This deserves a post of it’s own.

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A man hitchhiking with a fridge!

http://www.projectwildman.co.nz/feature/the-fridge-tour-2

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an email from Air New Zealand and dinner at the Bunker.

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I got an email Air New Zealand with an invitation to the Koru lounge for the day of my trip home. It is how a business fix problems that says a lot about them and I very much appreciate the day in the lounges ( Christchurch and Auckland) and also that the team manager emailed me while he was on his own time. If it wasn’t for his emails I would still be very upset. Thanks Air New Zealand.

Tonight I went for dinner at “the Bunker” . It is very small ( around 25 ish seats ) and you have to book in advance. It is well worth going to as the food was beautiful and plentiful. I had the “taste of the South” menu which is like a degustation but the main section is apparently very generous. ( I asked them to make mine small).

There is also a cocktail bar upstairs

I had
Chef’s daily creation or local delicacy. ( baby squid and a croquette)
Deutz Prestige (Marlborough)(75ml)

Roasted South Coast Scampi with pulled pork and prawn risoni puttanesca, salsa verde and micro coriander.
Peregrine Pinot Gris (Central Otago)(75ml)  ( without the coriander as I don’t do coriander)

Agnolotti of hand picked West Coast Paua (abalone) with confit garlic cream and shaved parmesan.
Brancott Letter Series ‘O’ Chardonnay (Marlborough) (150ml)

Seared backstrap and braised shoulder of Otago alpine merino with noisette
potatoes, caramelized carrot purée, minted broad bean salsa and thyme jus.
Church Road Reserve Merlot Cabernet (Hawke’s Bay) (150ml)

Central Otago manuka honey and saffron creme brulee with citrus salsa and pistachio biscotti. .
Wooing Tree ‘Tickled Pink’ Dessert Rosé (Central Otago) (50ml)

and they sent me home with

Duo of Whitestone cheese with fresh honeycomb and crackers as there was no way I could fit it in.

The staff are lovely and have great personalities. The manager Cathy totally owns the room. She has a great laugh and laughs a lot.

It was very kindly turned into “with matched wines” by a generous donation from Mike and Sue. Thanks guys 😀

I am off to the TSS earnslaw steamer BBQ lunch tomorrow. ( hope I have room) and a trip up the gondola .

Milford Sound

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I read about a website called bookme where you buy experiences at a discount rate. I got a trip to Milford Sound on a six seater plane through Air Wakatipu for around $100 off and paid $345 AUD. If you get there by coach it takes 4 hours each way. On the trip up there were 3 people that had booked through bookme and one staff member of a car rental picking up a vehicle. The pilot, Gareth, a lovely young Californian man said the weather was perfect. I got to sit up the front for the trip up. It was interesting seeing how many knobs and levers the pilot needs to adjust. It was a very smooth take off and an even smoother landing. a gps map of our trip

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the water is a lot bluer than that. It is so blue as the Schist rock from the mountains seeping into it and changes t to the beautiful blue. Apparently it  make the water taste gritty

the water is a lot bluer than that. It is so blue as the Schist rock from the mountains seeping into the water changes it to the beautiful blue. Apparently it make the water taste gritty. 

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I got to sit up the front :)

I got to sit up the front 🙂

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We went up the fiord in a jucy cruiser . My luggage arriving the night before meant I didn’t freeze. 🙂 The Milford Sound, I learnt is, incorrectly named as a “as a sound is in fact a large sea or ocean inlet larger than a bay, deeper than a bight, and wider than a fjord, while Milford Sound is formed by the actions of glaciers.” We saw a couple of yellow eyed penguins or hoiho in Maori. One of the Canadians on my bookme tour lives in Queenstown and he was saying that they are endangered as they were killed off by a disease about 10 years ago. We also saw seals and there was a dolphin leading the boat back up the fiord on the trip back.

They have a cafe onboard called “Pita Pit” that sell , strangely enough, Pitas. It was yum.

This waterfall supplies the town of Milford with water and generates it's electricity.

This waterfall supplies the town of Milford with water and generates it’s electricity.

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We hit some turbulence on the way home, at one point it felt like we dropped metres but it was probably inches. The lovely Canadian girl was too busy clasping on to the handle to give the pilot a thumbs up that she was ok. 😉

I was really glad that I made the trip and even gladder that I had opted to fly. We felt rather hoity toity that when we got back to the dock we had our own private pilot waiting and didn’t have to endure a four hour bus trip back to Queenstown.

Tuesday 11th November

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Percy and I had some dodgy ice last night ( not the illegal kind) so I was very relieved when my flight to Milford Sound was called off due to unfavourable weather conditions. I moped around most of the day feeling sorry for myself . Typing that reminded me of a quote from “how the grinch stole christmas”

“The nerve of those Whos. Inviting me down there – on such short notice! Even if I wanted to go my schedule wouldn’t allow it. 4:00, wallow in self pity; 4:30, stare into the abyss; 5:00, solve world hunger, tell no one; 5:30, jazzercize; 6:30, dinner with me – I can’t cancel that again; 7:00, wrestle with my self-loathing… I’m booked. Of course, if I bump the loathing to 9, I could still be done in time to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and slip slowly into madness. But what would I wear?”

Earlier in the day I had deleted two emails thinking they were spam, but it was actually a rep from Air New Zealand trying to let me know my luggage was getting closer to me.

Then there was a knock on my door at 6.25pm

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and with that joyous event I have my appetite back and my frown was turned upside down.

Thank you Air New Zealand.

NZ- the land of many bridges.

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I had the best night sleep I have had in a very long time in the Lake Tekapo cottage that I stayed in. It was very clean and well worth the money. I am the type of person that travels with alcohol wipes to wipe down things like door handles and remotes. I think me doing that here may have been redundant as it was so clean.

I set off for my drive to Queenstown

I took the turn off to Twizel, they promote themselves as the “town of trees” it was a very sleepy town. I nearly nodded off half way through buying a sausage roll. Instead I wrote a postcard to mum and posted it.

I drove past a couple of “home of Icebreaker” sheep farms. I wanted to stick my head out the window and thank the sheep for producing smell resistant wool ;). On the outskirts of Omarama there all these rock mounds and pretty flowers I should have pulled over and taken a photo but I was afraid of getting stuck behind the elderly man driving at 30 klm below the speed limit again. Speaking of speed limits there are signs along the major roads giving driving advice , like slow down or showing the turn coming up. Having not driven in NZ before I am not sure if they are driver specific ( as there are signs telling you the speed you are driving) or if everyone gets told to slow down. I approached every sign with the anticipation of it saying ” your driving is sweet as” but it never happened.

I stopped off at the Roaring Meg lookout, it was beautiful.

these trees looked more amazing in real life

these trees looked more amazing in real life

the water was a beautiful blue in real life

the water was a beautiful blue in real life

i should have sat here and enjoyed the serenity.

i should have sat here and enjoyed the serenity.

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At this point, I was going to turn back and drive to the Mt Difficulty cellar door but I just wanted to continue doing something that was going well. I did take the turn off to go to Arrowtown though, as people I like have raved about it. I went to Saffron restaurant for lunch. I was the only person in there which seemed odd , as it gets rave reviews. My crisoy pork and chargrilled squid salad was delicious,

The Saffron restaurant crispy pork and chargrilled squid delicious salad.

The Saffron restaurant crispy pork and chargrilled squid delicious salad.

a poster for a movie that is up there as my favourite "feel good " movie. ( even  though it comes with a tinge of :( ). If you haven't seen it . You really should.

a poster for a movie that is up there as my favourite “feel good ” movie. ( even though it comes with a tinge of 😦 ). If you haven’t seen it . You really should.

The lunch was just what I wanted/needed not too big but light and filling. I had a glass of Mt Difficulty sav blanc and had another regretful moment for not going there (the cellar door).

A wise man had told me to be careful on the roads in New Zealand as there were a lot of police cars on the road. I didn’t realise that he meant there were a LOT of police cars on the road. I reckon every tenth car was a police car. I did pass a customs car, it couldn’t have been off to deal with my luggage though as the only declared contents of my luggage are a 100 ml bottle of olive oil and a 100 ml bottle of balsamic vinegar. It also appears that my luggage still hasn’t crossed the ditch.

I got to Queenstown and checked in at my accomm , I had read a tripadvisor review where someone complained about the doona being put between two sheets and thought that must have been a one off but no. The doona is between two sheets . Hopefully that is less icky than I imagine it. The vista is awesome though and the staff have been lovely. I have a laptop charger from the lost and thank you box. Sadly all the phone chargers are from the last millenium so I should have taken up the offer of a free one from the owner of the last nights stay.

The drive to Queenstown was , thankfully , uneventful it was very scenic and very windy ( both pronunciations). The Yaris is pretty sh!t ( said with a NZ accent) at going up hills. I was very glad I had not opted to go up Mt Cook as I would still be chugging on up it hours later. 😉 .

I walked into town to shop but by the time I got there I was too hot to make any good decisions. Tomorrow, I have booked in for a flight to Milford Sound but by all reports the weather will not see that happening. So if I still don’t have my luggage I am going shopping and sending QBE the receipts.

My clothes are washed and I am ready to start tomorrow as a new day. Choice bro! 😉

A venture across the ditch.

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I had decided to upgrade to works deluxe as it was only $115 extra. Premium check in is so much better than economy. There was something amiss with my booking and the machine wouldn’t print out a boarding pass for me. So a friendly Air New Zealand fixed whatever the problem was and I got my luggage put on a conveyer belt that had no queue on it. I went to the koru lounge , I have only ever been in an airport lounge once .The chairmans lounge in Sydney where the pretension from the girl on the reception was extreme and laughable.. This morning though it was only 8am so breakfast was being served . I scanned the room to see if anyone else was partaking in a drink with alcohol content but no one was. There were no bottles of sparkling open so I went and sat down and pondered whether I should refrain or not. Then I thought it would be very un Leslie of me to be shy about my food and alcohol so I went and opened a bottle. Luckily it didn’t pop too loudly.

Percy has managed to come along again, I could nearly hear him squeal with delight as he was shoved into an already full carry-on bag. I opted for row 2 as row 1 you have to put your carry-on in the overhead locker and nobody puts Percy in an overhead locker. The meal was scrambled eggs with beans , potato and an impressively small sausage . Who knew they could make them that small. It was more edible than most airplane food. I watched a New Zealand made movie called “housebound” it was quite amusing. In my opinion Kiwi’s can do funny well, but I think a New Zealand accent saying f@&$ing dick is hilarious.

It was the smoothest landing I have ever experienced and all seemed to be going very well. I went and stood at the wrong baggage terminal , realised my mistake and went to the potential right one. The big pink and black suitcase went around the carousel 3 times before I realised that something was wrong. A man came and asked me if my luggage was missing too. Hmmmm yes, it would appear so. The works deluxe gets you various things including “priority baggage”. I went to the lost luggage counter and the lovely lady said ” well technically, yours isn’t lost , we know where it is ” to which I said “great! Where is it?” Her: ” it’s in Melbourne it didn’t get loaded” . I don’t know what “priority baggage” means but at a base level it would be nice if it meant they would make loading it a priority.
I always try to see the positive in bad situations. A) they didn’t lose the plane b) I got a show bag c) the show bag had deodorant in it , I had forgotten to pack some so that was handy. 4) I didn’t have to join the very very long line to go through customs.
Note to self. Beware of the baggage drop off conveyor belt with no queue

So I am in NZ with Percy, a lovely scarf, a laptop and iPad (no cords) and a duty free bottle of gin.

I made my way to the thrifty car rental counter a very personable lady served me and tried to cheer me up . When she heard my Garmin GPS was in my “lost” luggage she said ” you don’t need gps to get to Lake Tekapo , it’s New Zealand love , there is only one road.” She filled my water bottle up and joked that she had left enough room for some gin. My car is just a Yaris but it had only done 484 kilometres. It drives very nicely. It was a nice drive to Lake Tekapo I used google maps to go a shorter way that involved more than one road. I have checked in at Lake Tekapo cottages. The owner was very nice about my whole delayed luggage and made me feel very welcome to go and ask for help if I needed anything. He lent me a cord to charge my phone. I drove into town to get some tonic water, lemon and some breakfast. I also bought a very ordinary pizza and had a nice “3 boys pils” while I waited. I will post photos in another post. I don’t have Dropbox on the iPad and my laptop battery is on it’s last legs. Hopefully I will get my luggage soon.

Sorry about any grammatical or spelling errors in this post. I am tired and not used to using an iPad.