Dunedin, and THE car - Dunedin, New Zealand
Dunedin, New Zealand
Saturday - Dunedin After finally saying bye in Glenorchy it was time to get on our way to Dunedin, following on from how we had previously crisscrossed the country it was from west to east again, about a 5 hour drive. We had planned to maybe make a few stops on the way but having not left until about 11:30am we needed to get on our way. The one stop we did make was in Cromwell where we bought a huge bag of Jazz apples from a roadside stall for $5, at the same time as pulling in to buy the apples we saw a car driving the other than which we were certain was the French couple from our first HelpX in Cass. The problem is that it is such a common car we couldn't be sure if it was or not, after an email we found out it was them who we had seen! Once again New Zealand making itself seem so small, I guess that's the case when there are so few roads and places to actually go that you're bound to bump into people. Heading out from Cromwell we drove for maybe another 30 minutes if that before stopping for lunch, being in the car just makes us hungry for some reason! Loaf of bread, some ham and some hummus - which had become the pretty standard easy lunch to make and eat as its filling and cheap, different flavours of bread and hummus so we even get variation! After lunch the drive gets a bit tedious, the car isn't fun to drive and we have seen very similar scenery already, there are some amazing views along the way and some of the small towns selling fruit an veg look quite nice, just deserted. The weather isn't particularly great and the distances to Dunedin just aren't reducing quick enough, we finally make it to the coast. That must mean we just go north for a bit and we get to Dunedin, north for a bit was actually more like an hour, we finally arrive and follow the directions we have got to end up at our next house for a week! On the hillside overlooking St.Clair's beach the views are pretty amazing when we arrive even though the weather isn't fantastic! We arrive and say hi to Sarndra, we knew there were a French couple staying as well but didn't know anything about them. Jeremy and Julia come into the kitchen to say hi, it's a bit awkward at the start but it seems to be okay. Maybe an hour or so later and we are having dinner and have slowly got talking a bit more to the Frenchies, we decide that after working on the Sunday morning for 4 hours we would head into town and go to the library to use the Internet as we don't have any at the house annoyingly. Sunday morning we are up and out for around 8:30 to see the garden for the first time, its steep! Very steep, and very overgrown, weeds plants and trees are everything - its difficult to see where you could or should start to try and control it. The first jobs for me and Jeremy were to dig some holes ready to plant some new hedge plants along the boundary with the neighbour, whilst Julia and Becky had the fun job of digging soil up and sticking it in rubble sacks. Its so much nicer working with people and before we knew it the 4 hours for the day was up and we were back inside eating soup for lunch and getting ready to go into Dunedin. The town was deserted when we got there, on a wet, grim Sunday afternoon. Nobody about apart from the odd few people, all who seemed to be slightly crazy or weird in some way or another - something we later discovered to be quite normal around Dunedin. Anyway we found somewhere to park for free and walked down to the library to get some internet to check emails and helpx to hope some of the people had replied that we had emailed. We knew that people would be getting booked up or not taking people on as much over the summer holidays so were hoping we could get our plan together pretty soon, no replies, great! After a couple hours of general Internet time filling we made our way back out into the wet, deserted town at about 4pm, walked over to the New World supermarket for a paper and some cream before heading back to the car. Well at least we could get back into the car and drive home to get out of the rain and just be somewhere a little less depressing. In we jump, start the car and all is fine for a short period until it starts to jump itself down the road, no power, revs dropping, the same problems that we had faced at Mt.Hutt and on the return from Akaroa. No big issue we just wanted to get back and could look at the pipe that had split last time to see if it had split again or something had come lose. After a long, jolty and slow drive home we made it, even managing to make it the last 200m or so up the bloody steep hill to get to the house. Cars didn't seem to like that hill at the best of time let alone with no power to pull itself along on the flat most of the time. Fed up with the car and the weather we left it hoping that it would either fix itself or it would be pretty obvious what was wrong! Monday, a good start to the day at least as the weather was a bit brighter so it wasn't quite so dull and depressing even though we had woken up knowing the car may be useless to us! The jobs today saw all 4 of us clearing the weeds grass and carpet that had been out down under the soil from a huge patch of land, Jeremy and I had the job of cutting a car tyre off from around the base of a tree, Sarndra said 2 other lots of helpers had tried and failed so I was adamant we would remove it. With only a basic pair of snips we had to slowly but surely cut away at the rubber and then through cutting, pulling and twisting finally broke through the metal cord around the bead of the tyre. The snips ended up completely buckled and bent but at least the tyre was removed. Hoping the car would work fine we had agreed to meet Jeremy in town as he wanted to walk in, we said we would get down there in an hour or so as pretty confident it would just be something lose that I could tighten and it would work as good as it always had done. We went out to give the car a go, nothing too obvious looking was lose so took the air filter off and stuck a screwdriver in the carb to see if it was getting stuck or not opening, all seemed fine so the car went back together and we went with Julia on an attempted drive into town, we got maybe half way until it started to play up again. The plan hadn't been to get into Dunedin the whole way as we didn't want to pay to park, and now the car decided to stop working again too we just went for a big shop and dumped it in the car park. Leaving us with a nice 30 minute walk to make it into town! We finally made it into Dunedin at almost at the library when we saw Jeremy walking along the road in front, we catch up to him but it has now been maybe 2.5 hours since he left so was a bit fed up of walking around the shops by now! Back to the library for another use of their internet and hope of some helpx replies to cheer ourselves up - still nothing as far as I can recall. The next hour I was googling everything and anything I could about the car and how to diagnose what the problem may be, how much it would be to fix, and how to fix it. Nothing much came up of any use so I started to search for cheap, reputable garages or people who would be willing to earn a bit extra out of work hours to come and have a look - a few names written down we finally left and made our way back to the car, it hadn't been stolen annoyingly. Equally annoying was that it hadn't decide to fix itself like it had done in the past either! When we got back we asked Sarndra if she could recommend us a good garage who may be able to have a look at it, she called the garage she used to use before she got rid of her car but he was totally booked, so busy he was already having to work late each evening that he just couldn't take anymore work on - he recommended us an auto electrician that we had coincidentally walked past from where we had parked the car to getting in town earlier that day. Phone call made and we had an appointment to take the car down the next day after lunch! Tuesday was much the same as Monday in terms of work, clearing at the bottom of the garden (hill) along with cutting a load of trees down and stripping all the small branches off then to leave us with some decent bits of wood. The sun was really on us today, working on a hillside in the sun was boiling, the lack of oZone even makes 20 degrees feel baking down here! The whole morning flew by again with the 4 of us working together, and now it was time to get the car down to the auto electrician and hope they could diagnose and fix the problem. We had been talking the night before about how we wanted to get rid of the car ideally, we hasn't realised that the ferry from South to North Island would be $280 (£140) one way for the both of us and a car and then we would have to pay the same to get back 6 weeks after! We couldn't think too far ahead though as we had no idea if the car was fixable for cheap, if it was dead - what the outcome would be! We left the car with the auto electrician and made our way to the only place we had seen so far in Dunedin, the library! be! Off to that infamous library, an hour later and we have a call, excited I answer! They had identified the problem, and what a relief that was. Now the not so good news was that the part at fault, the carb was a part they could not source. There was no rebuild kit ever made for this carb, nor was there a replacement part ever available. The meant that our only option was to try and find a second hand part somewhere and get that fitted! With all of this great news we walked back to the car, collected it and asked the guy where he recommended to go to try and fix the problem. We go into the office and see my name with 30 minutes next to it, so straight away I thought that shouldn't be too big a bill! After chatting to him and finding out about the part he went on to explain how this carb had electric solenoids inside of it which break down and corrode over time and our had died its death. There was no fix other than replacement, he recommended we go to a breakers 5 minutes away and that they would probably be a good bet! I think he could tell our utter disappointment at the verdict by the fact that when I asked how much we owed him, his response was 'nothing, I couldn't fix the problem so no charge' we couldn't believe it! No garage in the world is ever that nice, its usually a case they get every last penny out of the customer. I know he hadn't been able to fix the problem but he had looked at the car and told us what was wrong, what we needed and where we could hopefully go to get it fixed! The not so great bit was the part about a replacement carb probably being near $300! With this now know it was time to head across town to Otago Car Parts, and hope they had the carb we need! A few hills up and down on the way meant the clutch took a hammering as the only way to really have any control over the car was to ride the clutch a lot! We survived and got to the breakers who said that there were 3 carbs all the same but with different plugs, and they thought they had the ones we needed but couldn't be sure of it! As it was now almost 5pm, closing time we had to give them our number an head back tomorrow morning once they gave us a call. Progress at least, we also asked about the price $150 for the part and $40 to strip the old one off and fit the new, not as bad as we had thought so the day had slightly improved as we now knew the problem, and hopefully had a fix! Not that this had massively cheered us up we decided to stop in Countdown (supermarket) on the way back to buy some food, 2 big bars of Cadburys chocolate as they were on offer, Black Forest as Becky had wanted that ever since we saw it in Asia (a lot cheaper there too) and a bar of fruit & nut! We made it to the car and within about 30 seconds the fruit & nut bar had vanished! The chocolate seemed to have a bit less taste of Cadburys here form some reason, even though it was made here in Dunedin it just didn't taste the same as home - they did a pretty good job of making it still! Chocolate eaten, and drink drank it was another adventure of getting the car back home, on the clutch and through busy traffic with that hill to get up at the end. I had got pretty used to driving the car and could deal with it a bit, not ideal though knowing it was shaking itself to pieces all the time and making the suspension knock like mad now too! Dinner was eaten, one again quite a vegetarian based dinner with loads of beans and lentils but it was really good - just a shame that I could often eat double portions! Over dinner it was decided that we would play a game of scrabble, the French guys could use their translation dictionary to help them out though as that was only fair! Scrabble ended up being over a 2 hour game, I don't know how much of it was their amazing use of English with the English dictionary and their translation one, and how much was luck but they had some really good words and scores, Becky seemed to have a never ending supply of vowels, and I consistently pulled out consonants! Wednesday we could finally see why we had been digging, clearing and chopping! We were going to be making a terraced garden at the bottom of the hill for some veg to get planted. Jeremy and I had to manoeuvre the logs and branches into place to start establishing a shape which wasn't the easiest job when hardly anything we had was in any way straight. Curved wood looked nice but didn't make it the easiest task, we soon had a pretty good wall made along with hammering in a load of vertical supports before chucking a load of weeds an the long grass up against it before we could level off the soil behind it and make the terrace! A few hours of digging out the hill behind to try and level it all off and we had a pretty good base for the 5m wide by maybe 1.5m deep terrace. Sarndra even let us finish early so we could get the car down to the breakers! We hadn't got a call from them so I had called them earlier on in the morning to see when would be best to take the car down, he said to take it down after lunch and they would be able to sort it out for us! Lunch eaten and back we went to the breakers, dropping Jeremy & Julia off on the way so they could compare tent prices at the various shops around town! Arrived at the garage to be told that they could check which plug our car had and whether or not they had the right part but that they were again now too busy to fit it, very annoyed! The owner made sure I knew that he could not guarantee the part would fix the problem, but I made him assure me the part was working. Meaning I was trusting the diagnoses from the auto electrician, as I didn't want to pay $80 to the breakers to take the car to the mechanic they use to get him to confirm the problem! Quite annoyed now, but also happy that they had the correct part we headed back home with the certainty that the car would be sorted Thursday morning if we could get it down to them as eagerly as possible! We had an afternoon going over ideas on what we should do for the next few months, go to the North Island, sell the car, keep the car, go on a holiday to Fiji or Rarotonga was something that kept coming up as we were getting so stressed out by the car and not getting replies from HelpX with what we would do for the next few months! Really we both wanted to not have the car, have the money from it and go back to Asia, each day really felt like a holiday there! Warm, sunny, always interesting things to see and do, and ridiculously cheap! After having a pretty stressful time thinking about it all it was amazing that Jeremy and Julia were making fresh pizzas for dinner! Jeremy had made the dough earlier on that afternoon and left it out for a few hours, so next was time to make the pizzas. Julia was in charge of making the 8 pizzas, there was a huge mix of toppings on the pizza, all on top if the home made tomato sauce! We had fried French onions with anchovies and garlic on a base, a pizza with cheese and spicy sausage, and a variety of others! They were the best pizzas I have ever eaten, all so thin and just as you would want in a restaurant, and here we were getting fresh ones out to the table every 2 minutes! We just kept eating and eating, each pizza looking and tasting amazing! We even had a sweet pizza for desert that had cream and bananas on, we would have had a chocolate pizza if there was some! What a dinner, so good we stole the pizza base recipe and the friend onions recipe but I very much doubt ours will turn out quite so amazing! Even if we got the dough made well I think we would overload the pizzas when we came to toppings! Thursday, no we didn't wake up and work but instead we woke up and took the car into town to drop it off at the breakers, they had to fit the part today we had waited enough bloody time! Jeremy & Julia had the day off today as they had arrived a day earlier so we dropped them into town to let them do a bit of sightseeing before we walked to the bus stop and got the bus home. We only did maybe 3 hours or work, moving some of the piles of weeds and cuttings around with a general tidy up in the area we had been working and that was us done for the day by about lunchtime, even though we hadn't started until maybe 9:30! After a quick lunch we decided to walk back into town in the afternoon rather than paying out for the bus again, went and picked the car up and had a chat to them! They said they had taken it for a few runs and it had been fine, I had made sure that I asked for the original carb too - just to ensure they hadn't just charged us for nothing and tried to somehow half heatedly tried to sort it! Happy the car was fixed we parked it around the corner and went to the library to see if our day had improved in the area of sorting out our lives for the next few weeks! It had! We had received some emails back about some of the places we had requested to stay in the North Island, maybe the day was turning out quite good after all! We got back and had a look through all the leaflets that Julia had picked up about the Penguins around the peninsula! We dint want to pay for one of the expensive penguin tours at around $100. Now I know that some of the money will actually go back towards the care of them and protection but we really didn't want to be just giving that much money away, especially when there is no guarantee of what you will see! Sarndra had recommended that we go to a beach called Sandlfy Beach which would give us a pretty good chance of seeing some yellow eyed penguins, so we had an early dinner, grabbed our stuff and off we went in the newly fixed car! Well, we thought it was fixed! We made it maybe half way there and the same problem again, exactly the same as last time! We were beyond ******! Not knowing if it was a faulty carb or it was another problem altogether, the auto electrician had been sure it was the carb and from what he had said to me and that I had passed onto the guys at the breakers it sounded right! We tried to carry on but as the road was so up and down we thought it was a better idea if we turned around and headed back before we got stuck! We were so close to getting back when a car pulled right out across in front of sum and if the throttle had any type of response I could have driven straight into the side of him - that would have been our problem solved, providing they had insurance of course. We got back and emptied the car, leaving it unlocked in the hope someone would steal it! We thought after how with our excess we would have got maybe half of what we paid back for it if we were lucky but not knowing the problem meant we just wanted it gone! Friday, and we had the day off today too so could go straight down to the garages to see what we could do! First stop, auto electrician for a chat to see what they said. The same guy wasn't there but we chatted to another guy who said that it was such a common problem that it could have just happened again, but couldn't really help any more than that! Thoroughly ****** I drove it across town back to the breakers, destroying the clutch the whole way to get it moving but I really couldn't care less anymore! In I walk to all 3 guys sat around having their breakfast, I think it was a bit of a shock to see me! Not knowing how they would take it, and half thinking they'd just say they did why they could do and not care I started to explain how the part must be faulty, I now knew exactly how the carb went and made up some stuff that may or may not have been true but to my astonishment they said, it must be a dodgy one too! After all it had been sat on a shelf, so the solenoid and seals were exposed to the elements still and it was just as old as the one in our car so the agreed that it must have gone too. They knew of one more car that had just crashed in the last few days and was running perfectly so that carb must be good, I made sure that I mentioned how he guaranteed the part was working even if it didn't solve our problem and he seemed pretty happy to go and get this other carb and get it on! 5 minutes later and I am now preying this one, the 3rd carb will work! Library was the meeting point to go and see Julia and Jeremy, after a bit more interneting Jeremy found a buffet just around the corner for $13 each, the choice actually looked quite good - we knew it wouldn't be fantastic but the buffet won over the other option of a picnic as this would be quicker and we were starving! It was just gone 12, we got to the buffet place, all paid and got our water before eating for the next 2 hours. Noodles, rice, pasta, salads, nachos, and some pieces of battered fish that everyone seemed to love. That followed by ice cream, fruit, banana cake, chocolate cake, we were well and truly stuffed! Jeremy the most I think after eating what must have been near to 25 springs rolls, they filled the corner of every plate load of food he had! We needed to walk to try and let some of the food go down, into a shopping centre we went for some cool air and maybe 30 minutes walking around KMart, they were still looking at the camping stuff that was available and it was just an easy shop to wander around in! After an hour of walking we thought sitting was needed so it was back to the library for a while before the 1.5 hour walk home to try and make ourselves hungry ready for the huge dinner we would be eating. It was Jeremy & Julia's last night as they were off to stay with Sarndra's friend, a friend who was coming over with here 2 sons and one of their girlfriends! The walk back wasn't that bad, apart from the last 10 minutes where the bloody hills are, they were so difficult to get up still being this full! We had been back maybe 15 minutes and food was ready, started off with fresh salsa and crisps followed by a huge salad and meat platter, loads of noodles and a tofu dish! All the kind of food we had filled ourselves up with at lunch time, we had completely forgot about this meal but ate a plate full each, this time not really going back for seconds even though there was tonnes available! As soon as the main was finished out come a huge fruit sponge and cream for desert, this was a bit easier to eat as it was a different flavour but still some left overs for lunch on Saturday! After dinner they were all off, it was strange as we had only met the French guys 5 days ago but now it felt like we had known them for ages, gone and done thing every day and made sure we grabbed their full names so we could get in contact via Facebook. Saturday morning and Becky decided to call her dad for 2 hours, little did we know but the beeps she had been hearing in the background was the breakers who were trying to call to say the car was ready. They had originally said that it wouldn't be until Monday so that was a shock when at 11:15 they said it was done, especially as the closed at 12, and the bus was at 11:30. I was ready but Becky not quite so ready after the phone call, for once she got ready quickly and we rushed down to the bus stop, 11:30 no bus. A local guy waiting said they sometime just didn't even then up over the weekend which was exactly what we didn't want to hear! The bus turned up 5 minutes late and then people seemed to get on at every stop, we arrived in town but I had to run ahead for 10 minutes to get there just before 12. I made it and the guy explained how this was the last carb they had, I knew that if it didn't work they would just say they could no longer help us. He mentioned how they had taken it our for several drives, let it cool down then driven it again with no issues. Without any confidence in the car whatsoever we took it, the idle was strangely low at near 500, compared to the near 1000 it had been before but that didn't matter. It was the fact we drove with no music, so carefully just waiting for the car to break again, we didn't want to take it up hills or strain the car at all. After going around the block once we ended up heading out towards Port Charmers along a winding road but it meant I could keep it in a low gear and let it rev a bit higher than normal, we really had so little confidence in the car I'm sure our heartbeats were way above normal, I could feel mine was for sure. We eventually got to Port Charmers to be greeted by a massive, awful looking cruise ship at the end of the tiny village high street so we carried on along the peninsula until we arrived at a beach. The beach was pretty long so we decided to walk along it which must have taken 30 minutes, all we could think and talk about was the car, we decided it was going up for sale! At the end of the beach we had a look before heading back, just before we got to the steps to get off the beach I recognised the 2 jumpers/ fleeces on the people on 2 bikes riding past us. Jeremy half turned around and looked across before I grabbed Becky and made her start waving, they had seen us and stopped! Even though we had known Jeremy and Julia were heading to Port Charmers it was a bit lucky that we see them 10km further down the road and they just so happen to cross this 10m gap at the same time as we do! A quick chat about the car and we arrange to meet them back in Port Charmers, they have to ride and we have to take the car we don't trust! A few minutes after they leave it rains for a few minutes so we just sit in the car and good it passes so they don't get soaked and we would be driving past in the dry! It stops and we decided to get driving, as always it doesn't start first time but second time it does and we take the 10 minute drive back worrying the whole way. When we get to New World we just want some lunch, there were 2 girls and their dad BBQ'ing some sausages in the car park to raise money for a trip to Japan, and at $1.5 or $2 each we thought it was a good price and it helps them out. Rather than using normal bread we went in to buy a drink and a baguette, slightly strange having BYO to a sausage BBQ but they were happy, and we were too! Whilst we had been walking around the supermarket I had used their internet along with a picture I had just taken of the car and stuck it up on Gumtree for sale, a couple of hundred dollars less than it owes us but we just wanted it gone so thought that was okay! The sun was now out again so we sat out the front and waited for the other 2 to ride over, still full from the food yesterday they had just opted for some fruit so far that day! We had a chat for a while before going back with them to the house they were staying at and try to figure out what to do. They had a 3 week stay sorted on the West Coast of the a South Island by the Franz Josef glacier and wanted us to go to. So they sent an email off to see if there was room for 2 more as we really had no other plan in place, a few hours later and we left them to it and made our way back before an early night of about 9 for us after such a stressful day, again! Sunday, we were originally leaving today but with all the unexpected problems Sarndra had said we could stay a few more days to sort ourselves out, she wanted a few days peace as this was the only free week she would have in the next month I think it was! Well that was the new quickly devised plan until there was a knock at the door that I answered to 2 youngish people - more helpers. Went to get Sarndra and there had been a mess up with their emails which had been going to Sarndra's junk emails so she had no seen the response back saying they were coming, she had them penciled in for the month after! With this arrival we now once again had a place to stay for the week, after 30 minutes of confusion it was all sorted and the following week would have to be her free week! We got a few hours work done before deciding to walk into town and leave the car at the house, we hadn't even driven the car up to the house but instead left it on some flat at the bottom of the hill and walked. We walked around about 5 backpackers putting up for sale adverts for the car, adverts in supermarkets and stuck it on an few Facebook pages, the one with the most traffic was the Queenstown trading page, even though we were a 4 hour drive away! It was so nice getting the car advertised but now it was just a case of waiting and hoping that we got a call or an email soon and it would be gone, we had written on all of the adverts that we would be leaving Friday. So this meant we had to get another plan sorted, we emailed a HelpX that sounded amazing on the West Coast, and a family in Queenstown as we didn't know what we wanted to do, but knew we needed somewhere! The day was so nice that by the time we got home we decided to risk it and take the car for a drive, it had to work if we were going to sell it after all! Not really sure where we were going to go we just drove, it ended up that we drove along to Brighton, there were some amazing views in the way - we had no camera with us as always, an before we knew it had done about 25km. More than enough for one day we turned around and still rather nervous we drove home again, just in time for dinner Monday, now we were staying for another week but not having the weekend off we just had to work 3 hours a day instead. The new Czech people that arrived were okay, not overly nice but okay. I think it was because both lots of French guys that we had lived with had been so nice that these guys were nothing great! The job today was to just dig out clay for 3 hours, pretty damn tedious. The plan was the use the clay to eventually make some clay bricks and make an outside oven. The problem was the nice useable clay was getting chucked in exactly the same pile as the ****** soil, all of which would be left out until a later date for the bricks to be made - I thought the clay needed to be fresh to work well but I don't know. After walking the day before we got the bus into town and then we would walk home, we walked in purely to go to the library again and use the internet. One thing we had realised was when making plans you need a HelpX with internet, if we have plan then it wouldn't have been an issue really. After the long walk back we were greeted by a couple of Malaysians who had come over for dinner, Nina used to live with Sarndra for 6 months when she first came across from Malaysia for Uni. She had just finished her exams so her sister and flown over from Melbourne to have a look around the area. There English was perfect and they seemed pretty pleased we had spent a month going around Malaysia, by the sounds of it we didn't miss anything out and were impressed by the amount of places we had seen, also jealous of the food as we had been there more recently than either of them. I'm sure they could just jump on a plane if they needed to as they were from an extremely wealthy family with children at Uni all over the world, there dad owned a Soy Sauce factory. Even though they were incredibly well off they were still both really nice, not like some of the other rich Asians we had heard about! We had another really nice dinner and desert, definitely going to bed of a full stomach! Tuesday was another day of digging, we were very glad it was only 3 hours a day as it seemed to drag working now without the French guys but at least we had somewhere to stay and we had started to get some interest in the car. Just a shame it was from a couple in Queenstown and they wouldn't be able to get down to us. As we had now had a reply back from both the Queenstown and the West Coast hosts saying they could both have us we were more undecided in what to do. Queenstown to maybe sell the car, what if we didn't? And we have seen Queenstown why do we want another week there, or do we hope the cars sell and get a bus up to the West Coast? After 3 hours of adding up prices and mapping out routes we gave up and went for a walk down to St.Clairs beach as it was such a nice afternoon. As we got down to the few small cafés by the beach everyone was looking up at the sky, there was the white vapour trail from a plane. A pretty big plane going pretty low and very fast, it had come in from directly over the sea out to the east and now it was above land it was steadily rising. No ideas who or what it was but it kept everyone's interest for a few minutes! A bottle of water and a sit on a bench by the beach for 10 minutes before we decided to head back up to the house as we wanted to have another go at finding some penguins! We decided to head back to the beach we had seen Jeremy & Julia ride past us as that was meant to be good to see them, we walked down the beach and back for about an hour but nothing! We had paid $3 for the internet on our phone that afternoon to look at prices so went on to see where about it was that you saw penguins from. After finding a Mao we found that just around the head there was another beach, way bigger that we had to go to! A 2 minute drive along and we parked the car there and made our way down the beach. It was getting a bit darker now so was better penguin viewing time according to everything that we had read! Half way along the beach we saw a sign in the distance about staying out if the sand dunes. Still nothing! We came across keyhole rock along the beach which was pretty amazing looking, and the rocks next to it provided pretty good cover from the wind that was freezing! Walking yet further we start getting some Oyster Catchers flying around us making an absolute racket, we didn't know what we had done but thought maybe it was a warming for the penguins to not get out of the water. A few steps down the beach and we see the reason why, their eggs are just on the beach. Not hidden away in a nest or in the dunes just resting on the beach in plain sight, luckily we hadn't stood on them and soon walked off further down the beach! Which is when we started to see Penguin footprints, some very recent and some a bit older, even though we maybe shouldn't have we followed some of them but didn't find anything or couldn't get through the thick bush they went through. At this time we had another text about the car, a few questions and I was getting my hopes up. A few more texts and she says she was in Queenstown but wanted to come and view tomorrow, I said how these other guys wanted it but first come first served. That was it, she said the bus was getting booked and she was coming, then no more messages.. Excited trying to reply to messages, use one phone to be a hotspot for the other to email pictures and to text back it had gotten really dark now. Then, in the distance we saw our first penguin! There he was walking up the beach, quite a distance but it was quite clearly a penguin walking along! By about 10pm we had been out for 3 hours, we had seen our penguin, maybe 2 and had to head back. It would be an hour until we got home, added to this excitement of possibly selling the car it was all too much! We got back to the car, and so,trying really strange happened, it started first time! Amazing, it drove home flawlessly! No stalking whilst the engine was called and having to bump it going again, nothing! Wednesday was an exciting day, still no reply though when we woke up so I took map the phone down with us. I had to clear an area and stick a tent up and then go to help Becky to do some more tidying. Constantly checking the phone a text came through about 10am, she had just got in the bus and was on the way! Now all we had to hope was that the car was fine, even if it did have half a tank of fuel in it. We did our work, had our lunch and nervously set off to meet her! The car started first time, drove perfect, didn't stall, idled a bit higher! We got to the train station where the bus was dropping here off but got there early, and she was late. After parking up u just had to know if the car would start first time again, so I tried, and it did. I had told her in the texts the sometimes you had to rev it to get the idle up whilst it was cold but so far it's no been perfect. The bus arrived and she got off and had a look, started it again, perfectly! Went to go for a drive of it so Becky jumped in and off they went, I sat outside the station on a bench for 30 minutes as they had gone all the way to Port Charmers and back. Finally they get back, no problems just as we had expected! It was just us being so paranoid now about the car, checked the oil, showered her the few problems and all seemed good. Just wanted a quick check over at a garage and all would be good, she had mentioned getting a garage to check it in the texts and although nervous about it I was confident it would be fine. I jump in and drive it around to a garage to see if they could look over it, they say how busy they are and how unlikely it is that any garages would be free if you just turned up! As the WOF (Warrant of Fitness) was only about 6 weeks old he said that indicates how everything should be fine. Another start and drive to a post shop sorting depot to hope they have the paperwork we need, nope. So another start and drive and we get to a post shop, fill out the paperwork,get the money. Pay that money into the ATM and we have sold it! One last task was to try and give directions to get to near the Uni so she could meet a friend. No surprise that it starts fine and across town we go, she parks up, we walk off and that's that - stress lifted! Off to the Library to check emails and things get better, the relocation from Christchurch to Auckland has been confirmed, we get 5 days free, free crossing for camper and 1 person on the boat, and the car is sold! So excited, but more good news too! The other day I had searched on HelpX for 'Christmas' a result had come up in Northland, the advert sounded good so I had got excited and written a pretty good email. She had replied, saying they had waited to get a few responses but our was easily the best sounding, our reviews and the email together meant they would love to have us stay over Christmas! In 24 hours everything went from uncertain to amazing, and in a week it went from utter **** to perfect! We decided to book a rental car, and head down to The Catlins for a few days, following that we had arranged ourselves the best part of a week in Oamaru. Oamaru was a place we had driven through late at night from Waimate and said how we wished we could stop! It was on the way north to Christchurch where the relocation was so all seemed to work perfectly! Car sold, and now with a plan all the way until Boxing Day, along with another host who had emailed us to whom we had replied asking for Boxing Day to Jan 2nd, all seemed to be going amazing! Off to the Pub to watch the football, New Zealand vs Mexico and that was the day and evening all sorted! Thursday, and there was no work as it was raining, after having made the plan the day before we had to fill in a few gaps now, spending another $3 for the internet to the phone then tethering the iPads to that we could both look at stuff. Phoned the relocation and booked the ferry, booked a couple of nights in Auckland in between HelpX'ing and got a rental car for 3 days from Auckland to go and see somewhere, we just needed to decide that bit! Conformation of everything and buses booked now meant we had everything planned until Jan 2nd, such a relief from a week ago! This got us up to around 4pm when we thought we had to get out and do something. We walked about 3km to get to Tunnel beach, it's one of the 'Great NZ walks' and the name sort of gives it away - have a look at the pictures! There was a rather sleepy friend with us down there too, I know we shouldn't have gone so close to him but he wanted his picture taken so we had to! We spent a good 30 minutes on the beach before walking back in no time to be home for dinner! Friday was our final day in Dunedin after the extended stay and we just had some basic tidying in the garden to do for a few hours. The Czech couple had said that we could borrow there car to drive to the airport to collect the hire car, an hour later and we were back with our nice '07 Nissan Tilda hire car, what a change from the old Nissan we had just sold! Stuck a bit of fuel in there car to say thanks and off into town we went. We found a free parking space up on the hill, about a 15 minute walk down to the library where we met Jeremy & Julia before we left. They had pretty much received conformation of a job they should get for 6 weeks in Cromwell so we said we would definitely come down and say hi for more pizzas and some drinks when we got back South! They gave us some amazing chocolate sweets to say thanks for some of the lifts we had given them and were just as happy as us about how the car had sold! They said how much happier we now seemed with it gone! A walk up the hill to give them a lift to a exhibition they had been invited to by their current hosts, they asked us to go with them but we had said to Sarndra we would head back for dinner so dropped them off and went for dinner for an hour before coming back to get them. When we got back to meet them Jeremy had made the most of the free wine and food, even though he wasn't a fan of the non-french wine, it was free! We got them both and had another attempt at getting to Sandfly Bay! Success, we made it a 8 days after the first attempt! The beach was pretty spectacular to get to, a small track through a field followed by going over some huge sand dunes and along a massive beach with several seals and a couple of huge Sea Lions along it. As soon as we arrived we saw a Yellow Eyed Penguin in the distance, walked the length of the beach to see all the seals and Sea Lions. Maybe an hour later we got back to where we saw the first Penguin and could once again see a couple more up there now too! Animals all seen and it was dark outside, time to drive down the coast, along the edge of Dunedin city and back along towards Port Charmers, it was weird saying bye to them for some reason but we will see them again 100% and we both have plans sorted now so all is good! Frenchies delivered and we made our relaxing drive in our nice hire car back home for a well deserved sleep after a stressful and enjoyable fortnight!