Hitchhiking in New Zealand is quite common, as it has a reputation for being a relatively safe place to do so, few highways, friendly locals and fellow travellers. In fact, it’s so popular it was common to see hitchhikers on the same road several times a hundred meters apart from each other.
With so much competition, it pays off to try and stand out some way. My inspiration came from an unlikely source. While taking the boat across to the South Island, there was a Mr Bean film playing where he goes on holiday in France. Despite my low expectations, the film turned out to be an interesting story, and I think all the passengers came away having learnt something about life, love, knowledge and the pursuit of something greater than oneself (ok maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but in all seriousness it was not such a bad film).
Mr Bean in the movie showed me the optimal hitchhiking strategy – dancing around like an idiot to get people’s attention. Suffice to say that it paid off – I never had to take the bus and got three separate rides- an old couple with a jack russel terrier (their son also happened to have been at the same wedding as me a week earlier!) from picton to blenheim, a newly married couple to kaikoura and a courier driver on to christchurch.
Total time spent waiting only 30 minutes!