Last update from Julian!
Almost 500km yesterday!!!!! Second week of the tour started off in Nelson, top of the South Island. All suited up, Miss E Lux on my back and a quick hitch to Tahunanui school saw us present to the all 350 students. The kids of Tahunanui school we’re overjoyed to receive the UltraOne Green and More FM cheque, after which the Enviro Group students showed us their gardening project that feeds the entire school. Following a quick bite of lunch wewere on state highway 6 looking for a ride to Blenheim. More FM broadcasted our position and 20 minutes later we were away. There was plenty of traffic coming in and out of Marlborough country so getting a ride from Blenheim to Christchurch was much easier than I’d thought, and featured some of the most spectacular scenery I’ve ever seen in my life. Today’s haul of almost 500 km was the longest we’ve come in one day, but we made it in time to visit the next school, and then push on to Dunedin.
Day 7 began with a short trip up to Woodend, just north of Christchurch to visit the winning school for the region. About 200 kids from Woodend School came to see our presentation and receive their UltraOne Green and winners cheque, which the kids collectively decided to use the help extend their school gardening project. In passing through Christchurch city one truly earns an appreciation of what this city has been through since the devastating earthquakes in February, however the spirit of the city remains strong as the clean up continues.
The run from Christchurch to Dunedin was a 360 km haul, at 1pm Miss E Lux and I hit state highway 1 and got working on a ride. After 20 minutes a passing insurance salesman got us to Timaru, about half way to Dunedin. From here a series of 4 other drivers including Dutch travelers and a massive milk tanker eventually safely delivered us to Dunedin early that evening. Another massive day of hitch hiking complete, only one day to go!
Starting off in Dunedin, today would most likely be the day this massive
hitch hiking journey reaches its conclusion in Invercargill! A brisk
morning ride with More FM got Miss E Lux and myself to the Dunedin Rudolf
Steiner School, presenting the UltraOne Green and $500 cheque to the entire
school of 38 kids, who were very engaged with what we are trying to achieve
with plastics. At Midday we set off for Invercargill, with the weather
looking nasty, but plenty of traffic on the roads. One thing I’ve learnt
about hitching is that it’s totally unpredictable when you will get a ride.
After an hour we finally got picked up but moved only 10 minutes down where
we jumped out, at which point the heavens opened. Sheltering under some
pine trees by the road, some 30 minutes later a massive Kenworth truck
pulled over and we jumped in, the driver had heard about our journey on
More FM and offered us a ride which got us to the enormous Fontera milk
factory in Edenvale some 120 km down the road, very cool to ride in this
massive truck! From here a passing tradesman got us quickly to
Invercargill, where upon our arrival the clouds parted and the sun came
out, perfect timing for reaching the final stop – We made it! One more
school to visit tomorrow and our mission will be complete!
This is it, the last day and the last hitch in this massive trek across this beautiful country. Invercargill is not a large town so getting to the Otatara School did not look like a difficult task. Standing by highway 1 for the last time, Miss E Lux and I we’re pleasantly surprised to see a car pull up, driven by a local retailer that knew we were in town. The word of the tour had spread! Over 300 students at Otatara School attended our presentation, and had already worked out exactly what they would spend their prize money on; a new worm farm to make compost for their organic gardening project. Again, it amazes me to see how these children are already thinking long term about how they can reduce, re-use and recycle, extremely encouraging! A quick trip to the local More FM radio station for a final interview and the tour was finished! The last 8 days on the road had covered over 2300 km, visiting ten schools to present the Vac from the Sea initiative to over 4000 students. Mission complete!