The great New Zealand road trip

16:00, Feb 15 2012
road trip
HIGH HOPES: It always starts out so promising...

The Kiwi road trip is a ritual, particularly when it's holiday time. It starts with packing the car.

Sometimes the operation is meticulous, with everything in its place. Other times you simply chuck everything you possibly can into the boot.

After you've checked you've got everything, then double checked, you set off. Ten minutes later, you're back home again - she's discovered you've "forgotten" the cat.

If you're a big city dweller, you'll enjoy a couple of hours stuck in traffic. Then your co-driver will tell you to get into the left lane ("It's moving faster, dear").

You battle your way across, only to find the traffic's stopped moving. You see the car you were behind in the first place disappear into the distance.

Once you're further afield and out on the highway, you can settle into the slow-paced slog as the traffic gradually passes the one car holding everybody else up.  


Finally you get past them, and then - only then - does the request come for a toilet stop.

You begrudgingly pull over, hoping the pit stop won't take too long. Just as you're about to pull back on to the highway, the slowpoke cruises past with a huge line of traffic behind them. Frustrated, you rejoin the cue.

Twenty minutes later, the cat starts howling. Then the smell hits.

Why does she insist on bringing the cat?, you wonder as you clean the cage out on the roadside.

Back on the road and everyone's finally enjoying the journey. The traffic thins and all is well.

You reach your destination a little later than intended, but at least the fish and chip shop is still open. Naturally, they've sold out of fish.

Finish this sentence: It wouldn't be a Kiwi road trip without...