Arriving in CHC after a quiet convenient flight was good – good to be back. Weather was a little of the less hostile kind with rain and medium temperatures.
We were picked up by Tony Davis owner of 4WD Overland, a rental company specialized in rental of real 4WD vehicles (to be precise the various builds of Toyota Prados with permanent 4WD, so no shishi SUV crap). Tony picked us, all the luggage came, nothing was lost, first coffee on the airport as other guest had to receive their car. Tony gratefully offered to stay the first night at its home. A neat home outside of CHC, not to far from the airport, but remote enough. There we had our own small cabin to let our souls arrive and to re-pack. The first night with Tony and his family (Helen and the twins) we had self-shot venison.
The next day was a little bad as Ines was totally knocked out due to some mysterious virus and I somehow developing the usual infection. Still we went to CHC for some technical shopping of flies and stuff. Especially the important visit to the Warehouse (their 40l plastic containers are legend!), FlyShop and some camping-kitchen stuff. So we had to stress the hospitality another night to get on the road by Thursday. The major things like two flame cooker with a big gas-bomb, chairs, tables, chilly bin we all got from Tony. Plus – and that was the most important thing – a large roof box to take all the stuff that did not fit in the big trunk. Oh I forgot to mention: we also bought a nice baby stroller. A red one where the backrest can be flattened, so little Tobias can sleep.
This first night Tony was very friendly to mention some spots I already figured out, but was not sure or needed some confirmation or directions, plus some other new spots. As this is a real act of thrust, I will not mention any locations or rivers unless obvious. It is part of the game to hunt for information, read maps, search Google satellite images and gather information all over the place. This is sometimes annoying and totally unusual for us Europeans, but it avoids to high pressure on some pristine small rivers, streams and creeks than can only handle a couple of fisherman per week or even season.
Packing or better loading the car was some kind of 3D-Tetris but we managed it quiet well. So off we were with a waving Thank You to Tony! (We can absolutely recommend his service, a little more NZ$ compared to the cheap ones, but much better cars and personal service and guidance, you get what you pay for! See his website Overland 4WD rentals for further details, please mention us as reference).
Where to go: north or south. I was close to flip the coin but by instinct and attraction by some streams south we choose to go south first. The weather outlook was promising with a few good days ahead.
A big advantage of 3,5 month is to not have any plans or defined route, just a list of favorite spots. As upscale lodges are not an option with that duration, pre-booking is not necessary. So we are free to follow the sun and avoid to heavy rains – fingers crossed.
We were on the road fish bound. That felt good!