Done with the Adulting

Thankfully we have pretty much finished up all the adulting tasks that we had to do. Buy a car. Open a banking account. Meet with various money people. Figure out how to communicate to the rest of the world at something less than $10/minute.

We headed out of our Airbnb in Beachlands in the late morning and drove down to Hamilton to meet and have lunch with our immigration advisor, Richard. It was nice to finally meet him in person after 2 years of being in this process. The bad news is that we still have not had our application allocated to someone yet. The good news is that things might go a bit smoother once it does since we are in country and now have a real bank account and all of that. Fingers crossed.

Our route for the day

After a very pleasant lunch with Richard, we headed over to the Vodaphone store to try and get onto a real cell phone plan. It took forever and in the end there was some rule about not allowing people on only a 3 month visa to get on to these plans. We explained our situation to the manager and he nicely put in an appeal to the higher ups. Who knew it would be so hard. Sadly, in the end our appeal was denied, so we will just have to live with our current situation and keep topping up our SIM cards. Bummer.

From Hamilton, we drove down the couple of hours to Taupo where we had an Airbnb be for 4 nights. The distances in New Zealand just aren’t the big, so for us to take on a 2 hour drive was nothing; especially after the 6000 miles I ended up driving from the end of March to May in the US. When we talk to the kiwis and tell them are plans, they all react the same: “oh, that’s such a long drive!” Coming from the Western US where 8 to 10 hour drives are par for the course, this seems quite funny. But when you are paying US$9/gallon for gas, it does tend to put a damper on your willingness to burn a lot petrol.

We got to the Airbnb as it was getting dark. It is utilitarian in nature. It has a nice view (cover photo), but other than that it is a drab beige throughout with very little to offer in terms of amenities. The kitchen has almost nothing in it to cook with. Bummer. So we decided to order take-away from an Indian place and just relax and sort it out the next day. I was surprised about how much traffic there was. Evidently everyone gets off work at exactly the same time.

Susanne ordered the Indian food super hot, which normally would be a pain inducing affair. However, we are in New Zealand where people’s palates aren’t quite used to the heat level that we like. The food in Beachlands was tasty but not all spicy. This turned out to be just right. Hot, but not killer. It was quite good too! We enjoyed some wine, hung out and went to bed early because we had to get up early the next day as we were going fishing up near Tongariro.

I had found a fishing guide online (Bryce) that seemed like would work for us and we were going to meet him at his house at 7:30 am to go out for a half day of fishing. The weather was going to be cool, but mostly sunny, so we were excited to get out and try our hand at catching some of the famed New Zealand rainbows.

Waiotaka River

Since both of us are not experts in fishing and the wind was supposed to kick up later, Bryce took us to a beautiful little river called the Waiotaka. We hiked a ways up the river to a couple of lovely fishing holes that he had cleared out some brush for us the day before. It was chilly and my hands were a bit cold. I was battling my Raynauds in a few fingers. Bryce saw me and I told him that a bit too much near frostbite had caused it. In Kiwi fashion he told me I needed to “harden up, mate”. They are a nice, fun, a bit crazy and hardy lot. I guess I’ll have to work on hardening up over the next 3 months.

The river was small and tight so there wasn’t really much casting, it was more about precision flicking than casting. We were fishing with a fake worm-looking thing with some weights and a strike indicator. Both Susanne and I proved right away that we were experts in catching the brush and the trees. Our fishing was a bit rougher and more on the beginner side of the scale.

The water was pretty clear, so the fish were pretty spooky. I caught a nice one the looked to be about 24″ or so. Woohoo! Both Bryce and I were relieved that I caught something — took the pressure off both of us. Susanne had a couple of strikes but didn’t catch any in the first hole.

We moved on up the river to a different whole and Susanne gave it a go. She had a number of strikes, but was struggling a bit to set the hook. Bryce was very nice and worked with her on the technique. She got a good strike and hooked a big fish! She played the fish for quite awhile and then unfortunately it snapped the line and she lost it. Darn.

My first fish

The fish are impressively large in this part of New Zealand.Bryce was telling me that we were here a bit early for the spawning run. I asked about how many fish would be in the hole and he said about 12 to 15 at the moment, but when the spawning run really got going there would be upwards of 150. Wow! On good day, you can catch 30 or 40 fish easily. I was happy with just one to be honest.

Susanne trying to land a big one

We fished for awhile longer and I caught one more with a number of strikes in which I lost some fish. Bryce really wanted to have Susanne catch one, so he directed me down to another hole and went back to help Susanne. I wasn’t there to watch, but she hooked 3 more and had one huge on one that made a run for some logs and broke the line. Dang! But is was a super fun day regardless. Nice to be out having fun and not worrying about banking!

I caught another, much bigger fish. Definitely the biggest trout I have ever caught. It fought much harder than the first one and it took me awhile to bring her in. We got it to shore and Bryce gave me a nylon glove to help me pick up the fish so we could get a good picture. I always get super stressed out trying to hold the fish up for a pic because I am sure I am going to hurt it. I picked the fish up and it was super slimy and strong. I tried to hold it up and it starting wiggling hard and began to slip out of my hands. It went up and over my head and onto my back at which point Bryce managed to net it off my back. Ugh. Such a rookie. I got it back out of the net and managed to get a good pic before sending her back into the river. Hence the very stressed out look on my face.

Uh oh, getting away!
Ack! Up and over! Thanks for the catch Bryce
Whew. Stressed out, but a good pic. Sorry buddy for the drama

We wrapped up and drove back to Bryce’s house were we paid him and thanked him. I think he was hoping we would catch more fish, but I was totally happy; both of us had a great time. We drove back to Taupo and chilled for a bit. The weather was nice so we decided that it would nice to walk down to Huka Falls and check it out. It was about 5km for the car park to falls and back along Waikato river. The water is beautiful green in the narrow canyon. The falls are impressive! I would not want to kayak down that thing. It would be both a bad idea and most likely my last.

If only Bill was here, he would probably try and talk me into to running this rapid.

We headed back to the house and tried to cook dinner in the ridiculous kitchen. Well, the kitchen isn’t so bad, it just that there isn’t anything to cook with. One dinky knife. One hand towel. Almost nothing to cook with. Nothing to make coffee with. It’s annoying. Sigh. At least the coffee situation was resolved by the discover of a coffee stand that opens early just down the road. Us snobs need our coffee.

But we both agreed that it had been a great and fun day!

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