The 45th parallel south is a circle of latitude that is 45° south of the Earth’s equator.

It is the line that marks the theoretical halfway point between the equator and the South Pole.

Unbeknown to us, we crossed it as we arrived at Cromwell after driving the third-bedroom south from Christchurch.  A short vacation with the only agenda item, cycle the Dunstan Trail.

The traditional Fairlie pie stop was above the 45th parallel, some ways back.  A must on anyone’s diet menu.  Or not.

A Fairlie Pie Shop pie – apple and pork.
Cromwell is the capital of the country for fruits.
The arsehole end of the apple!

Cromwell is 119 kilometres from the sea, the farthest from the sea anywhere in New Zealand.  And is the township that mothers the man-made Lake Dunstan.

Finding a slice of dirt to park up the third-bedroom had us switch off the motor at a NZMCA park for subscription campers – whether campervan, caravan or fifth wheelers.  It was also on the opposite side of the lake having had to point the nose in the opposite direction and furthermore, north of the 45th parallel.

Fields of blooms.
The calm before the storm.

Usual action list once the key is switched off is to place the door mate at the base of the step, turn on the gas for hot water, pop the top off a beverage, plonk ourselves down in the u-shape seating configuration and perv.  Sus out the neighbours and judge.

Wow, that’s a flash set up or OMG, how cool is that.  Left, right and partially directly in front.

It kind of decides who we should meet, greet and then introduce ourselves to be invited to join the camp conversation after an initial “I’m so and so…” and “cheers”.  For as long as bodies start to disappear to hibernate back to their own rigs for the night.

Now, you know I’m kidding about the judging bit.  You just can’t tell a book by its cover.  Not knowing neither that it was the calm before the storm!

The neighbours to the right had a wagon circle already with fellow nomads and so we thought it polite to invite ourselves.  One beer for me, and a glass of vino for BClaire would be our limit, knowing on the morrow, we had to bike the 55-60 odd kms of the Dunstan Trail.

To Alexandra.

There is no explanation as to how fellow beings can come together and just gel.  As if you were long lost mates catching up and therefore, banter, talk bullshit, laugh, sing and give philosophy opinion.

Three cans of beer and a bottle of shiraz for me; and a bottle of sav blanc for BClaire later … we were making up our bed in the u-shape of the third-bedroom where we had sat earlier, in complete darkness.

Luckily, on the left side of the mid-night hour.  But still above the 45th parallel.

Which once the bodies were horizontal, had us giggling that we had to cross it again before we even started the true Dunstan Trail south.

Day one, yep!

Introducing Eva and Richard … long lost mates met for the first time (the next morning selfie as the night before wasn’t pretty).