Monthly Archives: September 2009

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My car is all fixed!

fixed car

They even washed it for me so it’s all shiny.

I’m very pleased to know it’s fixed. My insurance company was so easy to work with. I did all the things they asked and they got it fixed super quick. No hassle at all. However, I don’t think it hurt at all that my dad knows the owner of the repair shop it got taken to.

I’m home, obviously…

We had to get up obscenely early to get the airport – as in 3am early. Bleugh. Definitely not a fan of early flights. Still the airport was busier than I thought it would be and it took us nearly half an hour to check in. Kim and I cut it extremely fine. We got to the front of the line at 5.30 which should’ve been the 90 minute cut-off. However, it apparently worked in our favour as we ended up sitting in premium economy. There really is more legroom!

As usual, Melbourne Airport turned on all its charms and made us wait about half an hour for our bags. For whatever reason, three luggage containers got left on the plane so we waited. And waited. And waited. Then we got the slowest taxi driver in Melbourne who just wouldn’t do the speed limit. He consistently sat 10ks under the limit and I wanted to strangle him.

Still, nice to be home. Being in my own bed was wonderful as was the first decent shower in a week. It was very weird to come home to a 30°C day when just a few days ago we’d been all rugged up for the snow.

So… things I learnt on this trip.

  1. I can’t ski. But I haven’t spent enough time doing it to totally dismiss it as an activity.
  2. New Zealand wines are great but their beer is apparently meh.
  3. Sliding down small snow covered slopes is awesome.
  4. The water in Methven makes me feel decidedly ill – too much chlorine.
  5. Single beds suck.
  6. A decent shower is a blessing.
  7. New Zealand really is a remarkably beautiful place.
  8. Jet-boating is awesome fun.
  9. As is a scenic helicopter flight.
  10. I can still scream.
  11. There really are a lot of sheep in New Zealand.
  12. Seeing rugby pitches everywhere fills me with joy.
  13. The guy who works at the ski shop was really cute.
  14. I missed my bike.
  15. Sharing a hotel suite with three people who cough all the time is extremely irritating.
  16. I like snow.
  17. Automatic Ford Mondeos are shit to drive.

Rakaia Gorge

We visited Rakaia Gorge today. It was so peaceful. The water was the most amazing blue colour. We just sat around and watched the birds skim over the water, plunging down to snap up insects.

The gorgeous blue waters of Rakaia Gorge

Rakaia Gorge and Bridge with Mount Hutt in the background.

It’s our last day in New Zealand. I’m a little sad we didn’t get to go back up the mountain because I would’ve liked to have played in the snow but the fates conspired against us. I’m not sure what I think of skiing but it’s really too early to make a decision.

New Zealand is a stunningly beautiful country. I’d like to see more of it so at some point I’d like to return.

Today was an official rest day

We did nothing. Just as well considering Mount Hutt was closed today due to high winds. We took all our skiing gear back today so no more snow for us. I would’ve liked to have gone up one more time to play in the snow but it’s meant to rain tomorrow and I can’t imagine being in the snow when it’s raining would be too much fun. Plus I imagine the drive up the mountain would be horrible in the wet. Still, I got to make a snow angel and have a snow fight so it’s all good.

Clouds above Mount Hutt at dusk.

Christchurch, New Zealand

Spent the day in Christchurch today with Mel while Kim and Andrew went paragliding – too expensive for me! All we really did was wander around and I finally took a bunch of photos with my DSLR.

So, on with the more “artistic” photos!

One of the many water fountains in Christchurch. This one looked like dandelions, which I thought was rather pretty.

In the Anglican cathedral is a life-sized memorial of the first bishop, Henry Harper.

This was inscribed above the entry to Christchurch’s museum.

Nice to see some colour again. A flower bed in Christchurch’s botanic garden.

A magnolia blossom.


A view of the city from the observation deck at the top of the gondala ride. It was quite hazy today so the photo isn’t the best.

I can now say I’ve driven a car in a foreign country. It was my turn to drive and I have to say our hire car has the turning circle of a tank. Actually, I think some tanks can turn quite well so that could be a misleading statement. It’s a biggish car with a tiny little engine so it’s not the best drive. Which actually makes me sad because the highway from Christchurch to Methven has some wonderful twisty bits that would be so much fun in the right car. A Ford Mondeo is not it.

I found a new favourite activity

Okay, so I suck at skiing but I’m awesome at sliding down slopes. In an effort to avoid the annoying school groups, we went up Mount Hutt pretty early. The plan didn’t work. We got there about the same time as the first busload of school kids. Oh well.

I got myself to the top of the kiddie run and promptly fell over but it was a controlled fall this time. I got about 10 metres down the slope when I fell over. Not dignified at all but I did manage to get back on my feet. Me being me, I ended up careering down the slope way too quickly with no control. But I didn’t fall over which was good I suppose. The only reason I managed to come to a halt without falling over was because the end of the run has a rise so I just stopped.

I got myself back to the top and once again fell over. I took my skis off so I could get out of the way and then all the school groups arrived for a lesson. I couldn’t see myself getting down the slope without crashing into someone so I decided to walk down the slope. Whimpy I know but it’s better than injuring myself or anyone else.

Kim and I messed about on the slope and even made snow angels. Then we decided we should do what a group of kids was doing and slide down the small slope that separated the green run from the kiddie slope. It was awesome fun and we did it repeatedly – so often I ended up with snow down my pants. But it was totally worth it because it was so much fun. I’ve found a snow activity I can actually do that doesn’t require any coordination at all.

I look like I should be going golfing in those pants not skiing.

Kim, Andrew and Mel all geared up to hit the slopes.

Andrew and Kim at the top of the slope we were sliding down.

Kim – It’s totally awesome duuuuuuuude!

Me in the car after sliding down the slope repeatedly. Much happier face this time.

The summit of Mount Hutt on the way down.

I have more photos

It’s a long and winding road up to the peak of Mount Hutt.

Mount Hutt in black and white.

It’s a little dusty on the way up the mountain.

Yeah, just a few skis.

Snow bunnies. Uh huh… you can stop laughing now.

Mmmm… check out the beanie hair! Me after the skiing lesson when we’d gone inside for lunch. I really wasn’t sure about the whole skiing thing and the last thing I wanted to do was put my skis back on. So I didn’t.

I went on a scenic helicopter flight with Kim instead. It was much more fun than skiing.

Rakaia Gorge as seen from the top of Mount Hutt. Well, in a helicopter anyway.

Some of the Southern Alpine Ranges.

More snow covered mountains but this time with cool colouring.

So yeah… I wouldn’t rate today’s skiing a success at all. I found it incredibly difficult. But I don’t know why I thought it would be easy. It’s incredibly unnatural to strap two pieces of plastic to your feet and barrel down a snow-covered mountain side. I might have excellent balance and be coordinated but that seems to count for naught when it comes to skiing. Perhaps I’m thinking about it too much. I think about it too much and I get panicky that I’m going to fall over. Then when I do fall over, I get frustrated. I get frustrated which stressed me out and makes me upset. It’s a vicious cycle that I work myself into. Tomorrow I’m going to try to relax a little more and not get so worked up about it. I’ve been told that only falling over five times is actually pretty good for someone who’s never skied before.

But it bothers me that I’m finding it so hard.

Picture post while the internet is happy (but first I’m going to whinge about skiing)

Today was our first day of skiing and I’m not sure what I think of it. My feet hurt like a fiend and I managed to fall onto my right hip, which is the one I trashed when I stacked my bike. It felt pretty awful when I did it and it’s a little painful right now. The ski went one way and my leg kinda twisted and went the wrong way. When I hit the ground, it hurt so much I cried. I think I scared the instructor because I was so desperate to get my ski off. Kim was having huge problems with her ski boots so the instructor had to leave me sitting in the snow with my skis off so she could help Kim down the hill. The only advantage was that I was able to ice my hip straight away (after I stopped crying of course).

And I thought snow as meant to be soft. It’s so not!!

I must say the kids on the baby slope were just awful. One of my tumbles the top of the slope happened because some stupid little girl hadn’t gotten out of the way from the travelator that took you up the slope and I tried to not hit her. It was at the point I exclaimed loudly I suck at this. I actually got quite angry with myself because normally I can master most physical activities reasonably easily. I think my problem is that I’m constantly worried about falling over so, of course, the first thing that happens is that I fall over. I need to apply the mantra I sometimes say to myself on my bike: don’t think, just do.

Anyhoo… I have some photos from the last few days that I should put up while the internet is happy.

Me, Kim and Andrew at the airport.

I can see New Zealand!

Snow covered mountains.

Pity the plane window was dirty.

Messing around with colours. Taken on our way towards Waimak Gorge (the Waimakariri River)

More mountains, on our way to Waimakarri River.

Mountain panorama.

Waimak Gorge – taken before the terrifying but exhilarating jet-boat ride.

On Waimakarri River.

Meeting some of the locals 😉

I have some photos from today but I haven’t processed them yet.

The most exciting thing I did today was a helicopter ride with Kim. It was so amazing. When we first took off, the pilot hovered his way over to the edge of the mountain and we banked and then suddenly dropped. Kim and I both screamed. Not like little girls because little girls can’t scream that loudly. It was just incredible though. We got to see Arthur’s Pass, all of Mount Hutt and the southern alps and Rakaia Gorge. It’s stunningly beautiful here.

Air New Zealand has terrible food

Right now I’m in Methven, New Zealand. When we look out our living room window, there a spectacular view of Mt Hutt.

Uh.. yes. The “meal” we had on the plane was horrendous. It was allegedly a beef salad but all it had going for it was the meat actually came from a cow. Eugh. Totally disgusting. The carrot cake was good though.

Anyhoo… I’m in New Zealand.

We went jet-boating today and it was totally awesome. So much fun and the gorge we were in was so beautiful. Tomorrow is skiing, which has me slightly worried as I’ve never been skiing before and full expect to spend most of my time sitting in the snow. But at least it means whatever I fall over onto will be immediately iced.

The place we’re staying at has a horrible internet connection which just makes me angry so perhaps it’s time to go to bed.

And before I go: happy father’s day dad!!

Is it that time already?

I have to be up in a few hours. Strange to think I’m heading to New Zealand tomorrow. The time has passed so quickly and I can’t quite it’s already time.

It’s going to be strange – this whole traveling with other people. Gee, that makes it sound like I travel all the time but it’s only been two trips overseas. It will be different though. I haven’t put anywhere near the energy into this as I have for my other trips. I haven’t really done anything at all. It feels more like I’m just going along for the ride.

It has been nice to hand over all the organising and to not have to think that much. All I really wanted was a nice place to stay on the first night when we’re still in Christchurch and I got that. Still, I feel detached from it. There’s not the sense of excitement and anticipation that I have when I’ve done all the planning myself. It just doesn’t feel real and it’s happening tomorrow.

Still, New Zealand!! I’m going to see yet another part of the world and do things I’ve never done before like skiing.

Things seem to be progressing with the car. It’s at the repairers now and hopefully a quote has been prepared and sent off along with photos of the damage. It’s not something I want to have to try to follow up on when I’m in another country. Optimistically, it could be fixed by the end of the next week. Whether or not that’s realistic is another story. Dad thinks maybe the week after. That’s still really quick considering I thought it’d take at least a month to jump through all the hoops. I’m expecting my premium to go up after this. Hopefully I’ll get to keep my rating one.