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Published: July 29th 2010
The welsh supporters club!!
Hello Everyone and welcome to the final NZ caravan club edition.
We start this episode with us heading down to Dunedin, the home of NZ rugby. We decided to go to Dunedin to see if we could somehow get our way into the up coming All Blacks Vs Wales rugby test on the 19th June. We arrived in Dunedin by driving past the famous Carrisbrook stadium which was flashing a big sign saying “SOLD OUT” which we took as no chance of getting a ticket, especially at it would be the last ever international test game held at the ground.
After getting over the shock of the sell out we decided to head to one of our favourite stops, the info centre. Banj was driving BFS this day so he was circling trying to find a spot close to the city centre when he came across a big one and drove straight into the space which was on the side of a road outside some shops. Don’t worry Banj, I won’t mention you scrapping the van on the sign. So after analysing the scrape we headed to the info centre to find out what we could do whilst in
the town but when we got there it was closed so we then, unfortunately, had to go and have a Dominos pizza night (as it was a Tuesday) and then find a camp spot for the night.
Up bright and early the next day we headed straight into town to the info centre to book ourselves onto the Speight’s Brewery tour and the Cadbury’s factory tour, both of which we were all looking forward to. The Speight’s tour was in the afternoon so we grabbed some local cuisine at a café, I think we all opted for really local foods, I had a beef and gravy sandwich, Kate had a Wrap, Banj had a bowel of Wedges and Cerri opted for Pie and Chips! So after filling up we were all ready to drink some beer!!! When we arrived at the Speight’s brewery we were greeted by “John”, a slightly weathered looking Scottish man. He introduced himself as our tour guide and asked us to wait while the rest of the tour turned up, well we were a good 25 minutes early, keen as ever!! When the rest of the tour turned up, 10 of us in total, John
keep going Kate
started the tour, he took us along a section in the brewery that showed us how they made the barrels for storing the beer etc, then he took us to a lift and informed us all that if you are at all claustrophobic your about to have your personal space invaded as the ceilings are low and it’s dark and if you begin to feel faint let him know asap as he has had a number of people faint and it can hit you very quickly. So after that speech I was looking forward to getting into the lift which hadn’t seen any changes since the 1950’s, you know the type, they look like the one’s miners go down in. On entering the lift I was going to request if they had a stair option but didn’t’t want to look light a wuss. Once out at the top John took us through a number of different rooms which exhibited pictures of the “olden days” at Speight’s and he gave us a quick talk about the men who opened the brewery, one of which was from Devon. Now by this time we had all realised that John had done this job
ski jumpers night
for far too long, he didn’t clearly explained anything and tried to rush us through the whole process which was a shame. So, for the next hour or so we went through the whole beer making process and eventually ended up in a bar where we could all taste the different variety of beers that Speight’s currently produce. Once we entered the bar John the guide seemed to come alive, he was interesting, engaging and certainly wasn’t shy about trying the beers, now having a stab in the dark here I would guess he loved a drink, particularly beer. John’s enthusiasm for the drink was infectious and before long all of us began to sink a few cold ones. They had numerous beers to try and you could drink as much as we liked within the time frame of a few adverts showing on the wall. As a matter of non interest, John was in fact the composer of the well known (in NZ) song Southern man, the Southern Man song has been used for many of the Speight’s beer adverts over the last 30 years. We all tried the beers, found our favourites and said farewell to John the
Banj as the statue of liberty
After the Speight’s Brewery tour we headed over to the Carrisbrook stadium to enquire if they knew of any spare tickets for the match, well luck have it we were informed that they had just released another 50 tickets to a ticket company in the local area so without any hesitation Banj jumped on the phone and called them. After a few seconds we had secured 4 tickets to see the All Blacks V Wales at Carrisbrook stadium which will be the last ever test game played there. The atmosphere in Sue was electric, even the English thoroughbreds were pleased to be going and started a celebratory dance!!
That evening we slept in Sue outside the Cadburys Factory as we didn’t want to miss a minute in the factory the next day or any time in bed!! So up early we headed to the first tour of the day which was taken by Debbie of Dunedin, she was certainly a chocolate fan and didn’t lack any enthusiasm like the Southern man John. We started the tour by being given a chocolate bar whilst watching a Health and Safety video, I of course polished off the bar
Bridget and me!!
immediately but the other 3 managed to keep theirs “for later”. We toured the factory following Debbie going through the different areas of production being given different samples throughout the tour. At one point we were ask to guess how many chocolate covered ball were in a jar, the whole group of about 20 had a think and we were then all asked one by one to reveal our answers. Kate came the closest and was rewarded with a chocolate, I think she was only a few out and there were 725 in the jar. A particular highlight of the tour was the dropping of about 1 ton of melted chocolate out of a large barrel attached to the ceiling within a large silo, Kate did ask if she could stand under it but unfortunately they declined her request. The smell was amazing as the chocolate poured rapidly past us for a couple of minutes! At the end of the tour we thanked Debbie and headed on out with our pockets full to the brim with chocolate bars.
After the Cadburys factory we decided to hit town in order to purchase some comedy ski wear for the upcoming skiing
in Queenstown. We were looking for some charity shops when a lady approached us and asked if we wanted to come to her charity shop after hours to rummage in the rear for clothes , now either she knew we wanted some comedy ski wear or we all looked like we needed a good wash and a change of clothes, hopefully it wasn’t the later but I sadly suspect it was . So before the shop closed for our after hours rummage we went to the Dunedin sports museum which showed us all about New Zealand sporting triumphs from years gone by. It was quite a good little museum and the man behind the desk was super helpful.
After the museum we headed over to the charity shop which as a matter of non interest was called the “Shop on Carroll”.! We got into the back of the shop and were left to our own devices to rummage through the mountains of clothes. To be fair we got into the spirit of the shop and had a bit of a movie montage session and tried on some interesting outfits, in fact we ended up leaving with, 2 comedy ski
jumpers, a pair of sallopetes and a shell suit top . We also ended up going to their sister shop and getting a almost new Rip Curl Ski Jacket for Kate for £2.50.
So after the charity shop crawl we headed to the steepest residential street in the world called Baldwin Street and oh my god you would get fit walking up that hill every day! It was seriously steep and hard work to walk up, we were all out of breath by the top and were pleased to see a bench and drinking fountain there! We felt good knowing we had walked it and Sue was glad we left her at the bottom! After this is was fancy dress shopping time! As we were going to the big game - we were going to make sure we got noticed and got on TV. So after a brainstorming activity we decided on Daffodil heads and red t-shirts each with a letter to spell WALES. Only one problem we were short by one person…well we could find a new friend and persuade them to wear fancy dress and buy a ticket and come with us…or not…so we decided on buying
a teddy and dressing him up as our fifth member! So we purchased all the goods and then had an activity night, cutting, sticking, gluing in BFS to prepare for the next day’s big game and TVpremier!
The big day arrived, we painted our faces bright yellow, donned the outfits, got Smithy the teddy prepped on his role and headed into town in a taxi. We felt like celebrities getting out of the taxi as I think fancy dress may be a little unusually in NZ as everyone seemed pretty amazed by what we were wearing! Brilliant we thought if the stadium was anything like the town with no-one else in fancy dress we would definitely make TV!! People were coming up to us and having their photos taken with us, and shouting good luck to Wales. It was an amazing atmosphere and we all loved it, well Kate was definitely enjoying the attention! We had a few beers in town and then walked to the stadium stopping at a few more pubs en-route, oh and a stall selling hot-dog of course! We were early (as we like to be) to the stadium so got brilliant position at the
front, close to the centre line. Banj and I popped toi the loo and by the time we came back the girls had been interviewed by someone official who was on the pitch the whole night and Cerri had got chatting with the TV director who asked where we would be standing to make sure he got his crew to find us to film us! He said we would definitely be on TV so spirits were at an all time high!! The real cherry on the cake came just before the game started and a lady came over to us, explained she was the presenter for Sky Sports and asked if one of us could speak live on TV! It was a definite yes, it was suggested that one of the boys would be best to speak, so we found the most mature way to decide who would be the chosen one, Banj or me. So rock, paper scisors it was I was not sure what the TV lady was now thinking, but it was too late, Banj won and was practicing what he was going to say live on TV on behalf of all Welsh Rugby fans! Banj being
Half a dark from the arms park!!
an English football fan turned to everyone else for advice on what to say, he tried out a Welsh accent but Cerri soon told him he was not allowed to use that! I When the lady returned a few minutes later with a camera crew in toe, Banj was ready for his TV debut. So the question was put to him, “Why are the Welsh so mad about rugby” Banj replied “its all about the pride, the passion and getting stuck in” with an arm action symbolising the “getting stuck in” part!! It was very funny and made the day and our desire to get on TV had been well and truly accomplished! We watched the game which poor Wales got thrashed in, although they did a brilliant job the first half and were all over the All Blacks, however an end score of 40-9 didn’t really show that.
The next day we were over the moon at the amazing efforts of our wonderful friend Tom Kenneth Orchard back at home, who had seen us on TV, Sky Plussed it, taken a photo of the screen and then already put us on face book!! Thanks Orchy you are truly
brilliant! It showed us in all our glory with Smithy the bear and our posters we made especially for my dad, AKA Uncle Bryn (with a twist of Gavin and Stacy for comedy!). We also got given a free paper as we starred in the centre pages of the Otago Daily Times, which is quite a big paper in the South Island.
So after that high we thought it was time to leave Dunedin and head on down to Queenstown. By dusk we arrived and got out of Sue to explore this new town. Queenstown was brilliant, absolutely perfect for tourists with lots of bars, restaurants and shops. We stayed in Queenestown for a week and every day was great.
Whilst in Queenstown we went up a gondola to see the beautiful view from above and breathtaking it was. Whilst up there we went on another Luge, unfortunately I lost to Banj in all 3 races, but you can’t win them all hey!! We also played indoor mini golf which was fun, and more fun than we thought and lasted ages! We saw an ice hockey match which was so much fun, there were sending offs, fights and
non-stop action on the ice too!
The main reason for us going to Queenstown was the skiing though and it was fab! I had skied before, but the other 3 had not ever skied, but Kate and Banj had snowboarded. . So we all opted to Ski, we chose to go to Coronet Peak, as there are three options, but this one seemed best for us, as apparently there was lots of snow already (we were there fairly early in the ski season), it’s quite big and only 30 minutes transfer by bus. So we all hired gear to wear and use, Kate was especially excited as her trousers were pink so she was going to be like Bridget Jones, but she hoped not so clumsy!
So we got all clobbered up, got on the bus and made it to Coronet Peak. The four of us had a quick practice together, then I headed off to put myself right back into it with the first run being a red. The others had a morning lesson, then we all met back up to discuss how it had gone at lunchtime. All the gang had a great morning. Kate decided
in the afternoon she didn’t want to spend it just on the small slopes again, so she would come up with me on the larger runs. Banj and Cerri decided it was a good idea to get the second lesson for them as it was their first experience and so wanted to learn the proper way.
So Kate and I headed off together up the gondola and then down the green run and I have to say after only a few runs Kate was looking good.. I told her not to get too confident too early as I didn’t want her to hurt herself, but a little later in the day Kate felt a little too confident and was going down a run as if she was on Ski Sunday Slalom, she tried to take the “Slow” sign a little too closely and ended up wrapping one leg around each side and taking down the wooden sign!! Eat your heart out Bridget!!! We had a great couple of days on the slopes together with Kate improving and coming down blue runs with me. Ben and Cerri really got good and Banj even came over to have a go on
John soon lit up once in the bar.
the green run and did really well. Cerri did great and also showed off how to go down whilst keeping your bum on the ground, very funny!!
On the second day a young lad, who we met on our first day was keen to come on the bigger slopes, so Kate and I, well mainly Kate took him under her wing. This was OK on the green runs, but when the two of us said we were going on a blue, he wanted to come. Now I was worried about this as I knew how difficult it was and he was a real beginner and only 15 yrs old. He was insistent he wanted to come though, so I couldn’t ban him from coming with us. So up we went on a different gondola, taking us even higher up the mountain slopes. I had done this run before, so Kate asked me to lead and show them the way. Before we knew it Jake had fallen, so the two of us waited further down the slope for him to catch up. I then said I would go down and check the better route as it was clear Jake was
going to struggle and Kate was patient and kept going then stopping and waiting for Jake as he fell so many times and each time he would struggle to get his skis back on. It was really cold waiting for him and once I went around a bend I could no longer see Kate or Jake. I waited and waited, in the end I skied down, thinking maybe they had taken another route. After about 20mins Kate appeared, and informed Banj, myself and by this time we had been joined by Jake’s grand-father who he was on holiday with, that the poor lad fell so many times he decided to walk down! Kate had waited several times for him to catch her but eventually he was insistent she left him and he would come down alone (with a battered ego). Kate felt terrible for leaving him up there, but she could see he was embarrassed that she saw how badly he was getting on with that slope, so tried to lessen the humiliation of the poor guy. We were all relieved when he eventually appeared just in time to catch the last bus, no-one more pleased than Kate and the
Kate at mini golf
So celebrations were to be had with the end of our ski experience, so we had a fab dinner out at Vinnies where the pizza’s are huge and toppings delicious! We then headed to the World Bar where you can drink cocktails from teapots which was a new experience and lots of fun. So after a brilliant week in the snow we headed to Christchurch our final destination in New Zealand.
We stayed at a campsite for our last two nights, and drove into the city to check it out on our first morning waking up there. We had a great lunch and then took an old tram around the city which highlighted most of the sights for us. We visited Brighton which is just outside the city and it has a pier and a beach like the UK! I think the likenesses end there though! As this was our last NZ destination, it was also the place to return our beloved Big Fat Sue and say goodbye to our wonderful friends Banj and Cerri.
We returned the motor home to its resting place and then said goodbye to Banj and Cerri, not really knowing when we
will see them again, as they are still waiting for their Australian visa to go through to move there permanently.
It has been a wonderful 6 weeks in New Zealand, so as a quick re-cap here are a few of our favourite memories here;
Waitomo Caves - Black water tubing
Climbing Franz Josef glacier
Hot water beach
Sunset at Cape Regina
All Black’s V’s Wales Rugby
Ice hockey game
Hot pools in Franz Joseph
Te Pap Museum
-5 Ice Bar
Mountain of nachos
All Food in general of course.
So off to Fiji we go, we hear via the grapevine of family there is Typhoid on the main land so fingers crossed we make it off the island in the same state we land!
Love to you all
Matt and Kate
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