20 years old and hitching around NZ with five university friends. That's more than 30 years ago now. Text taken from a diary written at the time, with no edits just some omissions. Some images are original, others from the web. Best place to start reading is from the beginning (scroll down to the first post). Locations in bold are where I/we stayed at the end of that particular day.

Sunday, February 29, 1976

Waitomo. Did nothing all day and enjoyed every moment of it. Slept in.

Saturday, February 28, 1976

Waitomo. ...Final ride was with 8 girls in some sort of jeep. It was a bit cramped but fun. They took us all the way to the township of Waitomo 8km off the main road. After tea we went & saw the glow worm caves. The guide was good - he didn't rush too much & apparently the 8.15 tour is the one to go on. Fewer people. First we walked around the caves a bit and then went in a boat. The guide stands up and pulls the boat along a series of wires. It was beautiful in there. All you could hear was water dripping into the cave. There were thousands of glow worms. Great night.

Friday, February 27, 1976

Auckland. Woke up to cloudy skies at Paihia this morning. We decided to move on as the weather report didn't seem too good. It took only 6 hours and 3 rides to get to Auckland but the weather improved just as we were leaving Paihia. Two of the rides took four of us. The first in a Ford ute (a new one) went to Wakawata. The second, a Bedford van - we didn't even thumb this guy down. He just saw us all standing around and signalled that he'd give us a ride. That took us to Whangarei. And then a ride straight to Auckland in a Marina...

Sunday, February 22, 1976

(heading to) Ohope. ...got a ride with a guy in an old Ford Consul. He was very hard to talk to - he’d start to talk and would die out mid sentence. You’d wait for him to finish what he was saying but he wouldn’t. He was a good guy though... works at some paper mills and so he took us into the cafeteria for a meal. It didn’t cost him anything because he’d been there 21 years but it was still good of him.

Saturday, February 21, 1976

Rotorua. … bought breakfast supplies and sat outside the Maori meeting hall where a concert was on. It wouldn’t have been worth going in judging from what it sounded like. We then strolled into the pub. That was funny. The five of us carrying 4 bottles of milk, a packet of cornflakes, a dozen eggs and a loaf of bread. Everyone seemed to just stare at us. Most were Maoris. One guy asked if he could come to the tea party.

Friday, February 20, 1976

Taupo. Spent morning at the Laundromat. Afternoon sitting by the lake and swimming although it was cold. Evening out on a fishing trip which cost $3.75, it was OK except I didn’t feel too good.

Tuesday, February 17, 1976

Ketetahi Hut. 
… The climb was long (the saddle was about 5400 ft above sea level and Ngauruhoe is 7515 ft) but not too exhausting because we left our packs behind. I think it took about 2 hrs to reach the top. The sides were just loose rubble and we had to be careful of falling rocks sent down by whoever was the highest (usually JohnF). The view down was tremendous. You could see the track running across the south crater of Tongariro and over the saddle...  Sat at the top for about 15 mins. It was too cloudy to get photos. Although I did get one of Paul, Helen & John sitting on the rim.

Monday, February 16, 1976

Mangatepopo HutOur duty for the morning, clean up the chalet. The warden guy (actually the Scotel isn't a hostel) was really good... A beautiful day - clear blue skies and warm sun. A bit of a change from what we had before... Eventually we got walking. A Canadian guy, Paul, came with us. The walk was good over undulating land covered in scrub. You keep encountering some sort of ravines that you had to climb down and then up the other side but they didn't bother me much... Now we're just a stones throw away from Ngauruhoe. It's a bit cloudy around the top but it should be clear at least for a while in the morning.

Sunday, February 15, 1976

(heading to) Tongariro. … it took ages to get near town. Eventually we got a ride with three young guys. By young I mean about 16. The driver opened the boot to put my pack in and it had 15 bottles of beer and a dead duck in it. Quite funny really. They obviously had nothing to do for the day so they drove us out of town...  We waited for a while then managed to get a ride in a big truck carrying a load of new cars. It looked like we'd have trouble getting a ride since all the cars were full and going for a Sunday drive...  The trucky was a really great guy and drove us right to Tongariro. He nearly clobbered a hitch hiker on the way. The guy (who we knew from Whangarei) was too close to the road and on a bend. There were cars going the opposite way so he couldn't move over. The guy waved for a while then realised he was about to be run over then moved real quick... We met the others at Chateau Tongariro and just wandered around for a while. Booked in at the Scotel - they give a concession to hostellers. Put us in a chalet for $2 a night each.

Saturday, February 14, 1976

Wanganui. Charles turned up at the hostel this morning with a grand total of $7 cash. He’s rung home so was OK since his dad sent money really quickly... Hitching was quite easy. Got a ride from a guy who used to ride solos in speedway. He was going to some bike races. Apparently they race bikes along the beach...

Friday, February 13, 1976

Wellington. Off the ferry and took about ½ hour to walk into the city. Got there at 7.00am, bought some takeaway food and ate it on the lawns outside some offices. Got some funny looks from people.

Thursday, February 12, 1976

Hitched up to Picton this morning. Mac gave me a ride to just out of Nelson and from there it took three rides and 2½ hours to get to Picton...  Spent the afternoon sitting in the park and reading a book... Met the others - they enjoyed Abel Tasman (national park) and spent the evening in the pub drinking lemon squashes (19c for a large glass - best yet).

Tuesday, February 10, 1976

Nelson. It took quite a while for the first lift today - roughly an hour and a half but after that I didn't have to wait very long. Got into Nelson about lunch time (and) ate too much takeaway stuff... Pitched the tent in a Motor Camp. That Yoga Place didn't look very good and didn't have hot showers (which I think I need)... bought some scones (couldn't resist I'm afraid). 6c each but they sure are filling... this place is infested with sandflies. My hands are nearly eaten off - I'll probably scratch them to shreds within the next few days.

Monday, February 9, 1976

Inangahua Junction. Murchison. I'm afraid the hitching didn't quite go as well as planned today. At the moment, I'm sitting outside the Inangahua Junction Tea Rooms & Store which of course are closed and have been since 5 o'clock. I've got a headache, the sandflies are driving me nuts and this road seems to average about one car every hour. On top of that it looks like it's going to rain... Had some bread, butter and jam for tea. I might have some more. If it keeps raining I think I'd be better off sleeping in the church porch... 

Well I made it to Murchison. A couple in a yellow Commer van drove though looking for a motor camp. I told them there was none and they drove around for half an hour looking for somewhere to stop. Apparently they decided to go on so they came back and picked me up... Arrived at the motor camp about 10 o'clock. The ground was very wet and it was raining. I slept the night in a picnic shelter. There was another guy in there also. The floor was concrete so I didn't exactly get a good nights sleep... The caretaker ... only charged me 25c for the night. Not bad - it may not have been comfortable but at least it was dry.

Saturday, February 7, 1976

Hokitika. ... I've pitched my tent in the motor camp and had a look around the town for the afternoon. Not much to see I'm afraid. It's rather difficult buying supplies for one person. You've got to buy a pound of butter & a pint of milk etc. No huge gourmet teas for a while. I'd like to get some fresh meat but that'll have to wait until Monday. I boiled up 3 eggs for tea - I thought it would be a good idea to have some since I haven't had any for a while. Bought a tin of chocolate flavouring so that I wouldn't be wasting the milk. There's really not much at all to do here... I think I'll go to bed early tonight.