The Arts Factory Lodge in Byron Bay is my favourite hostel in the world.
It is 10 minutes' walk outside of town, but it's entirely worth it. There's even a constant shuttle bus, in case you can't be arsed.
Eyes keen and belly a-grumble, I set about the city of Brisbane. Cash, liberated! Town Hall, observed! Brisbane Museum, memorised! I am a whirring machine of cultural exploration, unstopped in my quest to devour local knowledge
We have come to a Jaques coffee planation, where we are being treated to hot coffee, cold coffee, ice cream coffee, chocolate cheesecake, Tiramasu, chocolate coated coffee beans, coffee liquor and a film about how the plantation came to be.
It is incredible.
Tone shows me how to catch and lick green ants, which taste of lime! I get bitten immediately and repeatedly
I try Franc's technique instead and bite the ends of the ants. Who is eating whom now, you suicidal green bastards?!
Luckily for me, tonight's Aussie Rules training is mainly just drills.
Also luckily for me, everybody here is friendly and inviting; they include me immediately and don't even mock my utter lack of ability, which I suspect is very irritating.
There is no way around it; I cannot get up Mount Taranaki. Even if it wasn't insanely dangerous in the middle of this cold snap, nobody will lend me any gear.
Instead, here are some photos from the top of Mount Luxmore.
Today, it is way too cold to climb Mount Taranaki. Tomorrow the weather will be better. So I wait… …and eat cake…and drink tea…and stare at Mount Taranaki. I’m getting inside its head. Psyching it out for the big day. I’m playing mind games...
There is a special solitude one can only find in a city. Walking the mountains or standing by the road, I am alone - but out of necessity. Here in busy Wellington, I have the freedom to truly and constantly choose to be by myself. I am utterly content.
After a week on the road, hitch-hiking, knife forging and jade carving, I finally arrive in Nelson...and promptly leave.
It is a fantastic city, but it lacks something that Wellington possess. Namely, TENACIOUS D!
The Franz Josef glacier looks lie a dying animal. Withdrawing into the mountains, it gushes salty grey blood as hikers descend upon it from helicopters.
Suddenly, I don't want to climb this glacier. That's what I tell myself. The reality is that I can't afford to.