Pack­ing in their jobs set Pu­taruru pair free to rove

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

South Waikato cou­ple Ge­orge Ir­win and Val Monk gave up their jobs, packed their con­verted bus and left home with a one-way ticket across Cook Strait.

The Pu­taruru cou­ple got a taste for mo­torhom­ing dur­ing sum­mer hol­i­days and de­cided to give up their jobs for a free­wheel­ing life­style be­fore turn­ing 60 this year.

Two week­ends ago, their ve­hi­cle was tucked into a bushy spot along­side Blairich Creek in the Awa­tere Val­ley, one of Marl­bor­ough’s seven camp­sites where self-con­tained ve­hi­cles can legally stay for up to two nights free of charge.

The cou­ple counted them­selves lucky find­ing the se­cluded site. Ear­lier they had called at Lake Ar­gyle in the Wairau Val­ley and found the camp­site was closed due to log­ging.

Then they pulled up at the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion’s Ona­ma­lutu camp­ing ground on the north bank of the Wairau River where the gate was shut be­cause of flood dam­age.

Two sub­se­quent nights were spent at the depart­ment’s Mar­fells Beach camp­ing ground near Ward. Last week they headed up the Awa­tere Val­ley and through Molesworth Sta­tion.

Last heard of, they were en­joy­ing ‘‘si­lence and pine trees’’ at Por­to­bello on the Otago Penin­sula.

Af­ter about three weeks in hol­i­day mode, the pair said they would start look­ing for ca­sual jobs.

All around New Zealand they found peo­ple to be friendly, apart from the night they woke to find some­one out­side had opened a win­dow.

They had since in­stalled a slid­ing se­cu­rity screen and feel quite safe.

Ms Monk said they would never camp any­where they were likely to be moved on and, af­ter five years of on-and-off trav­el­ling, had a feel for places that might not be safe.

An ad­van­tage of be­ing in a bus was that if things got scary you could jump in the driver’s seat and head away, said Mr Aubrey.

‘‘If there’s a lot of bro­ken glass on the ground we would give it a miss. We al­ways keep our safety in mind.’’

Marl­bor­ough Ex­press

Photo: MARL­BOR­OUGH EX­PRESS

LONG HOL­I­DAY: Pu­taruru’s Ge­orge Ir­win and Val Monk have packed in their jobs and headed to the South Is­land in a camper­van.

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