new zealand, travel

The longest drive

It was getting dark and we hadn’t come across any small towns in quite a while.

I was regretting my question earlier that day when we were eating a late lunch at 4 pm: Is this going to be our last meal of the day?

Our longest drive of our New Zealand trip would be from Dunedin to Ngatimoti. This is 997 kilometers (619 miles), which Google calculated as taking 9 hours and 24 minutes.

Little did we know that a forest fire would cause a redirect in traffic, causing us to add on some more time to our already long drive. Little did we know that there would be a long stretch towards the end in the mountains with no options for food, gas or even a bathroom.

Luckily, we were on a full tank of gas so we didn’t have to worry about getting stranded in the middle of nowhere, New Zealand.

Back when we were planning our trip, Bryce had asked me how I felt about a “really long drive day.” I said that if he was OK driving, I was OK being a passenger.

I was have different feelings about it now.

Finally arriving at our destination, sort of

Let’s be honest, we could have planned better. We didn’t have the earliest of starts in the morning and made a few stops for sightseeing.

So, it was no surprise that we arrived to our Airbnb cottage late. I think it was past 10 pm. (We had let our hosts know ahead of time, and they were very accommodating).

I had saved directions on my phone and navigated us down a tiny driveway that was to lead us to the cottage. However, it was pitch dark. We could not see anything at all! There were no streetlights or any lights, for that matter nearby. We were in farm country.

My phone told me we had “arrived at our destination” but we couldn’t see where exactly the cottage was. We couldn’t tell where to park our car.

“Do you think we are literally right next to the house but can’t tell?” I whispered to Bryce.

I was whispering because we also couldn’t tell how close we were to our Airbnb hosts’ house. We didn’t want to wake them with our talking, not to forget, also by the sound of our rental car driving up and down the gravel drive way. We  eventually randomly parked the car and got out. With our phones out, we started shining the light from our phones in different directions.

Bryce finally made out a gate! He pushed the gate open and several meters ahead was our guest house! We found it! What a relief … I was starting to get worried that we were going to have to spend the night in the car despite being a few feet, yards or meters away from the house!

As we were getting ready for bed, I asked Bryce, “Do you think the sheep are sleeping? Are they right outside?”

“Yes, we’ll meet them tomorrow!”

The journey would be worth it. Because we were about to meet the cutest sheep in the world.

(More on the sheep another time!)

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