After a groggy start to the day we headed off on the peninsula to see the Penguins and Albatross. The peninsula was blustery but stunning. We arrived at the albatross sanctuary where we were told it was free and had several signs around saying free, until we entered and it said there was a charge to see the birds. Apparently the exhibition was free but viewing the birds was expensive, which would have been ok if the exhibition hadn't been less popular than a pig farmer in Palestine. The penguins were never promised for free but I don't see how the government allows these organisations to charge you to see nature as they are wild birds and do not belong to them. We got supplies and lunch and shot on up the coast. Stones claimed that I keep vomming however that has only happened twice in New Zealand, both in Queenstown. While Stoney secretly voms and covers it up with strangers hats. We went off road to find fuel and found a quaint little seaside village that would not have been out of place on Marthas Vineyard. We also found a place called shag point and saw some seals but still no penguins. We quickly viewed the disappointing moaraki boulders and headed on to Omaru, the birthplace of All Blacks captain Richie Mccaw. We were alerted to another penguin colony and suprise suprise they were charging again, I mean when did nature become a tax? We cracked on to the Banks peninsula and after being turned away from the first place we went through Akoroa and up to the Onuka farmstay which turned out to be an awesome hostel. Penny made a curry for dinner and then we watched tv in our caravan.
When we got up I cooked eggs for breakfast and we booked stargazers (tiny huts with glass roofs) for the night. We went to Akoroa for supplies before hitting the beach with some beers. Stoney decided to bury a beer to keep it warm then practically excavated the whole beach to find it again as he refused to mark where it was buried. Pen and I went skinny dipping and then we all went back to the hostel to set up for the next night. I unfortunately found out we had been done for speeding whilst driving on the North Island and therefore have to pay out a fee to the sodding NZ police. I drank away my disdain and helped make dinner with Penny as the Sous Chef. He made a wonderful fajitas mix, a personal favourite and we spent the rest of the evening smoking cigars, drinking and watching tv before retiring to our quarters to stargaze.
I woke with the sun and decided to go and scare Penny by looking through the glass roof as he woke....he shit himself, it was hilarious. I found out the unfortunate news that Gary Speed had hung himself and was stunned. We rushed back and managed to get the car back to the rental place just on time. We stored the bags and took the bus into town to see the damage caused by the recent earthquake. Although it wasn't totalled the city centre was a mess. We lightened the mood with a stroll through the botanical gardens and had lunch in the hot sun before chilling out in a nicely air conditioned shopping centre. I went on a solo mission to view the AMI Stadium where some world cup games were meant to be held and there was a huge crack through and I heard the quake tour the pitch in half. We got the bus back to the airport to begin our twelve hour wait to check in. We played hackysack shirtless on the green outside arrivals until we exhausted ourselves and went in search of where to try and get a bit of kip that night. We nursed cups of tea in a cafe so we could watch the football, including Cardiffs 1-0 win over Nottingham Forrest. We had overpriced airport food for dinner and then food a reasonable place to settle in. Minutes after arriving the bastards evicted us from departures saying that it shut at 9pm and wouldn't be open until 3.30am the folllowing morning, the guard advised us to seek refuge in international arrivals, so we did. Then they tried to herd about fifty people into a tiny corner on the dirty floor as international visitors would not see people sleeping. There were two issues with this:-
1 They put us in the International Arrivals when now one would have known we were in departures
2 They put the people who actually listened to them next to the only exit meaning that the visitors would have to see them sleeping on the floor anyway.
These fuckwits couldn't organise a chil molestation cover up with the pope, another case of management positions being given to by the book beurocrats instead of logical thinking. I was very tired and sassed the bint who was sent to try and move us on and we stayed put. I vented a few times then went on long walk to calm down. I then hit on the Vodafone promo girl and got swiftly knocked back.I settled in like about twenty others wherever the hell we wanted and got a little bit of sleep.
We woke at 3.45am for check in at 4am but after our tickets failed to print we were told that we would have to wait for the ticket office. I had asked very clearly the day before if we needed a visa and the answer in the group was a profound no, so I didn't chase it. $30 dollars each later and we have our premium visas and were allowed to check in, I swear I haven't seen organisation this bad since the Greek Governments Treasurer allowed his goldfish Terrance to do the countries budget......with an abacus. Anyway heading through departures we were wondering where the next tax would come in, an escalator tax, a breathing levy perhaps? No it was a tax on our time having to fill out an immigration card to leave the country, by this stage I was done with Christchurch and after three months New Zealand as well. I got on the plane and didn't look back.
Please don't let this final tale sour you on New Zealand, if you have good spending money come and visit and you won't be dissapointed! And to all my contacts and friends made.....and lost along the wa,y I couldn't have done it without you!