Things I’ve learned on long road trips

Central Otago Mirror - - CENTRAL NEWS -

I re­cently fin­ished my fifth road trip be­tween Auck­land and Queen­stown this year. Here is the ‘‘what’s hot’’ and ‘‘what’s not’’ of driv­ing down the coun­try. HOT: A lit­tle box called Tourism Ra­dio. A nice guy lent me one at a con­fer­ence. I was re­ally im­pressed with the info about lo­cal at­trac­tions set among easy lis­ten­ing mu­sic. North of Kaik­oura there is a gully where hun­dreds of seal pups come ashore and frolic. It’s a short walk to see them and it’s some of the best en­ter­tain­ment you will find. The road is lit­tered with great cafes. Check out the book The Great NZ Cafe, writ­ten by a cou­ple of Queen­stown­ers. NOT: Leav­ing Auck­land at 5pm on a Fri­day. I hate those ramp sig­nals. Ev­ery­one is sail­ing by on the mo­tor­way but I’m stuck in a mile-long queue get­ting closer at about four cars a minute. Flat­u­lence. Whether it’s the ‘‘silent as­sas­sin’’ or the ‘‘loud and proud’, sit­u­a­tional aware­ness re­ally takes a back seat in those awk­ward mo­ments. And fi­nally, I need to learn to trust the GPS. Hav­ing asked it to take me the fastest route from Hamil­ton to Welling­ton, and hav­ing en­joyed the by­ways it took me down, I chick­ened out and back-tracked half­way round Lake Taupo to get to fa­mil­iar ground. Dun­can Field owns Limou­sine Ser­vices Queen­stown, is a past chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil and an oc­ca­sional con­sul­tant.

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