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  • Writer's pictureGary Moller

Our South Island Holiday

Relaxing while camping at the very top of the South Island
Camping at the very top of the South Island

One thing I keep telling people is they need to take a break from the hustle and bustle of modern life, including no internet and no cell phones. So here I am, working long hours, telling people to take a break and all the while I'm supposed to be in my retirements years! I love my work, so retirement is not an option, but I must make sure that I still practice what I preach!

Alofa preparing dinner
Alofa preparing dinner. I did help!

So, we packed up the car and went to Lake Tennyson in the deep upper South Island, which is one of the most remote places one can drive to in New Zealand and where there is definitely no electronic contact with the outside world.

Lake Tennyson
Lake Tennyson

We camped, slept a lot, and ate well. I did plenty of thinking about the year ahead and we did some cycling.

Well, that was about it; we did very little other than communing with Mother Nature, including the sandflies and the occasional mosquito.

Gary finishing St James Epic race
It was a tough one!

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that Alofa and I competed in the St James Mountain Sports Races. I did the 100 km race and Alofa the 65 km version. It went through the adjoining valleys, starting from Lake Tennyson. It was brutal with massive climbs over mountain passes. It was hot, reported to hit 43 Celsius during the heat of the day. There were several rescues by 4wd because of the intense heat and the brutal hills. We both finished intact and our placings were delightful. Professional athlete, Anton Cooper cleaned up, breaking his course record despite the conditions. Anton was two hours ahead of my time of 6hr 29 min and one hour ahead of the next person which was sobering. Gosh, he is so fast! Still, I was 10th place, among the young guns and three hours ahead of the next over 60-year-old. Alofa was the oldest female in her race, and just finishing was a fabulous. I'm so proud of her. That race goes down as being one of the toughest I've ever done - no exaggerating!

Prize-giving for the St James races
I had to give a plug to Heath Lunn and his family for organising this memorable event

That over, we headed out to the coastline and for more rest and relaxation before returning to work.

Relaxing on the beach

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