My Trip to New Zealand
Pete Grant
Dec 2007 to February 2008

 

Rain, Rain, Rain!! All over South Island (according to radio weather info). I arrived in Wanaka on Monday, the 21st, in good weather. I parked my camper van for one night -- and what a night! It started raining on and off at about 10pm and kept waking me up throughout the night. By 0600 it was raining steadily medium-hard.

After I managed to run to the bathroom, getting only a little wet, I pulled the plug from my camp site and headed to town. By this time it was raining rather heavily. I found one cafe open and was able to fill my need for caffeine to wake me up. Then I went to a supermarket and bought a few groceries. I actually started to drive towards Dunedin, having heard the day before that that area would be dry for the next couple of days. After about 10km out of town I heard the weather report: It was raining in Dunedin also. Bummer! I turned around and returned to Wanaka and booked another campsite for the night. I sat inside my van most of the day as it was raining hard and steadily until about 4pm. Then it cleared up

4 p.m. - rain stopped, but still dark 5 p.m. - it was definitely clearing up.

I spent the next day mostly driving around inspecting climbing areas (one is on the left -- there's a couple of climbers on it but it's hard to see them in this small photo).

I also contacted a climbing guide service and made arrangements to spend a day with a guide on Thursday. Now, if only the weather would cooperate (kept my fingers crossed).

 

 
Next morning was definitely a nice one (left). My guide service picked me up at 9 am and 20 minutes later we were at out first climbing site parking lot distributing gear to those who didn't have it.
 
My first climb - a lead. It was only a 12 (5.4) but I had to do an easy one to show the guide that I knew what I was doing. My second lead, a 15 (5.6). I felt quite insecure leading this one, especially before clipping the first bolt as the rock felt very slippery and I had no faith in my footholds. The hand holds were just crimpers and I felt I would not be able to stop a fall if my foot should slip. But I made it. My feet slipped once but luckily the handholds at that spot were better than most others on the route and I didn't fall.
 
My last climb of the day was graded 17 (5.7) but I found it very hard for the grade -- perhaps this one was under rated. I fell and rested on the rope more than once, but finally made it to the top.
 
I thought our campsites were crowded . This is a boaters' camp at Lake Wanaka shore. Next morning, before leaving, tried to capture the beautiful morning sun lit scene. A NZ government sponsored road show was in town. It's main theme was on preserving NZ's environment by modifying our diets -- somewhat. It seemed kind of problematic as they pointed out that 95% of their agricultural products are exported to other countries. New Zealanders could all become vegetarians and it would make an insignificant effect on the total greenhouse gas emissions.
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