Volunteering Friends Head West

Peter enjoying the view from the interislander

Volunteering Friends Head West

Tim, Bruce and their friend Peter, all based in Wellington, have been mates through IHC for quite a few years now. A big part of their friendship is their annual getaway to explore New Zealand and the special places our country has to offer.

So far the guys have visited the Gannet Colony at Cape Kidnappers and made it up to Tongaporutu Beach just north of New Plymouth. They’ve trecked over the Tongariro Crossing together, visited Mt Ruapehu and its Ski Fields and even completed a walk around Lake Taupo – and this only scratches the surface of their adventures. 

“The journeys to and from these destinations are as important to us as the destination itself,” says Tim.

“Bruce is brilliant at researching our trips and providing Peter and I with interesting and unique locations to see on the way to wherever we’re heading. These are often our most memorable highlights – river trips, galleries, bird sanctuaries, artists, potters, cheese makers, model railways. The list goes on.

“Organising a Road trip begins with us choosing the destination and then researching and organising an itinerary for the trip before budgets and plans are given a final check before we head off.”

This year, the friends decided to head to the South Island’s West Coast.

It’s been a goal of Peter’s to visit the West Coast, with its rugged and beautiful walking tracks and all of its tourist attraction must-sees.

The guys travelled in Tim’s ute – the ideal vehicle for adventuring – however this did mean a ferry crossing across Cook Straight in “marginal conditions.”

“At one point I was bounced completely out of my chair by a rogue wave,” says Tim. “Humiliating for me but amusing for everyone else.

“But from the moment we were on the ferry Peter was buzzing.”

For five days the friends worked their way around the West Coast and managed to fit in visiting the pancake rocks at Punakaiki, Truman Bay Beach, the old Denniston Coal Mine, a Gold Mine Museum, the giant limestone caves in Karamea, the start of the Heaphy Track and some bush walks through pristine native forests along with a non-guided visited to some iconic caves and rock arch formations within the Kahurangi National Park.

The friends stayed at a family cabin for two nights at the Punakaiki motor camp before spending two nights in Karamea's famous Karamea Hotel.

On the return journey back to Picton the friends had just enough time to head to Nelson and the new Suter Gallery before finishing with an obligatory must-do for Peter – a visit to McDonald's.

“We would all like to say a big thank you to everyone who helped make the trip possible and especially for Lisa from IDEA Services who was there to meet Peter at the Bluebridge Terminal at midnight on a chilly Wellington evening.”

“We had a great time away – five very busy days. Next year’s destination is yet to be decided, but we’re already looking forward to it,” says Tim.