Steak and Cheese Pies. They're the future!!!

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
Okains Bay Camp Ground

Flag of New Zealand  , Canterbury,
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

We woke up at about 7.30am of our own accord and drove straight to the Edmund Hillary Centre for the first screening of 'Infinity' the short film that we had missed yesterday. We were stopped at the entrance to the campsite by the DOC officer who had woken us the day before to show our camping permit – this is starting to feel like victimisation!  Surely he recognised the Gimp Mobile from the previous day?  It isn’t exactly a shy and retiring motor. When we arrived at the hotel it was buzzing with Japanese tourists and coach load after coach load kept on arriving.  The museum was empty though so we were the only ones watching the film so much so that we watched the 3D film again too.  Afterwards we had another long look around the rest of the museum (despite the whole place being only slightly bigger than a tennis court).   As we had found out that the hotel had WIFI we took advantage of this and sat in the smart bar (complete with mounted stags head on the wall) with huge picture windows looking out at the mountains and really brought the ambience down sat there on the beautifully soft leather couches in our scruffy and very smelly clothes.  The Japanese tour buses continued to arrive in earnest - it seemed that we were the only non-Asian people in the whole building apart from the staff.  Apparently Japanese people enjoy taking ‘whistle stop’ coach tours of whole continents – they literally live on the coach and visit the ‘highlights’ i.e Europe – stopping at Paris (1day), London (1day), Rome (1 day), Prague (1 day) etc and travel in between – bonkers.

After an hour in the museum we drove back to the campsite for breakfast, we couldn’t afford it in the hotel at 27 Dollars (ha), so back at the campsite we cooked up black pudding and egg sandwiches.   Our French neighbour was out cooking too so we passed on our museum ticket to him as it still had half a day’s access left.  I managed to restrain Andrew for asking for some money for it, what goes around comes around.  I washed up all the pots in the camp kitchen before we left so we were good to go for another couple of days of DOC camps. So we said our goodbyes and headed off in the direction of Geraldine to partake in some extreme grade 5 white-water rafting on the Rangitata River.  Well, this was our intention but since we had been on the internet and realised that we are going through money like nobody’s business (Andrew edit – and we have much less left than we thought we thought better of it and decided to give it a miss.)  Another big ticket item crossed off the list.  God this place is expensive and that’s even with beg, stealing, borrowing and blagging our way through it.  We live on pasta and rice (and cheese and pickle sandwiches), ok with a rump steak thrown in every now and then but only when it’s going off, we try to free camp (officially known as stealing from the DOC), we only drink at the Van Bar and still we end up spending a fortune....and boxes of wine are only 9 pounds.  Seriously, petrol is killing us we just can’t wait to get back on buses and know that the money that we fork out for a ticket somewhere will actually get us there.

So as our original plans had been scuppered we decided to head straight to where we had earmarked to be our second to last port of call in New Zealand, Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula South East of Christchurch.  We stopped along the way to get a few provisions from the last large supermarket that we came to as Akaroa is a small town without a massive amount of amenities – this included a steak and cheese pie (we have become quite partial to these whilst we have been here and at 50p they are an affordable treat).  The road along the peninsula gradually got higher and higher and we were eventually driving through clouds at our highest point but there were fantastic views of Akaroa Harbour before we descended over the hill towards Okains Bay.  With not a DOC in the area I managed to find a relatively cheap campsite on the beach where we could chill out for a couple of days.  At 12 Dollars a night each it was by far and away the cheapest option so after arriving at about 7pm we sat down to a sausage and bean casserole (Andrew’s signature dish) sat in a clearing amongst ridiculously tall pine trees.  We spent the rest of the evening reading up on South America – it’s hard to believe that we will be there in the next week.  A whole new continent and a language that we are now desperately trying to get something of a grip of. (Andrew Edit – Its a bit desperate now after seven months of trying to convince the lady we need to listen to the cd’s she is now starting to wake up to the fact yet they are so boring that trying to cram four hours per day you stop listening after an hour).
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