I'm going to miss out the last few days in Asia for now, i'll probably write it up at some point as it was a fun time, but now i've been in New Zealand for more than two weeks and i feel like writing about that for a while! Most of the stuff happened a fair while ago now, so things may be a bit jumbled, and i might forget some stuff, but i will do my best!
So, after a 9 hour flight to Sydney, and a 3 hour flight to Christchurch, i got off the plane, with grey skies and a cold wind. Damn. I thought it was supposed to be summertime! Dave picked me up from the airport. To explain, i'm not talking in the 3rd person. This is kiwi dave, who did the same job as me in Canada. He's at uni in Christchurch, and his last exam was the next day. We went back to his house, I re-met his girlfriend (Laura), who i had only met briefly in Canada four years earlier just before i left to come home! She's Canadian, but decided to follow Dave back to New Zealand and study at Christchurch as well! I had a quick powernap, we had some food, caught up etc. The next day i cycled into Christchurch uni with dave and used the internet in the library while he did his last exam. The campus reminded me a lot of Keele, it was very green.
Once dave had finished we had a jug of Tui beer (yay for jugs) at a bar on campus with a few of his friends, while finding out where people were congregating to celebrate the end of exams. We found out and wondered over to someone's house, stopping to buy some beer on the way. Then we sat in someone's garden with all the sofas etc outside and the sun came out! Woop. Half the people there were celebrating mucho hard, resulting in someone intentionally putting his foot throught a glass coffee table (which he had to do twice as the first time didn't work). So then there was glass everywhere, with another of the drunk guys not seeming to notice it as he walked around barefoot. A girl decided to start throwing everything out of the kitchen window in the backyard, which was a bit surreal, seeing kettle's etc coming flying out! But there were the other half of people who didn't go quite so crazy, so i sat talking to them.
Some time later we cycled home, had some food, Laura had her last exam the next day. So on the next day, me and Dave went on a bunch of errands, getting stuff ready for the trip. We were going down the West coast of the south island, going tramping (which is what they call walking, which is a bit weird.....but we did look like tramps most of the time...). So we were buying food etc. Before this we drove up to summit road, which was a a road on the hills above Christchurch, and gave awesome views down on the city below, and on the other side of the hills in Lyttleton, with the harbour. After we had bought all the stuff we needed, Dave took me to the Wonderbar. He had mentioned it the day before, and refused to even attempt to explain it, saying that i simply had to see it for myself. It was in Lyttleton, so we went in a tunnel through the hills. Once we were in Lyttleton, we tried to go to the Wonderbar, but it wasn't open yet as it was 4.30pm. Boo. So we got a coffee. My mum had told me the one thing i had to do in N.Z was to have a flat while coffee. So this was the first one i had. It was so damn good! I can't say i've had anything like it in England. So good. So we sat on a bench drinking coffee, then it was time for the wonderbar!
So, this place is difficult to explain, it's the kind of place you need to see yourself really. But anyways....we have to walk up a bunch of ramps down the back of a building to get in, and there's a sign saying 'nice people only.' Inside we go. So apparently it was built by some crazy german guy a while ago, which i guess could explain the oddness of it. So, fish bowls hanging above the bar with gas masks in them, dolls heads stuck onto lampshades, crazy german signs, male mannequin torso's hanging randomly, a sort of secret door to get into the toilet, which you have to pull on an iron to get into. A back room where occasionally they have some crazy shows, and apparantly the german guy was a bit of a swinger. So yeah, pretty crazy place. It's owned by someone else now, me and dave had some beer, played some pool. It's got a pretty awesome balcony looking out over Lyttleton harbour which was cool.
In the evening a couple of Laura's friends came over before we went to go watch the guy fawkes fireworks. Funnily enough both her friends were from England, one guy from Swindon. Ha. We drove back up to Summit road and met more of laura's friends up there, and climbed onto the rocks to have an awesome view of the fireworks in the city below. There was a display on Brighton Beach, which we could see, but not hear! We were above the fireworks, so it was a bit odd looking down on them but pretty cool!
After this we made our way back to Dave's house and got ready for the trip. I guess I haven't talked about this yet. We were planning on driving across to the west coast of the south island, through the southern alps, and starting as far north as we could, around Karamea, then working our way down south. Dave had been looking at a bunch of walks and stuff we could do up and down the west coast, as well as checking out franz josef glacier, the pancake rocks and whatever else we happen to discover along the way. We were planning on camping for the majority of the trip, and maybe spending the odd night in a hostel. So me, Dave and Laura packed up most of our stuff ready to leave the next day.
Eventually we packed up the car and set off. We were taking Lewis' pass through the mountains, which was awesome. Just completely crazy scenery, huge mountains dropping into valleys, snow on the peaks, rivers winding their way around. More crazy mountain roads like on the road to Pai! Although much of the road didn't have a rail by the side of it, so if you go over, there's no stopping, and it's normally a hell of a long way down! I think it works as an effective way to keep the average national IQ of N.Z at a pretty high level. We stopped somewhere along the road for a coffee (mmm, more flat white) and a pie. This was my first N.Z pie. Pies were something that Dave talked about often while we were in Canada, he seemed to be suffering from withdrawl symptoms! They really really like their pies here. Like, really really. So the first pie i had was steak and cheese, and it was gooood. We set off on the road again, stopped sometime later for a late lunch, sandwhiches that we made. We were joined by a Weka, the first time I had seen one, but definitely not the last! If you've seen my pictures on facebook then you've probably seen a picture of it. He was basically wondering round seeing if he could get any food from us. Laura was giving him a little bit but Dave kept saying 'your not supposed to feed the Weka's!! They are wild animals! Many of the other Weka's we saw on the West coast (many of which hung around touristy areas) were obviously very used to getting food from tourists, and were pretty friendly.
We made it to Karamea, which is a small town. We drove along the coast and found the start point of the heaphy track. We were only walking one hour to a beach called 'scott's beach', so we packed up the stuff we needed from the car (including pillows, a rare luxury :D) and walked to the site. It was a nice grassy site just up from the beach, and we were the only people there. Unfortunately we had managed to forget the stove fuel, so we couldn't cook on the stove. We were having sausages so we decided to have a fire on the beach instead, so we collected up driftwood from the beach, made a fire, cooked our sausages on sticks (with plently of sausage puns...such as 'oh no my sausage is deformed/burnt etc). We had them with rolls, drank some beer, sounds of the ocean, good stuff :D