I can't say I had planned much of what has happened so far, but I guess that's what makes travelling so interesting...
On Monday the 9th of December, I flew out of Adelaide at 7am, got delayed in Sydney and fell asleep at the wrong gate (so I could charge my phone). Luckily I set my alarm to go off right when they were making the final boarding announcements.
A nice welcome to New Zealand was receiving two donations from the first two people that I met.
The first couple of days here in Dunedin were heaps of fun and productive. On the Tuesday I rode up Baldwin St. (the world's steepest street) albiet not in a straight line and almost fell off twice while riding up in a tight switch-back motion. Later that afternoon I met an older fella who said he rode Baldwin St. in a straight line back when he was 64...what a machine! He was kind enough to show me the entrance to a 6km riding track at the top of Signal Hill, which was good fun and went on for ages.
Wednesday morning I decided to get some more riding in, and headed out of town to a reserve called Bethunes Gully. I pushed my bike up a spectacular track for around 4km until I was about 3/4 of the way to the peak of Mt. Cargill. It didn't seem worth going to the peak because the clouds were low and visibility was getting worse. The first kilometre or so of riding down was good, but slippery. Then, before I knew it my rear tyre caught on something and flipped me over the handlebars, landing on my right elbow. At first I thought nothing of it, but discovered it was damaged in some way when I tried to stand up using my right arm. Covered in mud and unable to lean forwards or backwards without causing more pain, I walked for around an hour with my bike, back down the track until I reached the carpark. No one was around, and I was about 6km from town/hospital, so I opted for the ambulance ride. When the paramedics arrived they confirmed it was dislocated, and potentially fractured. The lady paramedic checked my arm's pulse and found it didn't have one, so I guess that explains why it was getting more painful as time went on. At the hospital I was informed it was just a dislocation with no fractures. I was super happy about that news. The rest of the afternoon/evening was spent in the observation room, waiting for the anesthetic to ware off. I didn't know that if you're an Australian in New Zealand and vice versa, it's free to go to the hospital!
Since then, the weather hasn't been great for doing stuff with a healing arm, so I've mostly been hanging out at the hostel, rearranging my future bookings and playing card games with various people.
Yesterday afternoon I met with a reporter for the Otage Daily Times to do a story on my walk, and a photographer took me up to a lookout with Dunedin in the background for the photo. They asked that I bring my walking gear for the photo, which was a good opportunity to walk with the pack on and see how my shoulder is feeling. It felt really fine, as long as I'm not lifting the pack with that arm, I'm confident about having it on all day. To my surprise, the article was in the paper this morning, and I found out about it through another trail walker posting a picture of it on Facebook. Click here to check out the online version.
Fun fact: the birth place of the late Fred Hollows is the city of Dunedin. I think it's cool that I've started my trip in the same city by chance.
I'll be heading down to Bluff tomorrow afternoon, and starting the trail on Thursday the 19th. I'm super eager to get started with the actual walk after sitting around for the past few days. So far, all of the scenery I've been able to witness down in the south of New Zealand has been incredible. I can't wait to see more!
An update on the fundraising and sponsorship: Just before I left Adelaide, Fit For Success held a fundraiser at their christmas party, and raised $500AU! St. Mary's College were also kind enough to do a fundraiser with their students, also raising $500AU for The Foundation. Incredible! The current amount raised for The Foundation AU is $2,890! Hopefully as I start walking, the cause page for The Foundation NZ starts getting some action. Also, the company that employs me have kindly offered to contribute to my walk by helping with the cost of food, thanks very much Novatech Creative Event Technology.
The video above is something I discovered while researching cool things to do in New Zealand. I think it does a pretty epic job of showing off the landscape there is to see here. In my opinion, it's worth the whole eight and a half minutes.