Tuesday, 29 November 2011

New Zealand: The Beautiful South

We arrived into Christchurch and collected our car then picked up some camping supplies and drove down the beautiful snow-capped mountain range to stunning Lake Tekapo. The idea was for some budget camping, unfortunately this camp had other ideas and was similar price to a hostel just to camp, but after tent and cooking supplies etc we were quite down. On the plus side the facilities were the best I have ever had camping with full spa, kitchen, tv lounge, laundry room etc turns out it’s a ski lodge in the winter. Stoney got his bag off the carousel first and therefore was captain, and dealt out the drinks fines like a short guy with a god complex, over the top and unnecessary. We had dinner and drinks and then played some cards on make shift table and chairs made from chopped wood. We went for a icey cold walk to the pub and somehow managed to commandeer a fork lift. We watched some tv in the car and then had one of the coldest nights sleep I have ever had.

I woke at 6am, very cold and went for a walk with Penny where I saw him perform the most dangerous drunken no sleep shave in the history of man, I left him to it and went for a walk and took some pics of the sun coming up over the mountains before sleeping in the car for another 3 hours and then made breakfast. I spent about twenty minutes feeding the ducks that took the food straight from my hand…it was so fun. We went to see a Salmon Farm but the tour was closed and was quite disappointing. We went and saw Mount Cook, the tallest mountain in New Zealand, and for some reason I had a picture in my pants with Kevin the shark in front of it. Stoney drove and had a high success rate of hitting birds, but all in all did a good job. We stopped in Cromwell to get Wine Tour info but decided to head straight down to Queenstown, as Penny was useless and slept the whole time contributing nothing I decided to swerve so he banged his head against the window, several times. When we arrived the vibe was immediately that of energy, youthfulness and fun. We checked into Base hostel. After freshening up we hit world bar to check it out where we discussed activities to do here. Unfortunately due to money constraints I realised I couldn’t afford to Jet Boat, something I really wanted to do, but gives me a great excuse to return. We played drinking games in Altitude bar, had teapot cocktails with hens at World Bar, then returned to Altitude where Penny met his Peruvian boyfriend and I chatted to a cute Canadian rugby trick to my horror when she started telling me her problems. Stoney kept disappearing for us to find out later that he was at the casino. I got drunk and went to bed, although stoney said we sat in the corridor for a while eating crisps, I have no recollection of this.

Next I woke and Stoney and I went for breakfast but Stones wanted to go via the casino, where I started to raise a concern about his gambling on this trip. Anyway we corrected course and went to a Deli instead for a nice brekkie and coffee. We followed this with a walk along the banks of the lake, I have been flipping off Green Juicy Rental vans for pretty much no reason and there were plenty for me to flip off here. I showered, Stoney went up to the room and watched people sleep and we went to Fergberger for lunch, a Queenstown must. We returned to the casino for Stoneys fix watched him win comprehensively. We had signed up for Amazing Race, a scavenger hunt and as no one turned up we won through default, then we found out there were others and were stripped of our title and made to do it. We needed pictures and items from around town including jumping in the lake, conga line, busking, shadow stalking and getting beaten up by an old person. We came 2nd but they split the tab anyway. The winners were two cute Irish chicks and an incredibly short Hoosier living in Tampa. I have noted that I must leave Queenstown soon or I won’t at all, it’s a really good laugh here. For the first time ever I saw Stones on the pull and doing well, I was so proud so backed off and let him do his work. Then he disappeared….casino. I later found out that the team that won, one of the Irish chicks was shagging the organiser….it was about as corrupt as Sepp Blatter Bingo, but maybe slightly less racist. Got wasted and went to Sky City Casino where Stoney lost and I won, then went back to the hostel before Gamblor insisted he could recover his losses and we went to Lassetters Casino where we both lost, however I left up overall. Stoney by this stage was quite pissed off and sulked in bed with a big bag of crisps.

In the morning I was rudely awoken by the French tosspots in our room, who had slept all day the day before and we had tiptoed around with the light off, they were loud put the light on for no reason and kept shaking my bed……there is a place in hell for you arseholes. I had breakfast alone and then had a walk with the boys. Later the hostel put on a BBQ and goon for free outside on the lawn so we chilled and chucked around the rugby ball and failed miserably to hackysack but progressed and got slightly better. To describe how much we were drinking, the liquor store attendant knew me by name and gave me a discount card. We followed this with $2.50 handles at Brazz and then bounced around until we got Stoneys fix at the casino. We had a faux stag do for me for no other reason than it would be a laugh….and it was. I was ejected from every bar on the strip at least once but mostly twice. I died my moustache blue, wore fairy wings and drank excessively.

I bothered the reception staff at Base until one, Helen, agreed to go for a lunch time drink with me, Penny joined, CB! I managed to get a locals tab at ‘Surreal’ a quirky bar with a wicked roof terrace. We moved onto Brazz for happy hour again, where Stoney joined us. We went to the casino and I eventually met Helz at World bar for a night cap and then back to hers for a film.

Without having slept I met the boys at 7.45am for our trip to Milford Sound, what they have labelled the longest and most epic ‘walk of shame ever’. I dozed to Milford Sound and then boarded the cruise, where we had a fantastic buffet lunch with everything from Pork Belly to Mussels, by far the best meal I have had in a long time. It was raining heavily which makes Milford Sound stunning with the dramatic waterfalls and cloud formations around the mountains. I had no coat so got soaked but it was worth it, I dozed on the way back in between watching ‘Love, sex and other drugs’ which turned out to be not too bad, especially as Anne Hathaway decided to be clotheless for most of the film. We got in, I showered and went to bed.

I had a long but broken sleep and somehow hurt my back but got up prepared to break out of the Queenstown bubble.. The aim was Wanaka but on arrival it was washed out so we made a judgement call to hit up the Franz Josef Glacier. It was soaking all the way there which made more waterfalls but for unpleasant driving conditions. We stopped at a few waterfalls and on the east coast beaches to enjoy the view but powered on to the Glaciers. We checked into Chateau Franz a chilled hostel with hot tub and small room numbers and finally a place where we can drink inside. We went to Monsoon Bar for happy hour, Penny left early to make dinner, which we missed as we entered a killer tournament. Just before this we met a German couple who seemed quite nice until they asked me what my Uni specialty was and I replied the WW2 bombing of Britain….to which he joked by who? We let it go. He offered to by us drinks which we accepted but then they never materialised, weird Germans making promises they don't keep, I feel like Poland.  We cracked on with Killer pool, which turned out to be 30 people big and filled with arrogant Americans, flukey, but hot chicks and a host that played Cancun rules, if he likes you you can’t lose a life and get rewarded with Booze for no good reason…..he did not like me, and I very much did not like him. After my first with the threat of a thirty minute wait looming I retrieved Penny but on arrival back Michael ‘Sell you out’ Stonelake was saying I had left and I should be scrubbed out…..cheers mate! Needless to say I once again received no shots that were on and although I potted I was swiftly out of the game and pissed off with the host. I threw a hissy, and the bars sign into the bushes and went back to the hostel where I had dinner and watched Legion before bed. I was awake most of the night with Penny and his snoring duo in the room with backup swearing by a pissed off French Chick, so I retreated to the couch in the tv room and slept there.

In the morning I was extremely tired and cold and made breakfast while Penny played laptop and Stoneboner slept. Penny later told me that it was me snoring and the French chick was shouting at me, which is hilarious as I was awake listening to it all and it was Penny and the other guy in the room. We prepped for our Glacier walk and set off. It was a lot different to what I expected walking up a river bed to the glacier with stunning waterfalls everywhere but the Glacier itself was a little disappointing especially as we couldn’t get near it. We got lucky as the weather held off until we got back to the car. We watched Donny Brasco with lunch while Penny showered and shaved (including sculpting his eyebrows and shaving a chunk out of one. We then chilled in the hot tub and picked up beer before what promised to be an interesting evening. After watching the shocking remake of Children of the Corn we went out to Monsoon bar again. In the company of twenty o so nationalities I reflected on missing out on Australia, something that had been masked by my excitement for Asia. Although I will be gutted to not see my Aussie friends I feel I was only going for them, and now that I'm not I feel good that I am finally doing something for myself, something I rarely do as I'm trying to appease the masses. I felt tired after dinner so went to the hostel and watched Tron legacy which accompanied with the Daft Punk soundtrack was enjoyable watch. Then I retired to bed for another night of restless sleep, where the girl who had bitched at people for snoring had night terrors and kept waking up screaming.....and before you ask, I checked Stoney was not accosting her, he was also trying to sleep....in his own bed.

I woke early to the sound of workmen hammering and drilling in our bathroom next door which was ridiculous as we weren't even warned about it. We packed up and left, I drove excessively fast towards Queenstown on half a nights sleep, in heavy rain, not the wisest idea but ah well I made good time. We stopped by a river for lunch, big mistake, our car was populated by with flies. Penny tried to copy my excessive speed on the side of cliffs and with harsh corners. We stopped in Wanaka for pictures and Stoney droves us to Queenstown. On arrival we bumped into Martin the Base promo guy who invited us to a BBQ with free goon and free pool. We moved onto Brazz for happy hour and bumped into Helz and Johnny from Base reception. Four pitchers later swimming we decided to go for Japanese food. On the way Stoney faced his demons and went and blacklisted himself from all New Zealand casinos, but he was waisted and it was quite serious and all he could do was laugh, I was so embarrassed especially as I'm now his sponsor. We met Pen and Helz for Sake Bombs and the most expensive two piece of Japanese food I have ever had ($40 a head split bill, ouch!). The staff from Base took me to Altitude bar and used their staff discounts to get me wasted on Jaeger bombs. Helen took me for a late walk of the botanical gardens and we had some hanky panky on a large boulder in the park. We went back to hers where she promptly fell asleep and I left. In our hostel room I had to evict Stoney from my bed and then failed to sleep due to Pennys snoring and even worse some arsehole kept clapping, whistling or hitting my bunk with a cup when he snored, it was like being in prison, he pissed me off big time and I sat up cracking my knuckles ready to hit him and he stopped. 

After barely sleeping I got up and saw what I thought was his stunning girlfriend get up and strip off to change, dropping down to just a thong, it was so hot! I was going to tell him to see if I could get a reaction, shame it wasn't but great views. When the prick woke up I eyeballed him, hoping he would say something, give me any little excuse to punch him but he didn't. I went for a walk to clear my head and returned to find out that Stoney went to the casino the night he was meant to be blacklisted, and was given his only warning, next time he will get a $5000 fine and spend a night in the cells. We had lunch at Turdburger (Fergburger) and we packed up ready to go, I picked up two new nicknames in Queenstown, Mr Sex and Shagpalace......I'm not sure why I just checked into events under those aliases.  Pen drove us to Dunedin and chilled out when we got in with the simpsons, futurama and family guy. I made dinner and the hot San Diegan in our room informed us that Elton John was playing Dunedin the next night so there was no accommodation, so we had a little dillema but she advised us of a Penguin place to stay at 30mins away....so we thought we would look into it in the morning. I started to feel rough and decided staying up too late wasn't the best idea, and as Penny was not staying in our room I might actually get some sleep. I didn't! I felt rough and combined with the ho We walked for 45mins to ascend the worlds steepest residential street and at first we were all sceptical but when we finally got to the top our scepticism dissipated. We had a pizza and beer lunch to celebrate our most pedestrian of achievements, which included my first actually pint in New Zealand, the rest are a smaller measure known as a handle. We walked through Otago uni campus but in their off season it wasn't as fun but grabbed several beers before prepping back in the hostel for the Speights brewery tour. We arrived early so I Celtic dashed to the nearest pub and sculled a drink before making it back for the tour. The boys dared me to lick items on the tour as we were told we couldn't touch and I obliged. At the end we had a beer 'tasting' session and on hearing the record was 18 beers I rushed to 16, got bloated and the shakes and asked the guide the record for inspiration to crack on, which he told me it was 35....shit! We went for a curry and read that it was BYO, so we picked up some beers only to be told on arrival that it was wine only. We wolfed down the blandest curry ever (apparently they don't do spice in New Zealand) and went back to the hostel for drinking games including drinking blackjack. We headed out to some dead bars, as Elton was hoarding the people of Dunedin and returned to the Octagon where it started to pick up and we got to listen to some live music and hit a club. Stoney lost on the second round of street fighter and spent the rest of the evening sulking. He was so distraught when I called it a night he demanded we leave him....so we did.

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!

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