Published: August 19th 2012August 15th 2012
Up at 6am so that I could get an early start on the 7+ hour journey to Queenstown. Packed up and followed Anita on her way to work so could find the highway easier! As I left Christchurch the drizzle grey morning was broken by the sun and the weather looked good for the journey.
I am not sure if you know but Bee, my college wife (its a Durham thing), is a Kiwi and lived in Ashburton about an hour south of Chch. So as I am a great husband I said I would pay a visit to her house and take a picture of it for her. However I did not prepare properly so had no idea how to get to it. I did have the address so when I arrived at the centre of Ashburton I wondered around trying to find someone to help! I luckily stumbled across an estate agents and the lady inside was a great help and even printed me a map of how to get there, Kiwi's are very helpful! I found it easier enough and took some piccys for my darling wife.
As I set off down the east coast highway
the skies were getting clearer and you could see the mountains on the along my right hand side. The mountains are amazing and the snow got me rather excited for the possibility of skiing the next day!
I reached Geraldine and turned inland to pick up a new highway but somehow I was distracted and ended up back on highway 1! I sort help from a small service station, who again were very helpful and gave me a map, and then I was back on course.
Around this time the radio was playing the new Taylor Swift song which reminded me of Jess and all the guys and girls from China. They then had a rather mean conversation about Tay-Tay's looks, one saying that she was squinty eyed....sorry Jess!
Just outside Fairlie I was informed that I had arrived into Mackenzie Country, an area I remembered vividly from my trip in December 2005 for the beautiful flowers along the mountain roads. Though the flowers were hiberating for winter the views of the mountains were amazing. I stopped off here for a hot chocolate and a savoury scone at the Farm Barn Cafe which was delighful! Whilst here
I phoned the Pinewood Lodge hostel in Queenstown to book a bed for the night and some ski hire, I was now ready to arrive.
At around 11am I headed off again and took highway 8 directly into the mountains towards Lake Tekapo. As I drove up through the mountains there was snow on the ground around me and the view in all directions was of snow capped peaks! When I finally came out of the mountains down towards Lake Tekapo the view was a picture with Mount Cook looming in the centre above the lake. It was exactly like the scene in The Simpsons Movie when they arrive in Alaska!
I stopped off at the Church of the Good Sheperd and took some pictures of the lake with the mountains in the distance. I tried to take some "selfies" of myself but failed massively so was lucky when a nice couple from Oz walked down to the waters edge and I was able to get them to take a picture with the whole of me in!
After a while the countryside changed again to a much more barren landscape between mountains with lots of lakes. The
roads got very windey around here so I took my time and at around 1pm I arrived at Omarama and grabbed lunch at The Wrinkly Rams. Omarama was what i imagine a town in the middle of USA would look like as it was in the middle of nowhere but quaint enough. At the Rams there was several middle-aged woman with their kids running around discussing Fifty Shades of Grey! I can't the worldwide reach of that book!
I arrived in Queenstown at around 3pm, 7.5 hours after leaving (not bad seeing how much I stopped). I met Carla who worked in reception and she told me where to get my ski stuff. When I said that Ron was staying there she immediately knew who him and David James Alexander (Benny to his friends) were very well! I moved into my room, which was a 4 bed dorm with only me staying in it, and then went into town to get all my ski stuff.
I got back and went up to Ron and Benny's block where them and some other long term guests were staying. I met Luke, Aussie Tommo, injured Tom and Ben, Ron's deadbeat roommate
who was in big trouble for not paying any rent, then again what do you expect from someone from Auckland!
Ron, Benny, Tommo and I went to the supermarket to grab some food to make burritos for dinner and Tommo and I split a case of Speights for later! When we got back to the hostel Benny and Ron went to book a bungee jump, with Benny trying to get out of it by being really indecisive and saying he was broke...
Tommo and I cooked dinner and had eaten ours by the time the others got back and I then got to meet Matt, another flatmate. We then spent ages trying to find some poker chips so we could have a poker night. In the end we decided to use pasta, to be more accurate Ali's (who was at work) pasta! So the game of Pastoker was started, with a $5 buy in!
I went big on one of the first hands but got beaten by Matt. I managed to pull it back with a straight and a two pair, with Aces in the pocket! However after some more beers it went downhill and I lost
everything to a ridiculous hand! I followed the lead of Ron and Benny, who had bought back in, but that didnt last very long and in the end settled to being the dealer. In the end it came down to Matt and Tommo, with Matt eventually winning.
We had a few more beers and ate the rest of the burritos before I went to bed.