, I headed through Auckland to surprise them. Unfortunately, they were away, but I left them a short notice and a small present. We caught up shortly after by phone and arranged a meeting at a later stage of this trip. Meanwhile, I started my trip down South.

Stunning rivers holding remarkable numbers and sizes of fish
Stunning rivers holding remarkable numbers and sizes of fish

Driving Down Memory Lane

My way led me through Hamilton down South to Putaruru, a place I had passed many times in 2015 when going on fishing trips. Going South, I literally “drove” down memory lane. Many sights along the way appeared familiar: Putaruru, Lemon&Paroa, ginger slices, their accent and many more.

An Old Companion

The journey to Taupo took time. Increasing jetlag fatigue caused me to stop several times for breaks inbetween. Suddenly, the weather changed from sunny to low hanging fog rendering visibility to less than 50 meters. Eventually, I arrived Taupo at a house of an old friend: Claudio.

In 2015, spending time in the South Island fly fishing, I met Claudio in Gore on the camping. We instantly connected and a strong friendship established. We spent the evening sharing beers and stories. The following morning, he left me a note with his intention to have a coffee down the road. I caught up with him and we spent a wonderful day fishing on the Mataura river. To this day I have kept his message in my journal and eventough we live only 30 minutes drive many apart in Switzerland, it took a trip to NZ to get to know each other.


Fighting Jetlag

It was wonderful to catch up with Claudio again. I was his first visitor from Switzerland, and he clearly was happy to talk to a Swiss chap in person. We shared some wine, had good laughs, and eventually decided to visit a working mate’s birthday party. Buying some beer, we arrived at the friend’s house shortly after. I save you from details, but we had a pretty entertaining evening where I met a lot of cool locals. That is how you fight jetlag.

Windy Wellington

The following morning, I learnt to know Theresa, Claudio’s fiancé. She succinctly put it that it did we did not appear to be strangers to one another. We had caught up with happenings on the other side of the world through social media. We had a late breakfast and afterwards I left them to go to Wellington. However, I plan to spend some more time fishing at their place at a later stage. Looking forward to that!

The mighty Tongariro river and its famous Bridge pool - what a stunner.
The mighty Tongariro river and its famous Bridge pool – what a stunner.

The road took me down through Turangi with an inevitable stop at the famous bridge pool. The water of the mighty Tongariro river was gin-clear, but anglers caught trout even during my brief visit. A truly magnificent place. I drove down the stunningly beautiful Desert Road along the Tongaririo National Park with its majestic peaks soaring into the sky. In a similar wake the bushy scrub pierced my skin through the pants. All seemed familiar, though everything appeared in a different light. It was winter.

Majestic Mount Tongariro rekindle fond memories
Majestic Mount Tongariro rekindle fond memories

Down in Wellington, I met Jack at his apartment. I have never met him in person but learnt to know him through fly fishing movies and our common subject of study at university: history. He kindly invited me to stay at his place while sorting out the requirements for my volunteering for Fish&Game. Jack and I had great talks during my stay ranging from fishing, environmental issues as well as history. In Wellington, I spent the last couple of days organising my volunteering for Fish&Game.

Sunrise at the ferry port in Wellington
Sunrise at the ferry port in Wellington

Stay tuned for part 2 when things do not go as planned.

7 Responses

  1. Rob Mellors

    Looks like you are having a good time already and we look forward to reading your next instalment. Always wondered what it would be like to visit NZ in the winter.

    • Tom

      Yes, indeed, it’s going pretty well more or less, but more on that later…
      Well, I was sceptical about visiting NZ in Winter at first, but so far was pleasantly surprised by good weather and stunningly beautiful scenery on frozen mornings. Camping’s got slightly harsher but with the right gear (and mindset), it’s very rewarding. More daunting is that road conditions change quickly and particularly in the morning, driving time increases drastically, and this would be the usual time I’d like to be on the road to have something from the short days down here. It gets dark by 6pm already! However, this offers more time for night photography, which blew my mind. Images follow in the next one.
      Appreciate your comment.

  2. Tobias

    Has been a while since I was in NZ, but I think it would be a similar experience for me!!!!

    • Tom

      Hi Toby,
      thanks for your comment. Yep, totally would be! On almost every drive/visit/food, I am reminded of the “good old days”. It’s awesome. You definitely should come back at some point too!
      All the best and see you in August.

  3. 23432432ww2

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon everyday.
    It will always be helpful to read through articles from other authors and use something from their sites.

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