Monday, 22 June 2009

No photos, but good stories


So I'm in an Internet cafe in Christchurch and didn't expect to be here so don't have my photos, which is a bit of a pain, but hey ho. I'll put them on sometime soon.

New Zealand (NZ from now on!!) so far has been great. Since I last blogged I have done loads of cool things which I've been dying to blog about so here goes.

On day one with the camper van (which has been named Candy Cane because it's a kind of truck name and Kelly strangely thinks she's a truck driver when she's in the van!!), we headed for Rotorua which is this town with loads of thermal activity (which means it smell of egg!). We found a campsite and parked up and went for a wander in town. First of all we went Zorbing, which is where you are put in a big plastic ball and thrown down a hill, it was great fun, although I did suffer from a bit of motion sickness for the next couple of hours - just a sore head really so not too bad. I then dragged Kelly round a Kiwi encounter animal park where we saw Kiwi birds - they are really really weird!!

After all that excitement, we went into town and found the best curry house I have been to in ages and took our seats. Kelly ordered a Mango Chicken curry and I couldn't decide between a Chicken Bhuna and a Lamb Rogan Josh. Luckily the curry gods were smiling on me that day as the waiter said they had a special on where if you ordered two curries you got a third free, so I got two curries!! Surely this makes it one of the best curry houses of all time! We left there stuffed and with a doggy bag and headed to the camp site where we sat in the hot naturally heated thermal pools which was great. Unfortunately though, we had underestimated how cold NZ actually is! I thought it would be fine to sleep in a camper van with no top on in a sleeping bag. For those of you back home, just imagine going to sleep in your car in mid-winter, it really was amazingly cold. So grumpy, cold and tired we headed for onwards.

We drove down past Lake Taupo and down the Desert Road to a little beach resort where we manned-up and booked another camp site. This time though we were prepared!! We both have thermal trousers and tops, we bought insulation for the van and the woman at the campsite gave us two huge blankets. That night was fine actually, Kelly even got too hot!!

The next day we headed to Wellington as that was where we were getting the ferry from to the south island. We splashed out a bit and got a nice hotel to stay in and were just going to have a quiet night, but then I saw signs saying that the All Blacks were playing France at the Westpac stadium. I asked the woman at reception where the stadium was and she said it was only a 5 minute walk, so we wandered over to have a look. On the way we said we wouldn't pay more than $50 for tickets each, and when we arrived the cheap tickets were sold out and the cheapest left was $82! We decided not to go, but then this French guy all decked out in flags and face paint asked if we were looking for tickets. He said he already had some but had won a couple the day before by catching a rugby ball or something. His tickets were face value of $110 each, and he wanted $80 for them. I managed to get him down to $65 though with a bit of tight Scottish haggling!! :-) We went and got some hot dogs and beer/wine and headed into the stadium. It was a good atmosphere, although with the rain and wind it felt just like Scotland! I think the best part though was the French releasing a Red/White/Blue Cockerel onto the park just before kick off, and the security guard taking about 5 minutes to catch it as it ran all over the pitch. Every time it evaded capture the crowd let out a huge roar and the security guard got more and more angry. Then with five minutes until the end of the game, a slim, drunk girl ran onto the middle of the pitch and started waving at everyone. As she turned round to wave to her adoring and applauding public, the security guard took his cockerel frustrations out by literally crash tackling her to the ground!! It was brutal, and there was a huge 'booo' from the crowd to let him know it was a bit extreme. So to summarise, the two birds on the pitch gave everyone more entertainment that then 30 guys!! Glad we went though, it was good fun.

We then headed for the ferry next morning, with Kelly being a old grump because I had to get her out of bed at 6am!! We arrived in Picton and drove down to Kaikoura which is famous for Whale and Dolphin watching. Unfortunately it was cancelled though as they weather was pretty bad for taking boats out, think 'The Perfect Storm / Titanic'. We had a good night though having fish and chips (pronounced fush and chups here) at the beach and then heading home to a warm room to play monopoly. Kelly still owes me $28m and is refusing to pay up!!

Today we've been to Hanmer Springs which is a lovely little town with hot thermal pools. We spent a couple of hours just lying around in 40 degree naturally heated water and relaxing before driving onto Christchurch, which is where we are now. Strangely we booked into accommodation and when we pulled up I recognised it as it was the place I stayed at last time I was here when I was traveling with the two Danish guys.

So that's you pretty much up to date with our goings on. Apologies for the lack of pictures, I know the blog is a bit more lively when it's not just me wittering on and you can laugh at the pictures.

So onto Dunedin tomorrow, then Queenstown, Milford Sounds and Wanaka. I'm looking forward to Queenstown as I remember some good nights out from last time I was here and I've got a friend who's living there at the moment.

I will put another blog on in a couple of days and hopefully remember my camera next time!

Until then, take care everyone.


P.S. Wait until you see Kelly's photos, she's become obsessed by taking photos of Sheep from the moving car! She also finds it funny to beep the car horn and make them all scared and run away every time we pass them! Girls!!