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Hello ‘errrybody! I know this post is delayed, you see, what happened yesterday was that I came to my room after dinner (8:30) and sat in my chair to start reading. I thought to myself,

“It’ll feel nice to just close my eyes for just a minute."

Well, next time I opened my eyes, it was midnight and I was still sitting straight up! The long 6.5-hour drive from Abel Tasman to Franz Josef Glacier really must have done me in and that’s what this post is all about. Short and sweet, but still worthy of a post.

Drive from Abel Tasman to Franz Josef

"Stay a while longer?"

This chicken became my nemesis over the two days I was at this AirBnB. This chicken is NOT afraid of people. Problem is, I’m afraid of the chicken. I chicken out around chickens. The way it bobs its head makes me think he will peck my leg into a bloody mess, as I thought he would yesterday when he blocked my entry into the car. I had to run around to the passenger side and crawl over to the driver’s seat. I started the car, not seeing the chicken and wondering if I was to roll over him.

Truth be told, I didn’t want to piss off the homeowner for killing his chicken, but I also didn’t want to be terrorized any longer. I pulled out of the driveway, checking in the rear view mirror that I didn’t run over him.

So, yay?

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You can imagine my displeasure the next morning upon my departure when this chicken managed to find me and mock me outside the sliding-door, as if to say,

“Won’t you stay longer? I’m having fun giving you a hard time”!

"Coffee, Where Art Tho?"

I missed the turn off for the cafe to get my morning long black for the road. So I kept driving, thinking that surely there would be a cafe within minutes.

Minutes pass. No sign of a cafe. Or civilization for that matter.

Photo of roadside restaurant that I pulled off the Interwebs.
Photo of roadside restaurant that I pulled off the Interwebs.

72 minutes later, (yea, I was counting) I find a roadside cafe in Tapawera, "The Country Kitchen." It lives up to its name, featuring the the most delicious cheese biscuit I ever had. It was about the size of my hand, full of buttery, flaky goodness. Watch out, Bojangles.

"Baa! How are Ewe?"

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There were lots of sheep farms between my AirBnB and the cafe. I’m driving along in my AllBirds shoes wondering if I’m wearing one of their cousins’ wool since these wool sneakers are manufactured right here in New Zealand. If you have not heard of AllBirds, I suggest you stop reading and order your first pair of the most lightweight and comfortable leisurely shoes known to man.

(Just trust me on that one. They are that awesome. You can thank my friend Matt for introducing them to me.)

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The Kiwis Raise their Cows Right.

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New Zealanders - informally called "Kiwis" -- know how to raise their cattle. On the drive, there were cows everywhere! Guy, my host from Australia told me prior my departure for New Zealand,

“you must drink the milk in New Zealand, it’s the best."

He’s right! The dairy in everything I’ve had here - ice cream, milk, cheese have been super creamy. I figure the notoriety is due to the fact that it’s because these cows live a good life! Lots of green pastures. They roam. None of that industrialized agriculture business as discussed in Michael Pollan's The Omnivore’s Dilemma and the documentary “Food, Inc.”

"Get a Moooo-ve On!"

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About an hour from my destination, I am getting tired (and bored) of driving! It’s been 5 hours and I’m getting a *wee* bit car sick from all the windy turns. I approach a cow crossing. The lone farmer puts up his hand to gesture me to stop and wait.

Sure! I’ll do it for the sake of good dairy and beef.

I wait, and make conversation with the cow that’s also waiting his turn.

Arrival: Te Waouni Forest Retreat

At last! I’ve arrived the Te Waonui Forest Retreat. A Maori greets me with a glass of fresh-pressed kiwi juice and then he shows me to my room where a complimentary cold bottle of New Zealand champagne awaits me. It's from the Marlborough Region, where I'd just recently visited a few days prior. 

I think I’ll like it here for a couple days!

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Thursday is a day to catch up and relax to get ready for the 8-hour Alex Knobb hike for some good views of the Franz Josef Glacier!