Errrrmm I thought you weren’t writing anymore? I said I wouldn’t be writing about “I won or lost x amount”. I had a great time road tripping around the South Island of New Zealand and decided to put electronic pen to paper. Half for me to remember but also to encourage people to get over to New Zealand. As I have said, the blog will continue, just a different format. I’m trying to think of something cool to do, but as I’m mostly a lazy cunt, I’ll probably just review NRL games.
Twitbuddy of mine coined the phrase “the rorts continue” and don’t they just. Doesn’t matter where you go theres rort after rort going on. We got in a cab out front of Airport at 1.30am, hungry, the only place open was McDonald’s about 500m up the road. After sitting in the drive through for 20 minutes I asked if the cabbie would mind pausing the now $45 meter. He refused and my blood started to boil. After eating half of my ridiculously cold cheeseburger and chips, going another 1.5km up the road to our motel, I forked out $80 for shit food and 2km of travel in a cab, fuck I was seething and THE RORTS CONTINUED.
We got the RV early in the morning and got moving. Stocked up with food and booze and started the 3 hour drive to Lake Tekapo. We had an all kiwi playlist to accompany us around the South Island. No surprises, it mostly consisted of anything involving the ‘Finn Brothers’, but notable mentions also go to Broods, Dave Dobbyn, Evermore and Flight of the Conchords. It’s hard to pinpoint what was more enjoyable, driving to these places or the places themselves. New Zealand is seriously scenic. Had tons of kiwi mates tell me that it’s “God’s country” over there. I mostly thought they were taking the piss as Aussies do with Kiwis and vise versa, but they weren’t.
I was hanging out to hit a hot spring, unfortunately the pools at Lake Tekapo were all man made, chlorinated, hot pools. We went anyway and decided to get a massage and facial at the spa. I can count the amount of massages I’ve had on one hand (excluding the ones in Thailand), facial count is a zero. I had a sore back before we left though and wanted to see if a massage would help it. Fuck it was good, so good in fact that when I was getting the facial, unbeknown to me I was snoring. Bec and the two masseuses were laughing, I don’t remember any of it at all. Ducked back into the hot pool after the massage and while chatting to Bec, we both happened to look down to see mini Mac floating in the hot water through an unknown tear in the front of my board shorts. The whole time, I’d been getting around this complex with no undies on and presumably my todger hanging out at various times. People get put in jail for less, horrific. I got out without cuffs on and our day at Tekapo was finished with wine, cheese and smoked salmon. Eaten overlooking the lake, quality day.
As much as I enjoyed Tekapo, Lake Pukaki was more impressive again. This thing was huge and the water was so still. The reflections from the mountains and clouds in the background were so perfectly symmetrical, if it wasn’t upside down, you would never have known it was a reflection. After camping the night there we packed up the RV and headed up to Glentanner and Mount Cook. Hooker Valley Rd was a 1.5 hour track walk up the valley. 3 suspension bridges and 3 lakes with the 3rd an absolute crown in the jewel. It was incredible, so quiet and something I’d never seen before. A huge fuck off piece of ice from the glacier sitting in the middle of the lake. Bec and sat, took time to look and listen from the top of the valley we had just scaled. At the water level of the lake the scale of the ice block became much more apparent. I think it was just the fact you don’t see that shit back home, very cool. Out for dinner that night in Twizel to a restaurant called “Poppies”. It must have been the local hang as we met the retiring Mayor of the the local area Claire Barlow. She was out with her council members at her retirement function, full of piss and bad manners (she was actually really lovely, but definitely had a few wines). The meals were fine, nothing to rave or complain about, but the extensive list of NZ craft beers certainly peaked my interest. That night I came to realise that I like dark beers.
Next stop, Queenstown, slightly different experience this time. I’d been here before about 5 years ago snowboarding with some mates, this time around I was with the girl and there wasn’t any snow. The town had such a different vibe without snow, it wasn’t buzzing nearly as much. The iconic “World Bar” wasn’t in it’s prime location on the main road, that place was thriving last time I was here, the town seemed in mourning over it if you ask me. We didn’t waste anytime getting into the fun stuff anyway with Bec booking the Nevis Bungee jump the afternoon we arrived (watch video). She’d been full of bravado for days about it “I’m not scared, I’m going to run and jump off” blah, blah, fucking blah. I did it when I was here last time and although I was a lot more frightened than most (watch video), it still rocks even the most daring of devils. To be fair to her, she was fine the whole way up until she was strapped up and he called her name, at that point she lost all control, her legs started shaking uncontrollably and the tears were flowing. At the crunch time, she jumped with her arms out which is a lot more than you can say for me, I looked like I was shot by a sniper sitting somewhere in the range. The rest of Queenstown was made up of the usual, drinking, Fergburger (you must eat one if you go, is sensational), Queenstown Hill and Gibbston Valley Cheesery/ Winery. Oh, there was one little hidden gem we got put on to by a local. Was about 15 mins outside of town in a place called Arrowtown. The Chop Shop was the name of the place, owned by ‘Chris’ who is the head chef there. Let me tell you, the food was amazing and the service was better than that. We ate the breakfast menu but I reckon they would all be delicious.
Milford Sound was supposed to be the crème de la crème. Everywhere we went, everyone we met “have you been to Milford Sound”, “are you going to Milford Sound”, “Milford sound is amazing”. With all the buzz, expectations were high. Probably the most glowing reference we got was from some scouser at Fergburger. He was by himself and weaselled his way into our convo, God knows how. As he started down the path of being the umpteenth person to tell me about Milford Sound, I expected the standard comment about it’s ‘beauty’. But this football hooligan, beer swilling type character had a different perspective on it. “You get on the boat and and theres a big buffet on board. Now you can load up, I did, I had two full plates and I mean plates”, he said as he finished chewing the last of his Big Al from Fergburger, gesturing with his hands in a dome type shape to show how much food he mounded on his plate. He then proceeded to give me the inside word on the buffet; “I made a big mistake, I paid for it, if I was to go on again, I wouldn’t pay for the buffet, after everyone has eaten, I’d get up and grab some food, save you ten quid it would. That’s what you and the missus should do when you go”. I’m not sure if I looked hard up for cash, but rorting the buffet opportunity wasn’t high on my radar. The next day at Milford Sound, it turned out that we should have listened to the scouser and got on the buffet boat, at least it would have give us something to do. Instead, we sat on our cruise for nearly 2 hours, struggling to see 5 meters in front of ourselves as the rain poured and poured and poured. Who would have known that our friend from Liverpool had the best advice. Moral of the story, is not that you should rort the buffet, just DON’T go to Milford Sound if its pissing rain.
Southern Scenic Route of the South Island. It took us down through Invercargill where we tried to get our hands on some big ‘Bluff Oysters’ but sadly the season was finished. We checked out the ‘Catlins National Park’ and ‘Cathedral Caves’ which were great. The scenery was so alluring that you could have stopped every couple of mins for a photo. We moved up through Dunedin (didn’t stop here sadly, was running out of time) and back up the east coast to our final destination of Christchurch. There was one notable town we stopped in on the last night before coming up to Christchurch, Moeraki. It’s a sleepy, coastal town with a great caravan park on the water (excellent facilities). Fluer’s Place a well renowned dining spot among south island residents and out of ‘towners’ judging by the writing on the walls was suggested to us. Being closed Monday and Tuesday we couldn’t eat the dinner menu as we arrived on a Tuesday for a one night stop over. Instead, we ducked in for breakky. The fit out, cutlery, glassware, writing on the walls from guests and location of this place were very trendy. The food was outstanding which made the experience enjoyable and well worth a look for anyone else travelling through.
There was one non Kiwi song that got a good run. Most wouldn’t know Lindsay Buckingham, but everyone knows The National Lampoons Holiday song. Not a road trip without something fucking up with the vehicle right? Theres never a good time to get a flat tyre, but it could have been worse if we had to fly out later that night. 2 hours after calling road side assistance we were on our way again. We were still 4 hours from where the RV needed to be dropped off which had me a little worried about how I was going to get back in time. In the end, someone stayed back and waited for me to get to Christchurch.
Our final night was spent in Christchurch. We ended up staying in a weird Air BnB type setup owned by this little old Asian lady who looked like she owned a rub and tug. I was pretty tired after driving 1800kms on the trip and when she was telling me the prices of transfers to and from the airport with the line of “I’ll have to suck you dry while you’re here” I couldn’t help but take that the complete wrong way. I knew she didn’t mean it like that, but my brain was so fried I just couldn’t process it any other way. I had picked up a cough on the trip and she was also telling me how to rid myself of it. While explaining her remedy she said “damn I haven’t got anything for you to suck on”, at this point I really didn’t know what was happening so I laughed awkwardly. She acknowledged the interesting choice of words by saying “I shouldn’t talk like that it gets us into trouble”, weird. We went into town for dinner later that night with a friend of mine who now lives in Christchurch. Haven’t seen him for a few years, was good to share some stories, eat and drink. He did put Bec and I onto Hendricks Gin with cucumber, fuck, what a game changer.