Tuesday 11th March – Taranaki bound!

Up at 6 to say goodbye to all those that were heading back up to Auckland – a massive driving day for them.

Then it was my turn to go hunt for a car – someone else being too hungover to even get out of bed, especially as they’d only climbed into it 2 hours before.

I returned armed with coffee and after some googling and phone calls finally found a reasonably priced car with Omega.

We had to checkout at 10am, not a problem for me, but trickier for some. We left our many bags at reception and went on a massive walk to pick the car up – about 45 minutes out of town!

I had to drive the car back and we dived out into the hostel, got our bags, packed the car and were away just as a traffic warden was approaching!

Much to my excitement the car had a tape deck – mission of the day became find one of those tape things that let’s you play your iPod through it (I believe that’s its full and official title). I asked James (my sunflower roomie) and he’d got his from a Czech surfer dude….. I don’t know one of those, but did find one in Dick Smith. Was so excited to test it in the car, but discovered all too soon that the tape deck didn’t work and just made a horrendous clicky noise and refused to let the tape back out again (ever)

Mission 2.0 became find an FM transmitter play your iPod situation and audio fun would be restored.

We were driving to New Plymouth and stopped randomly somewhere for some food – v nice pie – was something beach – but looking on the map now there are a lot of those between Wellington and Whanganui which was our next stop.

All I can tell you is that it had a miniature railway and a talking toilet. If you’ve never experienced one (talking toilet) you really should, they’re free and play Bert Bacharach!

It was in Whanganui that we found an FM transmitter (good old Warehouse) and did a food shop – were looking forward to cooking again – cous cous and lamb – yum!

We drove round into Taranaki, I was so happy to see Mt Taranaki in the distance, but closer than he’d been spotted for ages, briefly spied the watertower at Hawera and then pointed the car towards New Plymouth and what feels like home here, the Sunflower Lodge.

Got through door to find Sophie with the news that we were all having a BBQ tonight – lamb and cous cous were a brilliant choice!

Was strange seeing new faces around and staying on the fancy side of the lodge – private room rather than a dorm room, but there were still plenty of familiar faces too – Ana, Conal, Rachel, Alan and of course Marvey.

We put some washing on, made the cous cous and veg and headed out to chat with Alan who was cooking up a storm on the BBQ. We all sat out in the sunshine of the garden to eat – lots of yummy salads to share and some freshly made bread. Was a lovely evening catching up on everyone’s news and even the evil bitey things that live in the garden stayed away.

Tom, another old hostelmate, had texted yesterday to say that he was selling his car and was I interested – yes was my answer! Turns out he’s in New Plymouth so arranged to meet in the morning and chat – exciting as I’ve never owned my own car before!!

We spent the rest of the evening in front of the tv, catching up on all the gossip with Sophie, generally chatting with everyone and drinking my birthday wine – Roaring Meg, v yummy.

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