Dicing With Dunedin Drivers

We woke to the alarm clock in the Woolston Club car park. There was a school lunch to be made! It was another lovely morning and only took 10 minutes back through the tunnel to drop Wyn’s grand-daughter off at school. Lyttleton Harbour was a picture and we went in search of a viewpoint. There seems to be a lot of similarities between Lyttleton and Port Chalmers. Heaven knows why we weren’t twin towns or something. We drove up a steep street – very Careys Bay-like. We found a walkway and walked a bit further above the town to enjoy the view and the morning. We wished we could have stayed longer but we had places to go – south to Dunedin.

We headed back to Woolston and got ourselves sorted out to travel – hitching up the car again. Then it was back onto the ring road and out of the city – south. The views of the mountains were awesome. We pulled into a truckstop at Ashburton to get fuel, and once again I managed to stop on the wrong side. We had to unhitch and rehitch the car to get back to the right side – doh! It was a good day for travelling with not much wind. We pushed on, sharing the driving and aiming for a dump station at Caroline Bay. We couldn’t find it because it turned out there’s two sides to Caroline Bay. But we admired their new landscaping, met a couple of motorhomers in a Traillite we’d met at the gathering at the weekend, and took time out for lunch.

As we headed further south the weather clouded over – it seemed appropriate somehow. The lack of passing lanes between Timaru and Oamaru is getting more conspicuous. We struck a real hold-up, a car towing a big trailer at about 70-75 kmph. Close behind the trailer was a car stuffed full of stuff obviously travelling with the car ahead. Anyone overtaking them had to overtake both cars and trailer. Behind them was a car that was reluctant to overtake, and then us – a motorhome towing a car. Behind us was a big truck and trailer unit and gradually a long line of cars built up behind that. Ridiculous! Finally the car ahead of us summoned the courage to pass both the cars ahead, leaving us responsible for getting past or getting out of the way.  Eventually towards the Waitaki the road ahead was clear and we got past. The driver of the car with the trailer was a frazzled looking woman, obviously struggling with the whole deal. I signalled my frustration at the whole thing with a long blast on the horn which may or may not have helped.

We stopped at Palmerston for ice-creams – ahhh traditions. It was interesting driving towards Dunedin after 7 months away. It is like parts of the landscape are imprinted on our brains – sights looked so familiar. We were in traffic heading towards the bottom of the Kilmog when a car from Karitane turned onto the road right in front of us. It must have been worried that it’d lose a few seconds before the passing lanes up the Kilmog if it waited until we’d gone past. Luckily I’d started to anticipate that it mightn’t stop but some rapid braking was still needed to avoid running into the back of it. It seemed a fitting welcome back to Dunedin. Over the Kilmog and towards Waitati we watched a car in front overtaking into traffic coming towards them which must have required rapid braking on their part to avoid a high-speed head-on wipe-out. What is it with Dunedin drivers? We have a reputation for being bad drivers. We’d only been back in the city for 10 minutes and already witnessed two bits of driving worse than anything we’d seen in the previous 7 months as far north as Cape Reinga. Our reputation seems well-earned.

We headed through Dunedin and out to Wingatui and the racecourse. Motorhomers are still allowed to park up here but they’ve had to tighten up on some rules because of abuse from some people. Why on earth do some people insist on risking goodwill from many clubs towards motorhome people?

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