Land of the Long White Cloud

Trip Start Nov 25, 2004
Trip End Mar 22, 2005

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Friday, January 21, 2005

21st January 2005 DAY 58

Arrive in New Zealand at 15:05 + 2 hours time difference = 17:05 local time. Queue at Immigration takes about 20 minutes. Go out and get the shuttle bus into Christchurch. Nice polite female driver. Pleasant drive into town on a nice sunny afternoon. On the way in I see 2 Triumph 2000 Mk 2s, and a Jaguar S Type. The whole place looks very 1950s with the bungalows. Go to the Stonehouse Motel 241 Gloucester Street which has a mix or Dorms. Motel rooms, Camper Van pitches. All room are non smoking with balconies.  I get Room 64. It is a big room with a 2 seat settee, small table and 3 chairs, desk, TV and DVD player plus a Hi Fi and a huge bed. There is also a bathroom and a kitchenette.

Go out and Buy Food!

First time in 58 days! Make a cheese sandwich which is GREAT. Slight problem with the e mail but I get a newsletter away.


I finally got out of Australia today! The check in queue was short but I should have known that it would not be that easy. We had to complete an Immigration Departure card which seemed to be more geared to getting info for the tourist industry than anything else. This had to be presented to OUTBOUND Customs. The queue was massive. 12 desks 4 officers on duty.

The Australians as I have said before are collectively useless. The queue took 50 minutes and I did not have a lot of time to catch my flight. On trying to change Aus $ to NZ $s the Bureau de Change had nothing smaller than $100 notes! Classic Aussie. Take off was delayed by 20 minutes waiting for passengers stuck at Customs.

I could not get a window seat but from what I could see the Approach to Christchurch was very scenic. There was a delay at Immigration which in NZ is run by Customs but it was only a few minutes. The Hotel Shuttle was cleaner and better driven than in Aus and I got to the hotel about 6pm.

It's odd how a 2.5 hour flight can take all day. Flight time 12.20. Leave hotel at 09.15 get to airport at 10.00. Have huge wait due to incompetence of Customs delayed take off to 12.40. 2.5 hours in the air add on 2 hours time difference and bingo a whole day has gone.  

The odd thing was that the last song the band played in the pub last night was the old U2 number 'I still haven't found what I'm looking for' which is rather how I felt.

Having got here I feel a lot better as the town looks great. Broad streets old 1950s style bungalows even a couple of Triumph 200mk 2s on the Road. It had been really hot 80F but is cooling off now. When I went to the supermarket, first shopping in 56 days! I looked up and could see hills rather like looking up and seeing the Pentlands or Arthurs Seat.

The supermarket was a bit basic LIDL as opposed to Waitrose and there was a lovely sign in the Car Park advising patrons not to remove their 'Trundlers' from the Car Park.

After 56 days the joys of a home made cheese sandwich can hardly be described!

Yesterday I had been talking to an English girl who is at the end of her 1st YEAR travelling and we both said it is a mistake to do Asia first as everything afterwards seems expensive when in fact it's not bad. My room is $NZ115 at 2.5 that is 46pounds. The bed is huge there is a 2 seat settee a small table with 3 chairs. Shower room, TV DVD HiFi 2 burner stove microwave toaster kettle and fridge plus pots pans and crockery etc so not a bad deal!

I'm here for 3 nights then it’s the Transalpine and the Glaciers.

Bye for now from a far happier Robert

PS cheer for ANY team playing Australia!

I go out for a wander and am rather put off by the first pubs I come to that are big and noisy. Find an 'Irish’ bar and have a beer. Find that it is no smoking then find that the WHOLE of NZ went No Smoking on the 1st January!

Wander back and have 2 beers in the outside seating are of the Stonelodge. Have another sandwich and write notes at 00:40.

SATURDAY 22nd January DAY 59

I decide that I must make better plans to move around and get car hire telephone numbers. I also decide that I should not try to do too much and pick 3 or 4 main things to do and get them done. Get up late and COOK Breakfast. Wander about and book the Transalpine Train and Bus to Franz Josef. In the afternoon met SUMMER $NZ 170 =68.50 Very Good should have got photos. Then found the Twisted Hop I of only 2 microbreweries in NZ Golding Bitter $6:50 3.7% like IPA but with a stronger flavour. Spoke to the owner who had done Geophysics at Edinburgh University who knew 2 brewers at Edinburgh. He now runs the brewery. Back to hotel and have a meal and bottle of wine. Pretty quiet evening but happy.

SUNDAY 23rd January DAY 60 THIS WAS NOTED AS WAY as I was out of sync with my notes.

Up at 09:00 Cook breakfast and get the bus to Wigram RNZAF base and museum. The guide on the tour is a Mr Bob Nurse who flew Beaufighters out of East Fortune and somewhere near the Moray Firth. He was on anti shipping strikes in Norway and also flew Mosquitoes. Nice museum with Venom / Tiger Moth / Skyhawk / Canberra / Spitfire / Harvard / Ventura / Beaver / Auster / Wasp / Bristol freighter / Strikemaster. Mr Nurse made me feel quite humble to think that he'd travelled half way round the world to fight for the 'Mother Country'. a really nice old guy.  

Saw a big plume of smoke from Christchurch and was told that an old building was on fire. Got the bus back into town then got the 28 bus to Lytleton to go up the gondola $18. It took 5 minutes to get to the top. Great views and I could see Christchurch and Lytleton Harbour. Went back down and got the 3pm bus back into town. The big fire is in Manchester Street. I got some pictures and went to the Twisted Hop. Afterwards to hotel where I had Bacon sandwiches then a plate of tomatoes, olives, cheese and pate.

Watched the fire on the TV news. Went out about 18:20 to use the net. To front desk and booked 3 nights at the Rainforest at $119 pn finished bottle of wine. Went to the bar and had a glass of wine. I then started comparing wine prices with the idea of buying a bottle when I got the ‘Responsible Host etc etc. i.e. I was being Refused! I said no prob but allowed it to annoy me.
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