It's Chocolate Time!
Week five in New Zealand started with a tour of the Cadbury's Dunedin Chocolate Factory. We turned up at the factory and luckily managed to avoid the coach load of japanese tourists complete with oversized camera lenses and tripods who went in just before us! Our tour guide for the day was the lovely Debbie or ''Debbie does Dunedin'' as we named her! We had to wear lovely hair nets and also beard guards! Debbie took us round the factory for a couple of hours, letting us taste numerous different bars that we don't get back in the UK and watched 4 tonnes of melted chocolate get dropped through a silo turning it into a giant chocolate fountain just like off Charlie and the chocolate factory. After the tour everybody stocked up on chocolate from the shop, apart from me as i'm more of a crisp kinda guy! We left the factory and headed to Dunedin's famous landmark the Train Station, which looked like it would be more at home in Edinburgh than New Zealand. We popped into the Train Station for a cuppa to warm up before heading up stairs where New Zealand's sporting hall of fame is housed. Here
The view from the top of the worlds steepest residential street
we learnt all about the great kiwi sports stars, mostly rugby ones! Did you know Wales actually beat NZ in the first ever recorded game in history here. The helpful guy working in the hall of fame told us to try the staduim for rugby tickets, as we were still hopeful of going to the All Blacks vs Wales game. Next we strolled into the city centre, where we randomly got acousted by two strange ladies Chrissy and Meegan. Now these ladies ran an 'opp shop' down on Carroll and bizarrely invited us to shop there after hours..... Me and Matt where in the Market for some comedy ski wear but were a bit aprehensive about the possibility of an after hours rumage in a charity shop slash swingers party!!! So after much deliberation we thought why the hell not and arrived at 'Shop on Carroll', which happened to be a bit of a gold mine for retro clothes and luckily Chrissy and Meegan weren't serial killers! Cerri managed to pick up some ski pants, whilst me & Matt bought some classic winter warmers in the form of woolen jumpers! Kate went empty handed, but the strange ladies said they
had a brand new ski coat coming in tomorrow that would fit her. We left 'Shop on Carroll', got back into BIG FAT SUE and drove down to the Carisbrook Staduim. Once we'd arrived the lady behind the counter said she thought a guy who ran a travel company might have some spare tickets and helpfully gave us his telephone number. A quick phone call later, a ten minute drive and 75 bucks each and we all had a ticket to the final ever rubgy international to be held at the Carisbrook Stadium - Happy days!
The Next day we decided to opt for a bit of culture and ventured just outside of the city to visit New Zealand's one and only castle, Lanarch Castle. I say castle but it was more of a Gothic style Mansion, the gardens however were more impressive offering great views of the sea below. The Castle itself was built in1871 by William Lanarch who apparently was a dodgy politician, is there any other kind! From the castle we drove back down to the city centre and headed from Baldwin Street, which according to the guiness book of records is the steepest residential street
Come on Wales!
in the world. It didn't look that steep from a distance but after walking up it, we were all happy to see a conviently placed bench at the top to rest on!!! After rolling back down the hill we headed to a little suburb of Dunedin called Mosgiel, where the crazy ladies from 'Shop on Carroll' had arranged for us to pick up Kate's Ski coat. It turned out to be the bargain of the trip so far, a brand new Rip Curl ski jacket for $5 which equals £2.50, unbelievable! As we had tickets for the next days rugby match, we decided that we'd go to the rugby in fancy dress to try and get on tv. As some of you might be aware, myself and Matt are some what coniseurs of homemade fancy dress and thrived at the opportunity to test our skills. With this we spend the rest of the day looking for red t-shirts and sourcing materials which we could use to make daffodil head pieces from! As there were only 4 of us we were unable to spell out WALES across the front of our t-shirts, so we recruited a fifth member for the caravan
Cerri's favourite Mr Daniel Carter!
club in the form of a Teddybear we named 'Smithy!' Along with the costumes, we made some comedy sign's to hold up with classic gavin and stacey sayings, such as 'whats occuring?' and 'we love Uncle Bryn!'
An early start the next morning as England's second game of the world cup was upon us. We luckily managed to find a pub that was open at 6.00am and showing the game, so headed straight to the bar for a..... coffee to keep us awake during the dreadful 0-0 draw with Algeria. Once again disappointed by Cappello's men, we got back into SUE for another couple of hours shut eye before adding the finishing touches to our costumes (works of art!). We then drove to a campsite, as we didn't want to leave BIG FAT SUE in town on a match day. After applying the yellow face paint we got into a taxi and headed back into town and soak up some of the pre match atmosphere. En route we tried to catch some of the nude rugby match between Kiwi and Welsh supporters, but it had finished early due to the cold weather! Once we were in town we headed
Posing in our ski rental gear!
straight for the Octagon, where they had erected some beer tents. As we stepped out of the taxi wearing the full daffodil outfits, we were stopped by numerous people asking to take our photo's, we were like local celebrities! We had a couple of beers in the octagon, before starting on a little pub crawl towards the Stadium. Whilst we walked to our second pub, we were stopped by the S4C (welsh channel 4) camera man and presenter who filmed us for their coverage of the game. One more pub and we'd arrived at the Carisbrook stadium, which we'd decided to get there quite early so we could try and get a good standing spot. As luck would have it, we were probably within the first 50 people to get in so we were easily able to grab a front row standing position. After buying a couple more beers the game was nearly upon us, when a New Zealand Sky Sports TV presenter came over to speak to us. She said that she was due a live TV link in 10 minutes and could she interview one of us welsh fans. It came down to me and Matt to be
Oggy, Oggy, Oggy . . .
interviewed, which could only be decided by a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. I went Rock and Matt went..... Scissors! Ten minutes later and the presenter was back, this time live on television she asked me "why does rugby mean so much to the welsh?", I came back at her saying "well, rugby symbolises Wales. It's about pride, it's about passion, it's about getting stuck in!" BANG, that was my 5 seconds of fame over and done!!! Little did we realise that we would be spotted on TV in the crowd back home, saying that you couldn't miss us in our bright yellow flower daffodil heads! Wales did end up losing the game 42 - 9 but it didn't dampen our spirits as the crowd were loving the mexican waves, although they did get a bit fiesty attempting to hit the stewards with their plastic beers bottles, plus somebody attempted to streak aswell!!!
Due to the previous days excitement we ended up sleeping through our alarm clock and woke up with only 15 minutes to spare before we had to leave the campsite. We all had a slight yellow tinge to our faces as we hadn't been able to
Woolen Winter Warmers!
get all the face paint off! After a rushed packing up at the campsite we left Dunedin and got on the road to Queenstown. Although it was only a 280 km drive, it took us a good 6 hours to get there due to the icy road conditions. We stopped at a small hill billy town called Roxburgh for a toilet break and a spot of lunch. We were booked into a campsite in Queenstown for the following day, so once we'd arrived we decided to find out where the campsite was. Next we popped into the Global Gossip internet cafe to see if there were any pics of us on the internet from the previous nights rugby match, we managed to find 2 different websites which showed us in full daffodil kit, plus lots of friends and family back home spotted us on Sky Sports and tagged us in pic's! That night we free camped outside a Motel, thinking we would look like we were staying there for the night....
We awoke aburptly the next morning to:
"Knock, Knock . . ." (now I say knock it sounded like we had woken up to a tornado hitting the
"Counciller Colin, you have 5 minutes to move your campervan or you will incurr a fine!"
So we quickly jumped out of bed and still in our PJ's drove into the centre of Queenstown! We got dressed and walked down to the i-centre to get some information about skiing in the area. Then we decided to shop around to look for the best deal on ski rental gear, as Cerri and myself had never skiied before we decided to go for a package which gave us rental gear plus a beginners skiing lesson, although Kate had skiied before she also opted for this to give herself a refresher. With the ski gear all sorted we got back into BIG FAT SUE and drove the short distance to the campsite that we would call home for the next few days. A sandwich and a bowl of soup later, we strolled back into the town centre stopping at the Queenstown Gondola & Luge (another one i know!). The gondola took us to the top of the hill shadowing the town, where we top some photo's of the cracking views and Me & Matt went to do a few races
On the broken down bus!
down the luge track. This time we weren't dress in Mario and Luigi colours, but opted for the red and green helmets anyway! After i'd won all 3 races against Luigi, we headed down the hill and back in town where we found a nice bar complete with log fire down on the wharf. A couple of beers and glasses of wine later SUE was beckoning, so off to bed we went.
The next morning was Ski Day for the caravan club. Kate cooked up some porridge for breakfast to help with our stamina for the days activities. We picked up our rental ski gear in town and hopped on the bus to Coronet Peak. The bus journey took about 30 minutes and once we'd arrived we headed straight out onto the snow to try and get some practice in before our ski lessons. As Kate had skiied before she gave us some pointers, whilst Matt got straight on the ski lift to take on some blue ski runs. After Kate's tutorial we went for the real lesson and were in a group of beginners including 2 Brazilians (Team Brazil), Jake & George (Grandad & Grandson), a few Aussies
He'll be coming down the mountain when he comes!
and us. During the morning session we learnt the basics and we all seemed to be picking it up quite well apart from Team Brazil who seem to be unable to stop! Feeling a bit more confident, we decided after the morning lessons to take to the beginners slope to test out what we'd learnt. Cerri went off and started picking up speed quite quickly, she tried to slow herself down using the 'V' shaped plough we'd learnt earlier but to no avail. When this didn't work she resorted to using her poles but they just stuck in the ground and she lost them as she continued to carry on sliding, she then tried using her bum to slow down but it didn't slow her down quick enough (her bum musn't be a big enough) as she then continued to ploughed into the fence on the side of the slope!!! But fair play to Cerri, she picked her self back up and had another go, bruises an all. After lunch the afternoon session commenced, where we practiced what we'd learnt in the morning and then went onto doing some turns. Kate opted to try her luck on the slopes after
All the gear and no idea!
the morning refresher course and one of Team Brazil decided to give up! Now Kate was wearing the opp shop bargain ski coat which was light grey and pink in colour, she'd also decided to hire pink ski pants, so she was looking a bit Bridget Jones like! Especially when she got a bit cocky trying to salom round the slow sign and ended up going straight through it! We spent the afternoon becoming more and more confident on the beginner slopes and even got the turning down pretty well, before catching the bus back to town. When we'd arrived back in town, we got our stuff off the bus but somebody had stolen one of my ski poles! Luckily the ski rental company let this one slide, as a one off! We decided that after a hard day skiing we all deserved a drink, so headed to the buffalo bar which caught our eye by offering free monkey nuts!
I awoke the following day and got up ready to go for my morning wee, when I opened the caravan door and stepped in..... SNOW!!! 3 inches of the stuff, this ended up being the first time it had
Also all the gear and no idea!
snowed down in the town for years!!! After breakfast we headed into town to catch the bus back up to Coronet Peak, as I was putting my stuff into the back of the bus I turned round to see Matt on his arse as he slipped down the kerb! We hadn't even got to the slopes and he'd already fallen over!!! Due to the bad road conditions the bus had the snow chains on which meant that the journey up to the ski fields would take a little longer than usual, and it did as half way up the mountain road the back end of the bus lost traction and we grinded to a halt, being a couple of centimetres from ploughing down into a ditch on off the side of the road. The normal journey time of 30 minutes actually took us nearly 2 hours as we were towed up the road by a big snow plough! Once we'd finally arrived we wasted no time hitting the ski slopes, with myself and Cerri continuing on the beginner slopes and Matt & Kate trying out different blue and black runs. We stopped for lunch where Cerri managed to get away
View from Coronet Peak
without paying for her potato wedges! After the free food we bumped into Jake & George (the Granddad and Grandson combo from yesterday). George wasn't skiing but Jake was and he asked if he could go down a couple of runs with Matt & Kate. I borrowed Kate's ski pass and went down the Big Easy Slope with Matt & Jake and might i add, didn't fall over! After which Jake, Matt & Kate went off in a nice threesome, leaving me and Cerri to continue practising our turns. A couple hours later we all met up at the bottom of the 'M1' ski slope. Matt arrived to meet us, but there was no sign of Kate & Jake, 10 minutes went by and George turned up but still no sign of Kate & Jake, 20 minutes went by and Kate arrived on her own saying that Jake had fallen over too many times and had decided to take off his ski's to walk down!!! The Bus ride back to town was a lot smoother than the one earlier that morning and once back in civilisation we headed to the Monti's Pub to refresh our energy levels. That night we
Frosty the Snowman!
treated ourselves to a nice meal and a went to Winnie's, which was recommended to us by Cerri's old boss. Turned out to be a great choice, as the pizza's were out of this world! With our doggy bags filled with left overs we retired to the campsite for the night.
Ben & Cerri's Tip of the Week - Don't eat yellow snow!!
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