The Ultimate Claybird Shooting Competition

One last activity before we leave the luxurious and adventurous Makoura Lodge: claybird shooting. We’ve done a 4×4 Safari with Hugh, a horse trek with Kimberley, and now it is Chris’ turn to show us his guns.

Morning has barely broken and we are going to shoot orange discs out of the sky! Chris gives us a quick safety briefing about having the safety on and off, watching out for the cartridge popping out of the barrel when we reload, and not pointing the gun at people in general. You know, all those commonsense things that need to be said for people that lack such basic skills. Like Laura! The first time she opens the gun to reload she has to rely on her Spidey-senses to dodge the smoking cartridge about to hit her in the face…

A fiery competition

Because Robin is a competitive so-and-so, his first question is: “How do we make this a competition?” Chris gives us the rules: best out of 10 shots. Whoever shoots the most claybirds wins!

First up, Robin. He has had some short but successful experience with claybird shooting, so he feels confident. As one orange disc flies in the air and lands smoothly on the ground, and the next one, and the next one, he starts to panic a bit. There are only 10 shots and he is running out quickly! All sorts of excuses come out of his mouth at this point: it’s too dark, I can’t see, I’m French… He shoots one, but that’s probably one more than clumsy Laura will get.

Next up, Laura. She doesn’t have much hope as she is usually awful at aiming, reacting, and generally being alive. But… What? She hits one, then two, then three, then four, maybe five? (She loses count by this point because she is still buzzing about hitting the first one). It’s a cool feeling achieving something you had no idea you could do! It just goes to show that anything is worth a try!

What a way to end our stay at Makoura Lodge! We say goodbye to our amazing hosts who have kept us well-fed, well-slept and extremely well-entertained.

Laura, the winner, being a badass Laura, the winner, being a badass
What Laura's claybirds look like What Laura's claybirds look like
And here is Robin's pile And here is Robin's pile
Leaving our claybird shooting career behind for a new adventure Leaving our claybird shooting career behind for a new adventure

Manawatu is so darn pretty!

Where to next? Plimmerton on the Kapiti Coast, a district of Wellington. See you later, Manawatu! We are heading closer to New Zealand’s capital city now.

The drive out of Makoura and away from the Ruahine Ranges is so darn pretty. There is a section of gravel road to grumble across one our way out to Apiti. (Thank Christ we didn’t have to take the road we took to come up here!). Then we are on long stretches of straight sealed road with lots of humps flowing with the rolling hills filled with sheep and cattle.

The road finally takes us winding up a hill to a viewpoint and information board about Northern Manawatu. A viewing platform protrudes out the side of the road giving us views of the dramatic hilly terrain layering on top of each other, all the way out to the Ruahine Ranges out in the distance. Manawatu really is a stunning yet underrated region.

Island spotting

The drive soon has us back to the ocean again. That’s the thing with New Zealand, you are never too far away from the ocean. As we drive along State Highway 1 on the Kapiti Coast, Laura spots a light outline of mountain across the sea.

“Is that the South Island?!”

“Yeah… Yeah! It has to be!” Robin replies. Pangs of excitement fill us up. We’re giddy to be getting so close to travelling the South Island of New Zealand.

Nature-fest in the middle of the road Nature-fest in the middle of the road
Guys, there's an amazing lookout behind you! Stop chatting! Guys, there's an amazing lookout behind you! Stop chatting!
We think we are going to like Plimmerton... We think we are going to like Plimmerton...

Kapiti Island stuggles

A more prominent island takes our attention off the Kapiti Coast: Kapiti Island. This is a bird sanctuary that we are dying to visit. Robin’s organisational skills throughout the trip so far have given us well over 70 activities in 70 days, but with Kapiti Island, he might have just met his match. It seems that all the tourism operators are on vacation in this quiet winter season.

Will we make it to Kapiti Island? Find out in the next three days! (Or we might just make a stop on the way back up the North Island later in the year. No big deal).

Welcome to Plimmerton, where the sunset will blow your mind

On the other hand, we know there’s a lot more to discover in Plimmerton and its nearby city, Porirua, starting with the sensational sunset we have just spotted across Plimmerton Beach! Park the campervan! We have to get a better look!

Sunrays bursting through the clouds, reflecting off the calm harbour waters: this was well worth pulling over for. The whole coastline of Plimmerton looks so fancy, we can’t believe there is backpacker accommodation amongst what must be the millionaires of the Kapiti Coast right here!

With seafront views, candlelit dinner tables, clean and well-organised kitchen, we can tell we are going to feel a million dollars staying in the Moana Lodge! We’ve even organised to have a mid-winter BBQ with some fellow hostel-dwellers tomorrow night. See you then, right after a day of exploring the Kapiti Coast!

Laura and Robin

Can't believe we are leaving this today!
Can't believe we are leaving this today! Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

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See you tomorrow!

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