I was a bit nervous how that would go - in particular, how we would manage in terms of carrying our stuff. Previously I've needed to travel with vast amounts of disability-related supplies. I knew our baggage would be less this time but it was hard to know how much less - and we wouldn't have much carrying capacity as Martin couldn't carry a backpack (due to his shoulder injury) and I'm still not all that strong. However, if we wanted to go to Whangarei we didn't have a lot of options as Martin's bung shoulder also meant he couldn't drive - and, anyway, the low carbon option of bus travel appealed to both of us - so we went ahead and booked.
In the end, a friend from church offered to drive us in to town, which eased the baggage worries considerably - plus we found we were able to pack pretty light, anyway. I carried my handbag, my bear Grizz (who made the bus a lot more comfortable) and a 30-ish-L backpack; Martin carried a smaller backpack with our 'cabin baggage' plus a maybe 30-40L shoulder bag.
The first full day in Whangarei we walked from AH Reed Memorial Kauri Park to Whangarei Falls. It was a really lovely walk :-)
|Most of the walk followed the Haatea River|
|Heaps of trees had lots of epiphytes|
|The falls :-)|
|Me resting at the falls|
|Martin and I at the falls|
|Mum decided not to walk up to the top - she's the front-most dot on the brown earth in this photo.|
|Dad chatting with me whilst I rested before we headed back|
A few fun things at Mum and Dad's place:
|We had fun going through scrapbooks of Martin's family's world trip when he was 8, as well as their furlough in New Zealand beforehand. Martin spotted this important record of his athletic prowess in one of them ;-)|
|The four of us at the top|
|Some of the stunning view - this one is looking out towards the Onerahi peninsula|
|Dad with Phil on his tractor|
|Mum with Janyne - they and I were 'backstop' while Phil moved some cows.|
And yesterday, just before coming home, I was delighted to spot these very colourful bollards in the Town Basin area near the bus stop.
It was a lovely week, and I mostly managed OK healthwise. I did deteriorate over the course of the week, and struggled a fair bit with talking to people at church on the last morning (the whole way through, since my recovery last November, I've found my physical abilities have improved much faster than my ability to cope with human interactions).
We were delighted how much traveling by bus improved our carbon emissions. More people per vehicle makes a huge difference! Last time we went to Whangarei, our transport-related emissions were about 135kg CO2e. This time they were 43kg CO2e - less than a third. Given that the planet can only absorb about 100kg CO2e per person per month - and any more than that has significant detrimental effects on some of our most vulnerable neighbours - it felt good to make a substantial cut like that. About half of our transport emissions was the actual bus travel, with the other half coming from incidental driving around Whangarei plus the emissions of our friend dropping us off at the bus in town. On the way home we ended up catching the local bus that drops us at the end of our street rather than arranging a lift, as we knew how much baggage we'd have and were confident we could manage it.
On the whole, we were very pleased with catching the bus. It didn't take heaps longer than driving ourselves (if we didn't have to get into town to catch it it'd be about the same - we were using Skip and that only has one stop between Auckland and Whangarei). Traveling home in the rain on the last day of the school holidays, Martin certainly appreciated being able to sit back and listen to podcasts rather than concentrate on the road. The bus went at times that were very convenient to us and cost less than we likely would have spent on petrol - wins all round :-)