A Paris Journey - Roniece.com

Weekend paradise…

with an off road adventure!


A Paris Journey… / My New Zealand / Weekend paradise…


Filed Under: My New Zealand November 26, 2012, 19:42

Kia Ora!


I feel truly blessed that I can call New Zealand my home! What an awesome weekend I had!


Manapouri bound!

My dear friends Rebecca and Neil invited me to join them for a weekend at their crib in Manapouri and they very kindly picked me up on Friday evening and we drove the 1.5hrs in Neil’s big 4WD vehicle to our destination. It was pretty cool to be sitting up like Jackie in the back seat taking in the amazing vistas of the snow-clad mountains looming before me!

We arrived while there was still plenty of light in the evening sky (I so love daylight saving!) and Neil gave me a tour of the crib and showed me my room which had a view overlooking Lake Manapouri (seriously awesome view!). Their crib is literally on a hill overlooking the Lake and views from both lounge rooms are uninterrupted and fabulous!

4WD Rally!

Saturday morning Rebecca woke me to ask if I would like to join Neil on his 4WD rally which he was going on and quick as a flash I was out of my very comfy bed and dressed and ready to go without a moment’s hesitation!  Rebecca said she was quite happy just to potter around the crib for the day and was more than ok for me to go!

As I didn’t know I was going on this rally my wardrobe was slightly out of kilter for the day but Rebecca came to the rescue and I was given Grandad’s big warm jacket and Neil’s gumboots and socks as back up! The look on Neil’s face when I walked into the kitchen ready to go wearing my white Italian loafers was PRICELESS! and he very quickly placed his hands over his face and said ‘oh no, white shoes’!!  Turns out he had every right to be concerned for my well-being as when we pulled up at the meeting point a couple of the guys also had that look of ‘oh no, white shoes’ when they saw me!! LOL!  Tom pee right… we all have our little idiosyncrasies to live with!

Going off-road!

Our meeting point was Mossburn and all up there were 11 vehicles in the convoy and a delightful and friendly going young man named Callum was our designated Leader for the day. It wasn’t long before we headed off-road just out of Mossburn township and suddenly my day was about to get very exciting!

We made our way thru lots of swamp and bush tracks and eventually ended up on top of a very high hill overlooking some of the most spectacular scenery ever!  We were surrounded by snow-clad mountains, rivers, green farm land, rocky outbursts, tussock land, forests and scrubland that was so thick you couldn’t see ahead of you! Of course we got bogged on more than one occasion but that was just part of the day and it was so much fun to be pulled out by another vehicle while all the others were smiling and laughing around us and all the while secretly hoping that their vehicle WASN’T going to get bogged in the same place!

As we were making our way along a dirt track we were informed on the radio to make a right turn ahead but to ensure that the vehicle behind us saw where we turned off before proceeding.  Turned out the track that we took was thru these amazing Douglas Fir trees (Christmas trees!) which were really high and really thick and you couldn’t see your way thru because of all the trees.. I can’t express in words how spectacular this feeling was as the beautiful tree branches were hitting the windscreen from both sides but all I know is that I will definitely remember this as being my favourite part of the day!

Lunch in a bog!

I know this doesn’t sound very glamorous but trust me it was so much fun! I think every vehicle got bogged as we were trying to make our way thru this stage of the rally and eventually I think everyone was getting rather hungry waiting for others to be pulled out! So lunch was declared and Neil took out our lunch bag and we sat on camp stools at the back of the vehicle surrounded by the mud and bog and enjoyed our lunch of toastie pies, cheese and pickle sandwiches, fruit and biscuits and a nice cup of tea! Quite simply another priceless moment!

Callum’s little sister Kayla was with their Dad in another vehicle and I was very happy to make her acquaintance when we made our first stop for the day which just happened to be at a bog! She told me she is finishing Year 6 and next year she will become a boarder at St John’s Girls’ School in Invercargill which is just around the corner from where my sister lives.  She was such a beautiful girl with perfect manners and her gorgeous blue eyes just sparkled every time she smiled. She was quite happy to chat with me and let me know what was happening along the way as she told me she often accompanies her Dad and big brother on these awesome 4WD rally days.

Our destination for the day was to head to Lower Mt Windley Hut which was situated in a clearing close to the river bed.  The land we were driving thru was classed as DOC land (Department of Conservation) and Neil told me it is open for public access for tramping, fishing and 4WD trips. It was a pretty cool little hut I must say and I was in awe of the giant fireplace which would prove to be very cosy on a rough night out in the bush!

People I met!

With 11 vehicles participating there was of course an opportunity to meet some new people and as you know that’s something I’m very good at! I’ve already mentioned that I met the lovely Kayla, her big brother Callum who did an awesome job of leading us for the day and their Dad Steve (who felt the need to comment on my white shoes!) 🙂  The other people I met were Shane, Neville, Laura and Glen, Tori, Blair and his wife and small baby Oscar who was only 5 months old but already this was his 4th rally!

We ended the day by crossing over the river and this was a great opportunity for the vehicles to wash all the mud off their wheels and under carriages! Neil did an awesome job of driving and of keeping me safe! Not once was I scared or apprehensive about getting bogged or climbing a steep embankment or going down a big hill where all vision was lost for more than a split second or having to crawl our way thru the forest and try to manipulate the trees for us to pass… I loved every minute of it in fact!

At the conclusion of the day we gathered around for a debrief by Callum and then Glen who was “Sheriff for the Day” continued on by addressing the members and telling them what they had done wrong during the rally and fined them for various things and if he couldn’t fault them then he still fined them just for the fun of it! ☺ Neil was fined for losing the metal plate under his vehicle and for subsequently needing to be winched out of the bog because of it! ☺ All good fun though with the funds being returned to the Club for future use. I felt very pleased with myself that I wasn’t fined for being the only person to wear white shoes on the rally! ☺ Next time I might not be so lucky!

All in all it was a wonderful day and I am very grateful that I was able to be part of it!

Neil is a member of two clubs and today’s run was organised by the Southern Trail Blazers 4WD Club based at Gore.

a Bientot!




  • sistereurope

    great post Murielle! xo

    • Roniece

      super fun day Muriel.. wish you were there you would have loved it!.. no moose though! Haha xx

  • denise

    Sounds like a fun day. I laughed at the fashionable white shoes and out of kilter dress, just sound SO Roniece!

    Wonderful picture.

    I am a bit confused. Are you living in New Zealand now? Have i missed something?

    Love Denise


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One of my passions is to travel. However for more than a few years now I seem to have found myself visiting Paris for extended periods of time.. well, make that weeks at least! i know it won't last forever but while it does... I'm going to enjoy every moment!