Edit Blog Post
Published: August 30th 2010
NZ Tax Refunds Gang
Welcome to another edition of our travel blog, a special thanks to all who have been reading so far and a big thank you to all friends and family that have sent us messages and comments. It’s been great to hear from you all and finding out what’s going on back home.
So another month has passed us by, we have spent the last 4 weeks getting back into the daily grind of working in the Garden City of Christchurch. It has been weird getting back into a routine as opposed to our normal ‘what shall we do today?’ lifestyle.
We have both really enjoyed working in Christchurch and getting to meet some new people. At my work, Bella “Horatio” Esau and Claire “I can’t be bothered today” Jones have kindly taken me under their wings to show me the ropes with regards to tax refunds. Claire is also getting married in Malvern next July, so Wheeler I’ll try and get you an invite! Cerri has also made some good friends, mainly in the under 10 category as see teaches gymnastics to between 400 & 800 school kids a day!
Whilst we have been working during the week,
Thermal Pools, Hamner Springs
this has left our weekends free to explore Christchurch and the surrounding Canterbury area a bit more. Our first weekend, the British contingent of Fern Drive decided to hire a car for the day and go on a little road trip. I had left Cerri in charge of booking the car, so we caught the bus into town to pick it up. When we arrived we found out that the car we booked actually turned out to be a saloon version and a lot bigger than we’d excepted, so keeping the Gavin and Stacey theme going we called our new car for the day “Nessa the Nissan”! Our destination was a small village 75km out of Christchurch called Hanmer Springs. This small little village is home to a set of hot water thermal pools, surrounded by snow capped mountains. En-route we stopped off at the Marble Point winery, as the sign said “Free Samples”, Cerri and Kim tried a couple different wines before we got back on the road. We arrived in Hanmer Springs and found a parking space big enough to squeeze Nessa’s big behind in. We had a stroll round the village centre and decided to grab a
spot of lunch. We chose the Mumbles café as the Mumbles is a place in Wales! We weren’t disappointed as the portions where huge, happy days! After Lunch we thought we’d have a go at the A-MAZE-IN Crazy Golf course we spotted on the way into the Village centre. We picked this place out as it had two activities for the price of one, the second activity being an Inca themed maze. We did the maze first, which was actually really good fun as you had to collect clues along the way and run a water based gauntlet at the end; unfortunately our house Kim wasn’t quite quick enough and got a little bit wet along the way. After completing the maze and some of us not getting wet, we had a crazy golf competition between us. . . . I say competition but it was really wasn’t as Kim struggled to keep her golf ball on the course and even managed to hit Cerri on the leg with one shot! As we were finishing up our round of Crazy Golf, the rain started to come down so we decided it was time to go the Hot Thermal Pools to
The morning push start!
warm up. It seemed like everybody else had the same idea as us, as the pools were pretty busy. We all got changed into our swimming stuff only to find out that there weren’t enough lockers for us to put our stuff in. Being a bit paranoid, we didn’t want to just leave our stuff on the side as we had our camera and passports on us. We found a little spot to put our bags, where we could see them whilst we soaked up the warm water of the pools. We spent a good hour trying out different pools ranging in temperatures before deciding we’d had enough of the thousands of Japanese tourists who seemed to have taken over the place. By now it was evening, so we sheltered from the rain in the local Monteiths pub, where we had a couple of beers and watched the All Blacks vs Australia game which was actually taking place back down in Christchurch before heading back to the city.
During the week we went to a Mystery Screening at the cinema, where for $5 we got the cinema ticket, popcorn and a drink with the only snag being that we
Could have been Venice!
didn’t know what film it was going to be. I was hoping for a classic like Goodfella’s or Shawshank Redemption, where as the girls were hoping for Pretty Women. We had a bite to eat at Denny’s American Diner before making our way over to the cinema. A couple of hours later we wished that they had of kept the film a mystery and not shown it, as watching the movie “Scott Pilgrim vs The World” is 2 hours of our lives we’ll never get back!!!
During the week Cerri managed to get herself on TV for the second time since we’ve been away as a children’s television programme “The Erin Simpson Show” were filming some gymnastics where she worked, with ex All Blacks player Isaac Ross. She had to teach him how to do some “rolly polies” whilst the camera was rolling!!! Also during the week I got my company car, and not just any company car as this one is actually older than I am! It’s a classic black 1974 mini, with NZ Tax Refunds sign written on the side and back window. It only has a driver side wing mirror and with the NZ Tax Refunds
Silver Ferns vs. Jamaica
logo covering the back window I’ve been driving blind the majority of the time! It also came complete with the usual peg to hold the choke out for those cold winter morning starts! Maintaining our Gavin and Stacey comedy car names, were called our new car “Michael the Mini”!
On the Friday night we managed to get hold of tickets to watch a rugby match between Canterbury vs North Harbour, thanks to Matt at my work. The game was played at the AMI Stadium which had held the clash between the All Blacks and Australia the previous week, although there were a few less people in the crowd for this game! We knew we were in for a good game because as soon as we sat down the local supporters in the version of a Mexican mariachi band starting playing the Rocky Theme tune but unfortunately it turned out to be a sloppy match of rugby due to the wet weather, but Canterbury beat North Harbour 44 - 22. We also got to see Cerri’s new friend Isaac Ross in action as he was playing for Canterbury.
On the Sunday we decided to go out for lunch, and
Attack of the Killer Eels!
stumbled upon a little place called “Sophie’s Café”. It’s quite a celebrity stop within Christchurch as its one of those place that has pictures of the owner with all the famous people that have eaten there, amongst them there was Richie McCaw the All Blacks captain and more impressively the 80’s legends Hot Chocolate!!! Once again we picked a place with massive portions and once again I have to say happy days! After lunch we decided to walk off the food we’d just eaten and explored some of the more quirky streets of Christchurch. We visited the City’s floral clock tower and strolled around the Popular Lanes, Sol Square and down New Regent Street which looks more like it should be in Spain.
The next week we continued our sporty theme by managing to get hold of some tickets to the Midweek International Netball match between the Silver Ferns and Jamaica at the CBS arena. I still find it hard to believe that Netball is actually more popular than football over here, as there were thousands of people at the game and TV cameras everywhere! We decided to support Jamaica due to Cerri’s Granddad “Grampy Vince” coming from the
Says it all!
Caribbean Island! It was meant to be a close game and it was for the first quarter until the Silver Ferns got into their stride and ended up smashing Jamaica by 58 - 35. Cerri thoroughly enjoyed the match as it was top of her “to do” list whilst being in New Zealand.
On the Saturday the British contingent of Fern Drive decided on another little day trip, this time more local and started the morning of with a nice relaxing punt through the botanical gardens. We had a coffee at the cafe amongst the old boat sheds, before sinking back into the velvet cushions of our boat as the Edwardian dressed punter gently glided us down the Avon River. The punt lasted about an hour or so and all three of us really enjoyed the experience. Back on land we all crammed into Michael the Mini and headed for our second destination of the day, the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. We thought we couldn’t leave New Zealand without seeing the national bird, the Kiwi bird. At the reserve not only did we see these shy and timid birds, but we also got to feed numerous different animals including otters,
pigs, horses, llamas, wallabies and more interestingly eels! I did also get attacked by a group of deers, as one of them made it through the fence and was then followed by 12 others! One even had a nibble on my jumper before we scared them off!
That Sunday saw Cerri and I add another sport to the list we’ve that seen so far in New Zealand, this time we had tickets to the World Cup Final.....Yes the FINA Women’s Water Polo World Cup Final! We arrived a bit early at the QE2 arena, which is just next door to where Cerri has been coaching gymnastics. As we’d arrived early we managed to catch the Bronze medal game between China and Russia. China smashed Russia to seal their third place in the competition. The Final was between USA and Australia. I was wearing a yellow and green t-shirt and before we knew it a load of Aussies decided to sit by us, just shows that we are meant to move to OZ! The final was a far more competitive game than the third vs. forth playoff, it seemed the teams where more intent on drowning their opponents than try
to score a goal! USA came away victorious winning by 6-3. After the excitement of the water polo we headed into the city centre for a bite to eat and managed to get a parking space right outside “Burger & Beer Inc.” Well with a name like that it would have been rude not to go in for a Burger and a Beer! It seems like we have a knack off picking good places to eat, as once again it was value for money as the burgers were immense!
During our final week I was treated to not one but two leaving do’s. On the Wednesday myself, Bella, Claire and Bella’s sister Tina all went out for a drink after work at the nearby Churchill’s Tavern. On the Thursday my bosses Cilla and Aaron very kindly took the work gang and Cerri for food and drinks at our favourite Irish bar “The Bog” in town. My final day at work involved me and Aaron taking Claire out for a driving lesson, after a dodgy start we survived and managed to escape without whiplash! I was genuinely sad to leave work but even more upset to find out I was
being replaced by a machine! It took Cerri the best part of three days to say good bye to the hundreds of little gymnasts and the Valley girl crew. A big thanks to Avril and the gang at Christchurch School of Gymnastics for the past two months for making Cerri feel welcome.
Our last weekend in Christchurch consisted of the two of us packing our bags whilst sitting on the backpacks to try and zip them up! We said our farewells to Fern Drive and Christchurch, and booked ourselves in a hotel by the airport, ready to get a good night’s sleep before the next part of our adventure begins...... Cook Islands here we come!!!!
We wish Sarah & Adrian and Andrew & Laura a huge congratulations for your weddings coming up in the next couple of weeks. We are so sorry we can’t be there to join in the celebrations on your special day.... Have a drink for us!
Ben & Cerri’s Tip of the Month - For any travellers who have worked in New Zealand in the past 5 years, go to www.nztaxrefunds.co.nz to see if you are due a refund....There we go Cilla, still working
Its says it all!
hard even though I’ve left!!!
Tot: 2.029s; Tpl: 0.022s; cc: 12; qc: 56; dbt: 0.0243s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb