A word of advice, if long walks and stunning landscapes are your thing and you haven’t visited New Zealand, book a flight! Parts of this country are simply breathtaking.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog, Blenheim sits on the Wairau Plain shadowed by the Wither hills. At their highest point (Mount Vernon) the hills reach a modest 1384ft allowing for cascading views of the abundant vineyards, Cloudy Bay and the Cook Strait. At the top of Mount Vernon sits a bench, inscribed on it an unassuming quote
“I climbed to the trig today, I could see the Mountains, I could see the Sea”.
When the picture says it all the words need no embellishment.
There are a number of routes one can take to reach the Mt Vernon lookout, the quickest being around 3km and should take no longer than an hour and a half. When I left the house this was my chosen route, although being quintessentially male I had only briefly looked at a map prior to setting off and then neglected to take one with me. 15km later I returned home.
You may chose not to believe this but I did not get lost, in fact getting lost on the Wither Hills isn’t really an option. The hills are mainly grassland and therefore visibility is great, if you are ever in doubt of which direction to go all you need to do is head for high ground and find your point of reference. Anyway, back to the main point, I did not get lost. I made an early choice to take an alternate route in order to make the most of the hills and what a great choice it was. If I where skiing it could be said that I went slightly off-piste choosing to follow my nose rather than well-trodden path, nobody wants to be a sheep. Via some two-legged off-roading I was able to merge a few of the designated walking tracks and therefore saw a much larger area of the hills without having to double back on myself, whilst still achieving the end goal of reaching Mt Vernon. Not a bad place to sit and read a book* on a Tuesday afternoon.
Last week also saw a couple of new developments, mainly a new property and a new car. I have moved into the rugby club house with another lad from our team (and his dog, Bruce). Yet again I am reminded of university life and the living standard that came with it. The house itself isn’t much to behold but will do a job especially as living in the club house also comes with certain obligations, primarily hosting the whole team every Saturday evening for post match beers. Needless to say working on Sundays is a tough task.
The new car has a bit more about it and truth be told it’s a game changer. As much as I enjoy walking around this country, turns out it’s a pretty great country to drive around as well, particularly in a big old truck. Not having to rely on anyone else will make getting the most out of my time in New Zealand a lot easier.
*For those of you who where wondering, I was reading ‘The Bridge over the River Kwai’ which I have since finished and moved onto a Bill Bryson book.