Today I had one primary objective….make it to Invercargill (safely) and get the rim replaced.  Phil at Parts World had told me that the rim should arrive by 10 AM so I woke at 8, made/ate breakfast and had a nice chat with my host Morgan who I did not meet the night before.  Morgan was a very interesting young woman.  She is a French teacher and very interested in the French culture and France in general…..

She and her partner James were both from the Dunedin area (about 2 hours away) but she had recently accepted a new job and they will be moving to Auckland later this year.  To prepare for her new position she will travel to France for 2 months and she was very excited about this.  She is a very ambitious person and she was excited about the move and her new position and I got excited (for her) just talking with her about it.  James is a project manager for a company who handles the large power grids for New Zealand.  I got the feeling he is a little less excited about the move but was looking forward to the opportunities that Auckland had to offer.  I wasn’t able to get a read on how Josh (the dog) felt about the move but he seemed to be pretty easy going so I’m sure he’ll be fine. πŸ™‚
After brekkie (recall this is what AU and NZ calls breakfast), I loaded up and began my 40 mile journey to Invercargill.  At this point I already over 130 miles on the space saver so I was a little concerned that I was pushing my luck.  I said a prayer before I left and hit the road (not literally this time :-).  
Fortunately the drive to Invercargill went fine and I made it to Parts World a few minutes after 10. I met Phil and true to his word he had the rim in hand (thank you Lord!).  He had told me that they would be able to change the tire (fortunately the tire (somehow) was not damaged) and he directed me down the street to their garage and told me a chap named William would assist me.  One really cool thing about NZ is they are definitely more trusting than much of the US. He put the wheel in my car and directed me down the street without payment. I like that.  
When I arrived at the garage I met William, a very nice guy from Tahiti.  While he worked on my wheel we had a very nice conversation (surprise right πŸ™‚ in which he told me about his family in Tahiti and in the US (Seattle and Texas). He told me about his move to NZ and his life in NZ and showed me pictures of his mother and cousins. And after a few minutes he shared that his whole family were Christians (awesome!).  He showed me pictures of his uncle who was a pastor back in Tahiti and showed me the church that he leads.  It only took he 10 minutes or so to change the tire but we talked for probably 30.  What a great guy with a great heart for his family and the Lord.  Although I was of course not happy about what had led me here (busted wheel) I was so happy that God had led me to this particular place and allowed me to meet another great person in NZ.  I believe all things happen for a reason and this reason was starting to come clear.  
We spoke for a while and exchanged contact information.  Since I am planning a trip later this year to the Pacific Northwest I plan to keep in touch with William and maybe stay with his family in Seattle as they own a small hotel there.  How cool would that be?  
I said my goodbyes to William, returned to Phil, paid my bill and I was on my way with a new wheel. 
My new friend William

You see happened was…..
I left Invercargill and headed southeast toward the Catlins Conservation Park (Google) on my way to Slope Point (the most southern point in NZ).  
I after a rather long drive on a gravel road (btw, google maps makes no distinction between paved (what they call “sealed”) roads and gravel roads and many fairly “major” roads in NZ are gravel) I arrived at Slope Point (WebGoogle).  After having been to the southern most point in Tasmania (AU) Slope Point was on my list of places in New Zealand.  As it was in Tasmania, it was pretty cool looking out over the Southern Ocean and knowing that the next piece of land was Antarctica….

While I was walking around Slope Point I met a group of students from the US who were all doing exchange studies in Dunedin.  They were from all over the US and had only recently met when they arrived in NZ for school. We had a brief but nice chat as we walked the 10 minutes back to the parking lot.
From here I traveled 10 km further east to a place called Curio Bay (WebGoogleImages).  Curio Bay is well known for 4 things….beautiful beach, wildlife, surfing and a petrified forest that is estimated to be 180 million years old.  The first thing that struck me was the beautiful beach and cliffs overlooking the ocean with huge waves crashing over the rocks (the rainbow below was from the spray coming up from the waves on the rocks….really cool)……

I walked around the top of the hill and down the other side and found these little guys drying off and stretching on the rocks…..

Note:  For those who have been asking for pictures of penguins there are many more on the “View Photos” link to the right.
I spent quite a bit of time walking around, sitting and just taking it all in.  The bay is well known for having a small school of Hector dolphins and being the home to New Zealand sea lions and there were several people sitting on the benches looking for them but unfortunately I didn’t see any of them the 2-3 hours I was there.
When I walked back to the hill area I came across these little guys (I literally almost stepped on the one laying in the grass)…..

These are known as yellow-eyed penguins or hoioho and they are native to this area. They are one of the rarest penguins in the world and (unfortunately) their numbers are decreasing due to human clearing of coastal forest in which the penguins nest. πŸ™
I stayed at Curio Bay until almost sunset waiting to see if the dolphins or sea lions would return (they normally go to sea to fish during the day and return to the bay around dusk) but I had a 2 hour drive back to Gore and wanted to try and get back before all the restaurants closed at 8 so I reluctantly said goodbye to Curio Bay and headed back toward Gore.
Where Am I

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>