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Saturday 24 June 2017

Goin' bush: We came, we saw, we ran...

Posted in: Features
By Jacqui Stanford - 30th December 2011

A wet welcome

Yes so the forecasters were spot on and the weather at Vinegar Hill is only for the campers of a much tougher breed than I (read: much butcher breed).

The motel, cheap and cheerful
Currently there are still a fair few hardy and hopeful but incredibly drained looking campers with their tents still erect at Vinegar Hill, despite Mother Nature deciding to spew forth rain, wind and mugginess. We did a drive through last night, then headed to Hunterville and found lodgings at a warm and dry motel with décor your grandmother would be ashamed of. Yet it was warm, dry and cheap and close to the Station Hotel, which was complete with a bar, restaurant, pool table and pokies (I won $20!).

We ran into a group of lesbians from Hamilton who instantly recognised the trio of us as family thanks to the giant ‘lesbian’ sign we had complete with bright flashing lights above our heads. We drank beer, played pool and met a bunch of local shearers my girlfriend convinced with her random yarn that they could make $60 a sheep plying their trade in Auckland. Maybe she meant they could become hairdressers. Who knows.

We shared shots and talked about the sheep trade like we knew something, then called it a night, and lay in bed listening to the screaming wind thanking ourselves for being pussies and crashing at a motel.

Having breakfast at the local café we encountered the most tired looking group of gay men I have ever seen, and saw much of the same when we headed down to the campsite to chat to the survivors. While some were packing up and heading for shelter, most were cheerful and exhausted, and staying put. There was also a group of women skinny dipping in the river, until we and a sudden onslaught of tourists arrived at a nearby bridge with cameras (we WERE just trying to get pictures of the campground!)

Time for a hot breakfast after a rainy night

We ran into a group from Auckland and Hamilton who were under shelter cooking bacon and eggs and also stubbornly staying put.

Hardy camper Heather Carnegie is staying put!
Our Hamilton lesbians friends assured us they were certain the weather would get better and had even picked out a nearby campsite we could have.

Now? Well we’ve run to my surrogate mother’s house an hour away for wine, dinner, internet, beds and laughs before checking the weather tomorrow (when the worst is forecast to hit) and deciding whether to go to Vinegar Hill and butch it up, meet friends in Taupo or head down to Wellington and the gay bars.

Overall? Yes I admit it, camping fail! I hope I get to keep my lesbian card, I just had it laminated.

PS: I have learned an important life lesson never to do a road trip when you are outnumbered by lovers of bad pop. I have had about as much Vengaboys as I can cope with … thank God they left Aqua at home …

Jacqui Stanford - 30th December 2011

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