The idea for this South Island trip started with a good bit of peer pressure. We were in need of a new work vehicle and John and I (George) decided this was a good one, albiet highly impractical due to its location and the fact that it wasn't starting. However a few days of peer pressuring later and we were all on our way to Balclutha to pick up a Toyota Landcruiser. Kitted out with an array of outdoor gear we arrived in Queenstown a very happy bunch. The first day was spent offroad; the next day was spent in the Mechanics. Then we were on our way!

Our first stop was a couple of nights up the Dobson Valley. It was a 1.5 hour drive in from the road end and we were all in high spirits, being dark we were unsure what we were going to wake up to, however in the morning we were blown away by the beauty of the Southern Alps which never cease to amaze me.

Station Hut - Our base for the first couple of days. From here we explored up the valley and up to the tops. Sam managed to shoot a Thar for us which is now in sausages in the work freezer. We spent the days exploring up the valley, building big camp fires and just generally mucking around. Being out of reception is always a blessing in disguise.Then it was onto camping in Kaikoura was one of the most amazing clear nights spent under the stars, the fire was lit, marshmallows were cooked and stories were told as we all dozed off in our sleeping bags looking forward to a morning surf. This was until about 2am when we were woken up to a howling southerly whipping up the beach blowing the surfboards a couple of hundred metres down the beach and whipping our faces with sand. The photos may look idyllic but it was far from it. I don't think there was much sleep had that night and the surf in the morning was so blown out by the gale that we didn't have much to surf so headed on up the coast.Sam used to work on a Salmon Farm in Twizel and knows the ropes of fishing the canals like the back of his hand. We pulled up at the canal unaware of what we were in for. I will have to admit I did have high confidence in Sam's fishing ability and before we knew it we were on the road with a couple of Salmon.

Now it is back to the workshop after one of the funnest weeks we have all had this year with good vibes, a lot of laughs, screw ups and games of paper scissors rock. A lot of time has been spent on Trademe since, looking for other vehicles we could drive up the country. 

William McCallum