Christchurch – Greymouth – Who drives on the left?

A while back one of the backpacker’s I met, told me about car relocation rentals.  These are rental cars that were left in a different location than they were rented.  Rental agencies sometimes rent them at a discount, if you are willing to relocate them back.

Searching online I found a website claiming to find them and they just so happened to have some going to Greymouth.  Exactly where I wanted to go, and at 1 dollar a day rental.  http://www.imoova.com/

I took the chance and booked the car. About 1 hour later I got the confirmation email stating where to pick it up.

Fast forward a day and I am at Thrifty car rentals getting my car.  Its a new ford, with a 6 speed standard.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the door to get in, was I was on the wrong side of the car.  I quickly toss my bag on the seat, acting like I met to open this door.  I then casually walk around to the right side and get in.

I adjust the seat, while hitting my head a few times.  I think a tall midget and a Chinese person was the last to drive it.  Anyways, I get the car started, find 1st gear and I am off.  So far, I made it around the first round about without anyone beeping at me for driving on the wrong side of the road.

As I approach the first intersection, I turn on my signal lights and see the wipers start moving.  Yes, those are on the opposite side.  I eventually signal as I am completing my right turn.  At least I found them, right?

Over the next 3 hours, I get my Bluetooth connected, radio on and have a rather uneventful drive.

Somethings my friends from home will love to hear about driving in New Zealand.

All roads are 100 KM/H unless you are in the city.  Even though you cannot reach 60 KM/H on a lot of roads, you can still drive 100.  I love this.  However, if you go more than 4 over, you will get a ticket.

Another thing is they do not stop for pedestrians.  If you are walking near a car, you better move.  They will hit you, as I found out several times.

My first stop is at Oamaru to see the cute little Blue Penguins.

I should have done a little more planning because the cute little Blue Penguins are hard to see unless you are there at night or early morning.  Good news is there are 3 on land that I get to see.  I also get to see their homes and some lazy ass seals.

They have signs everywhere stating no pictures and I see they are very serious, as I just noticed an employee watching me and cameras everywhere, but I was able to sneak a few.  The dark one is inside his little home.  He was sleeping.

Online picture of what I could see.

My next stop is going to be in Haast on the West coast.  The drive to Haast was uneventful, but has some really awesome pictures, as you can see below.

A Dam,

Me!  Mister Awesome!

Randoms

I arrived in Haast around 7 pm and checked into Haast Lodge Backpackers & Motor Park.

As I was checking in, guess who was standing there.  The 2 USA girls from New Years eve.  I was very happy, because this is my chance to apologize for how that night ended.  The one girl saw me first and said hi right away, the other girl pretty much avoided me, but did say hi.  However, I didn’t get my chance to say much right there, because the owner was checking me in.  The bad news is, I tried to find them before I left the next day, with no success.  So I didn’t get a chance to redeem myself.

I did have some great luck that night.  When I entered my room, the 3 other backpackers were not there.  Sometime around midnight they arrived at the hostel and decided they wanted a private room, and got one.  I ended up getting a 4 person dorm to myself.  Nice!

The next day I left the hostel early and headed down the road to find a nice place to eat breakfast.  This is where I ate my sandwich and had a ice coffee.


My next stop would be Fox Glacier.  You can’t see the glacier from the town, but a 5 minute drive down a back road, you get these nice views.  I stayed at the view point for about 20 minutes just enjoying it!

The views of Fox Glacier were pretty amazing, but I have to add this one picture of a beffed up cow that was standing along the road.

On my way out of Fox Glacier, I see a hitchhiker and I must pick him up.  I made this decision the day I got the rental car, that I would pick up every person I saw.  I have been picked up so many times, it’s time to pay back.

Trek is a 21 year old male from Japan and has been traveling around New Zealand for 7 months, often sleeping under bridges and has only used hitchhiking as his means of travel.  He has a very limited budget and didn’t want that to stop him from seeing New Zealand.

Trek behind me! 🙂 Sneaky pic.

Trek is a funny guy, and has 100 questions about me.  Where am I from, what is Canada like, should he work and travel the rest of his life, or get married, etc.  But the questions are welcomed and I enjoy our time together.

Shortly after picking him up, I see another hitchhiker and pull over to get her.

Lina is a 23 year old girl from Belgium.  She has only been in New Zealand about 3 weeks and is loving it, but mentions several times, she is missing home and is not sure if travelling is for her.  I give Lina a few really good suggestions on how to make it more fun and how to get out of her shell.

One of my biggest suggestions is working for accommodation.  I told her about my experience in Hahei and how it felt so good to be in one place for a few weeks.

Less than an hour down the road is a campsite Lina wants to be dropped off at.  She isn’t sure how much it cost, so I told her we would wait and if she doesn’t want to stay, she can just hop back in and carry on with us until we find a good place.

The place was owned by a bunch of x bikers who were really rude.  Lina didn’t feel welcome so she continued on with us.  I have to say, I was a little surprised at how they acted.  My experience with bikers has never been like this.

Another 15 minutes down the road is a freedom campground that Lina loves.  It is on a lake and has lots of people her age.

Trek and I say goodbye to Lina and wish her the best in New Zealand.

It is another hour until we reach Greymouth, and our first stop is at the iSite.  This is where Trek decides he wants to depart.  My hostel for the night is also across the street.

Trek and I say goodbye, and I wish him the best of luck.  I know Trek will have a great life, because this kind deserve it.

At the hostel I decided take a dorm room for less than 1/3 the price of a private.  The dorm room has 4 beds, and I am the first to arrive.  Bottom bunk for me!

Later that day my only roommate arrives.  His name is Ian and he is a 36 year old Chinese commercial pilot. He currently is flying for Air China and is in New Zealand for 3 days, while he waits for his next flight.  A very nice break from flying.

Ian and I have a great conversation about flying and traveling around New Zealand.

Just before bed, I say goodnight and goodbye as Ian is leaving at 6 am, and I will be in dreamland.

Sleepy time!

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