Sleeping in that room at the Edgewater “resort” sucked big time ! We had to open door and window to get air flowing and there are no screens so when I opened my eyes and turned on my phone in the dark the first thing I saw was a bug .... possibly a mosquito . The room was filled with flying critters and we had to pack up and run off to get that picture in front of that Wanaka tree which I mentioned the other day is possibly the most photographed tree on the planet and definitely in New Zealand . The whole story of that lone tree in the lake is that it was a fence post that I am gathering decided to grow into a tree ? Maybe you can find out more and leave a comment below and tell me more but that’s what I’ve gathered thus far so if that’s the truth then it quite the intriguing story isn’t it 😃 back to the story at hand .... we high tailed it from hot box bug room and went straight to the empty parking lot before the bus loads of people started lining up to take their photos and I began dressing while the sun was peeking over the mountain range . We recorded a video which I will post with this blog on Facebook and I began to waddle down the beach to the tree where there were two photographers not saying a word to each other with their tripods set up and all serious and there was one other fella with his iPhone waiting for that perfect shade of pink to catch that photo that has been eluding them all their lives . Now usually when I step on the scene with my gear on all the focus shifts to me but these guys were ready to kill for that pic that they more then likely take every single day as if waiting for the tree to sprout legs and walk away and never happen again ... sorta like what I will do when I get my pic lol 😝 . It was a head scratcher and everyone always asks what people were saying but on this day the people their didn’t bat an eye lid .
We h8ng around taking some photos and of course I was super anal about how and where the shots were taken and no I didn’t care if I was in the other photographers shots and when I was ready and done I got a pic of myself in an angle where I posed as if I was chopping the tree down and then we made our way back to the parking lot and people were starting to show up and those people seemed more enthralled by what they were seeing and were saying hello .... if they were there minutes before it might have lightened the mood or it might have pissed those photographers off ....regardless I would have had a laugh . Next thing on the agenda is coffee and then time to hit the road and get the f$&k out of dodge . We found a place called The Coffee Shack around the corner and the woman that owned this small cafe was really friendly and was selling succulents she has grown and we began chatting about them as back home I have tried to grow them also with little to no success . The coffee was not bad but not the best I’ve had and we were fuelled up enough to make our way back to our shitty room to pack up and leave early . Yeah we can’t stand this room if you haven’t noticed ? Time to hit the road and find our own way to Dunedin but on another longer route covering new territory with a few stops tossed in there .
Did I mention how fun driving is here ? Open roads with nobody on them winding through the mountains and all I can think is how much my buddy Daz from Sheffield would enjoy this .... if you’re reading this Dazza , you have to come drive here ! As we are winding and cruising with some tunes on we approach some slow moving cars , when I say slow I mean they were doing 65 in a 100 zone and there was an entourage of vehicles following all waiting for the 2 lanes to pass but there was none and I stayed in line for about 10 km and then as we were winding down a mountain one of the camper vans behind me over took the whole lot of cars and I thought for sure I’m gonna see an accident but they made it by everyone and were long gone by the time I decided I’m going for it also .... I wanted to open up and have fun cruising and not be all stressed following the slow patrol . First straight away and I jumped a few in the row then waited for another straight away and went to jump the next few and OH FUCK !!! There was a divot in the road and I didn’t notice an oncoming vehicle so I jumped in front of a vehicle and avoided a head on collision . Nobody got hurt and I’m sure a few of the people involved breathed a sigh of relief and then I was behind a truck that signalled for me when to go and I did and I was off . Drove a good 30 minutes and Kathleen had to take a wee so we pulled over near a public toilet and while she was in there a vehicle parked behind me and it was a guy and a woman . This fella approached my vehicle and with his knuckle knocked on my window and instead of rolling the window down I opened the door and he started by saying you know that was a close call and you are driving reckless and I replied yeah that was kinda close but all’s good and I’m not driving reckless ... I just didn’t see the car coming because of the divot in the road . He said it coulda been worse then it is and I replied nothings wrong 😉 he was already walking away and the woman with him was shaking her head as if to say they are perfect and we are beneath them .... so I followe them to the toilet and they both went in the same toilet together ? Weird ? I did my thing , washed my hands and was expecting to see them outside when I got out but they were long gone . I guess they just stopped to vent at me and then sped off . In my opinion ... nothing happened , nobody died got hurt or injured so why bother ? Oh well ... fuck ‘em !
Back on the road we go and I never saw their vehicle again which I am glad because I would have just passed them again to piss them off because well that’s just the way I am lol 😝 we stopped beside a dam in the middle of nowhere to eat our pre made sandwiches and noticed a tractor pull up on the side of the road and he was knocking his smashed windshield out so I walked over to see if he was ok ? He was not a happy camper and just say I’m alright and ignored me as I stared in bewilderment .... all I was thinking was , is this my fault ? Is he angry with me and am I in for another confrontation ? I walked back to my car and he left with no incident and if that stone shot from under my tire then I don’t know what to say aside from sorry but I didn’t do it on purpose and shit happens . Hopefully we run into some friendlier folks from here on out ! Next stop was a fruit stand where we grabbed a bag of nectarines, plums and apricots which I thought were delicious . And we kept driving until we got to Oamaru where we found out there is a colony of Blue Penguins we might catch a glimpse of . Only problem is they are not there at this time of day but we stopped anyways to get a leg stretch and check out the beach anyways . We hiked it down and found a bunch of Sea Lions basking in the sun on the beach and we probably got closer then we should have but it was exciting to see some wildlife up close and then hiked our way back where we found the dried up Dog Fish which is a type of shark that frequents these waters . Pretty cool stuff but we can’t stay long as we have more to see and little time before having to return the rental car .
Next stop was the Moeraki Boulders which is another idea I had to get a pic in gear but as soon as we got there the reality was that it was too far a hike from the car park to get this done with way too many tourists plus time was a factor . The boulders are really round and another wonder in this magical part of New Zealand 🇳🇿 seems like there is something amazing to see that nature has created around every corner here . What an amazing country . We wanted to try making it back to go to check out the Albatross colony but we were really pushing our time limit and dint want to pay extra on the car to see these massive birds so we skipped that and headed back to The Victoria Hotel in Dunedin where we checked in dropped our bags and asked my buddy Drew for any suggestions to go eat ? We were told that there is a good Italian restaurant called Etrusco at The Savoy ... Drew’s suggestions have been spot on ! Always trust the locals !!! We made a reservation after dropping the car off and got ready to go over and when we arrived we were very impressed ... we ordered a bottle of wine and got a nice appetizer and our server Giacomo was super friendly and we had one of the best meals so far on this trip as we laughed and enjoyed our pasta which we ordered after . This place is not cheap but was worth every penny and I highly suggest going by there as long as you are not on the keto diet hahaha !
Unfortunately as we were enjoying our meal I found out that my Uncle Paul Bonett in Malta had passed away .... he was a man I had looked up to all my life and I loved him dearly . He was a professional referee that reffed World Cup qualifiers and champions league matches all over the world and in my opinion was a great man . He was one of the few people I would make sure to visit whenever I was in Malta and I have been putting off going to see him knowing he had been aging but I always thought he’d live forever as he was always in good shape and great spirits . The last time I visited he was 83 and didn’t look a day over 65 and was spry and agile even at his age .... this news really dampened my spirits but I held my shit together and when we left I needed a drink so we stoped into The Craic and I got a scotch and a beer and we raised a glass for him and I cried . I’m crying now writing this .... it’s tough to lose someone you look up to and care about even if you don’t see them as often as you’d like . All I hope is that my cousins in Malta are ok and if I had the money I would not think twice to fly there right now and drop everything to be with them but unfortunately I am not in that position and to be honest I’m sure my uncle would not be please if I ditched my sports to go do something like this . He was proud of my accomplishments and all I can say is everything I have accomplished is only a shadow of the great things he’s done . Gonna miss you Uncle Paul .... Rest In Peace .