Story of some Brits living in New Zealand for the Southern Hemisphere Winter in 2004
(Recent Entries Here)

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Leaving too at the Dream Garden - a culinary experience

It seems odd to think we're having a leaving do already. Can't quite face the prospect of leaving here to return to a grey UK winter.

Anyhow, we went out with Bianca, Myles, John, Laura and Helen tonight. The Dream Garden is an excellent Taiwanese restaurant at 62 Kendal Avenue (near the airport). The food is all vegetarian or vegan but is named things like: Hedgehog, codfish, black pepper steak, etc. This does rather mean that you dont much know what you are going to get - which adds to the fun, or the heartache, depending on your perspective.

The meal started with some bubble tea. Our first round was without any bubbes - we didnt realise you needed to order them separately! John eventually sorted it all out, as you can see.

Bubble teas

Following the tea we went for the main course, which was interesting and generally ok. Though there was speculation that there was fish oil in the cod as it tasted too authentic, and Laura remained unconvinced throughout the whole meal that she wasnt REALLY eating a hedgehog, "how do we know this is really vegetarian?". The only answer we could give was that we were introduced to the place by the christchurch vegetarian society.

Following an interval, where we perused some presumably Taiwanese magazines, we decided we couldn't miss out on the dessert - labelled 'breads'. There were 6 on the menu so we had one of each, and the owner brought us an extra one for free too: Milk, Peanut, Coconut, Chocolate (disappeared fast), Jasmin Tea (unusual but nice), Salt, and one other I dont remember! Interesting stuff, big inch thick slices of bread with nice toppings.

Bread for dessert (nice)

Overall I think everyone enjoyed the unique culinary experience - the service was very friendly too, despite a few language barriers.

Still can't believe it was a leaving do - we cant be leaving already surely!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

A nice cycle ride up the port hills / white squall

Went for a nice ride up the port hills, this time taking the shorter but far steeper route up Moncks Spur. We were aiming for 'The Sign of the Kiwi' Cafe some 12km away along the summit road but by the time we reached the summit rd the weather came in. Cold rain soon turned to hailstones. So, we cycled back. It was downhill all the way to sumner so we took that longer route rather than just go back the way we came up. We soon regretted the decision as the rapid descent in the very cold air made our eyeballs freeze solid, we were afraid to blink in case they shattered... the end we got a shower and played Lord of the Rings RISK. Which, playing 'Evil' this time, won easily! Humph - AM's previous victories must've been from playing the Evil side. We decided that the game is quite unbalanced so played using standard RISK rules, and I won that too, well, as good as, we ran out of time a bit.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Great Movie - Touching the Void

Went to see Touching the Void on Saturday - what a great film/documentary about a legendary climbing accident. This is one very special film that portrays the story quite differently than the book, like an almost totally fresh perspective.

I think anyone who has ever climbed anything with axes and crampons, particularly 'moving together', will be particularly in awe of the climbing achievement but the story is much much more impressive than just being about climbing. Following the famous accident where Joe is presumed dead, his survival story is amazing. The goal setting techniques he used to progress down the mountain are a marvel, as was his statement which went something like, "you have just got to keep making decisions, or you are dead". Stuck a long way up in a crevace he opted to lower himself further into it (with a very badly broken leg) to try and find a way out. The full horror of this decision is made clear as they show the actor recreating this descent into darkness.

I've been lucky enough to attend a talk given by Simon Yates - if you get the chance, he is well worth meeting too. I remember thinking Simon remarkable because he comes across as just a normal bloke and didn't seek to elevate himself from his awesome achievements on mountains.

Joe and Simon and even Richard are amazingly frank in the film about life, death, grim decisions and survival. This kind of honesty is rare.

What an amazing film. Highly recommended. Read the book too, it's awesome.

Thursday, October 14, 2004


On the phone to B tonight when a big spide crawled up the wall in my office. She said, "Has it got a white tail?". "Yis" I replied. "Kill it!", she said. "Even my Mum kills them, they're a pest imported from Australia".

Not liking Spiders much, even the ones without a nasty bite like this one has, I asked Ann-Marie's help with the required disposal of said beast. Having spent too much time in dodgey tropical parts she was not too bothered and refused to help me kill the monster (2 cm long, with a white tipex blob on it's tail). Eventually, after much encouragement Ann-Marie aided in the removal process. The beast was caught, after only one failed attempt due to a blood curdling scream from one of us (un-named).

Nastly blighters have a bite worse than a bee sting and can lead to some ulceration, vomiting, headaches (and ridiculous screaming from just walking about).

The beast was set free at the house across the road (number 19). We dont like them much over there, they seem to spend the whole time far too interested in everybody else's affairs - recommend they buy a TV, or concentrate on spider spotting.

Living in an old, creaky wooden house, built on a nice airy platform provides an unthinkably large spider kingdom under the house, and these white tails like to eat other spiders so there is plenty of prey nearby. Discovering that these Ozzie white tailed spiders like to live in clothes dropped on the floor, and in the bedsheets, did not lead to a good nights sleep last night but has lead to considerably more tidiness around the house.

Just when I thought NZ didnt have any nasty creatures (apart from the maligned Great White Shark) it's disappointing to discover such a nasty spider.

Monday, October 11, 2004

New Arrival for Gerald and Tresna - Timothy

Many congratulations to Gerald and Tresna on the birth of their son Timothy.

Timothy has started life in the limelight on the front page of the national press. He is the first baby born in Auckland City Hospital's new birthing complex.

Here's Timothy in the papers

And here is a picture of the first baby born in the National Women's Hospital in 1964 - does this mean Timothy's photo will be wheeled out in the papers for ever more?!

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Ann-Marie in her first triathlon

Ann-Marie did her first ever triathon today with the Contours group. Quite a big deal now with 100 more entries than they could accomodate. This is a women's triathlon designed for people who have not done such things before.

The swim was a bit crazy with swimmers started in waves of 4-6 people side-by-side in the same lane. At the end of the first length they had to go under the lane ropes and back down the next length. Not a great way to swim a 100m. I timed the first group out and they seemed to take 1:40 or so, which is quite slow for 100m.

Exiting the swim (100m)

Finishing the bike (11k)

Second lap of the run (3.5k)

AM was 174th overall and 76th in her agegroup, which she wasnt very happy with but I thought it was pretty good!

Overall the event was great fun, despite a little rain on the day, and lots of people had a good time.

As usual on such occasions the prize giving was a drawn out affair with a similarly drawn out pot luck prize giving at the end. AM's friend Sarah's initial "woohoo" at winning, was soon quelled by her winning a duvet set - quite an odd triathlon prize. Another friend won some tea mugs! I would have thought a few Iron Man videos would've been a bit more appropriate!!!

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Akaroa - Swimming with Dolphins - Airport

Awoke early and got down to the Dolphin Experience shop an embarassing 15 minutes early (how will I live with the shame of arriving so early?).

Pretty soon the wetsuits (7mm) were forthcoming, along with booties, gloves, neoprene hood, mask, snorkel and flippers. We were feeling distinctly dubious about jumping in the ocean at this point, as it seemed a cold prospect.

Finally jumped on board the small boat and within 20 minutes were at the head of the harbour area where the dolphins hang out. Found a couple quite quickly but they weren't deemed sufficiently curious for our purposes. We also saw some Penguins (blue?) swimming about too.

Got all the gear (still a bit cold in there though)

Eventually we found another pod of 3 playmates who decided to stick around, so we were encouraged into the water. Uncharacteristically I went in first. I expected the first rush of cold water but anticipated I would soon feel warm. In the event it took quite some minutes before feeling warm. Gasping because of the cold is not a great way to relearn how a snorkel works but I got it eventually, as did Doug and Ann-Marie.

We were told the dolphins like noise so Ann-Marie was given a bike bell and we were all told to sing. It's quite difficult to come up with one's complete repetoir for the curious dolphin whilst gasping from cold and with a snorkel in your mouth but we each gave it a good go.

I thought Ann-Marie was making particularly impressive noises only later to discover it was instead Doug that was making all the noise. So much noise that a few more dolphins were required to inspect him (very impressed our ship captain, Chris, was too).

The visibility in the water was pretty poor, so as I got into my singing I was more than a bit alarmed when a dolphin came close to have an investigation. These Hector Dolphins are only little but are still the colour of killer whales and in their own domain! (killer whales recently spotted in the harbour, as is, we were unreliably informed, a great white!). Actually the wonders of the world wide web reveal that the shark thing was not as unreliable information as we thought, there is one that comes into the harbour at times.

Oh good, it was true about the shark thing then (we were reliability informed that in 100 years only 7 people have been attacked by sharks in NZ)

Glad we didnt see a great white whilst dressed in a seal costume

Actually the marine research centre we went to in Otago did explain quite clearly that Sharks are often close to the shore on the East Coast of new zealand as there is a warm water current near the coast coming across from Oz.

After making noises for curious dolphins for a while, for some reason I started singing the Jaws theme tune. This had the effect of scaring me witless, reinforced by bobbing up to the surface near the boat in a scene reminisant of the movie (in my crazed mind anyway). Dolphins seemed much less impressed with the tune but primarly because my brother was displaying all the features of a one-man band to keep them all entertained.

Starting to feel the cold, having swallowed lots of water (and plankton no doubt), and having scared myself silly with the jaws tune, I wasnt sure I wanted any more sudden close encouters with Orca coloured dolphins so i headed for home, content with having had a couple of decent looks.

Was pretty happy we missed out on the Orcas too (they like seals, I've seen the documentary where this was clearly conveyed)

What we did see were the world's smallest and rarest dolphins - Hector's dolphins!!

Likely to be a shot of Doug making all kinds of noises from his 'one-man band' gig attracting all kinds of interest from passing marine life

Image shamelessly nicked from the web but it gives an idea what we swam with!

Phew! Got back to port for about 11 to a hot shower (having consumed hot chocolate en route and narrowly avoided being sick - struggle a bit with sea legs).

Then we dashed back to Christchurch for Doug to pack, then dashed to the airport to put him on the plane home - just 5 minutes free for a long promised game or air hockey (Doug beat Ann-Marie) before saying our goodbyes.

Great trip! Think we packed quite a lot into the time we had in the end!

Friday, October 08, 2004

Oamaru - Cheese Factory - Timaru (AWFUL) - Ash Vegas - Akaroa Harbour

We were happy to rediscover the sign for the Whitestone Cheese Factory and cafe first thing. We were even more impressed to hear the muffins were just coming out of the oven and to taste some cheese whilst we waited. Excellent service, very good cheese. What a great start to the day. As usual, Ann-Marie wasn't too keen to partake of the breakfast until the sound of the plate hitting the table sparked her appetite and the realisation struck that I would have to now share :-( !!!!

We headed up to Timaru for lunch and a game of 3 person pool, which is excellent. So glad Cheryl from our Calgary office taught me that! Sadly the pub we elected to play pool at was the least welcoming pub I've ever been in. In fact, the whole of the town of Timaru seemed cursed with some miserableness. We lingered too long and were glad to leave.

Further cursed by proximity with Timaru our attempts to book a dolphin swim in Akaroa on the Bank's Pennisula seemed elusive and we got a lot of unhelpfulness from one of the companys down there (the big one on the jetty!). In the end, Ann-Marie got lucky and booked us on a trip with a smaller operator called Dolphin Experience which worked out well for us. An 8.30 start the same day Doug was heading home - what a way to spend your last day in NZ!

On our way to the Banks Pennisula we couldn't help but visit the MacDonalds in Ashburton (known locally as Ash Vegas). This store is becoming famous for a potential marketing blunder through the proud display of a costume once worn by a visiting Ronald MacDonald. The size of the costume needed to house the veritable Ronald seems to give further weight to the recent outcry about the unhealthiness of MacDonalds food.

Keep eating that food and YOU TOO could become the next Ronald MacDonald!

As we began across the Banks Penninsula our thoughts were with the rumoured excellent Cafe at Little River (AM had been there before with B) which also houses the
Little River Gallery. Great place to stop.

Found a great motel by the harbour quite near the excellent Ma Maison restaurant. This restaurant was the only one willing to serve us after 9pm and were very friendly and the food great!

Before we ate (and the reason we were so late to dinner) was that we decided to go for a little run (a bit risky given Doug's marathon pedigree). Fun trot around the harbour with some interval and hill training thrown in for good measure (which I think we were supposed to be grateful for!).

Overall we really enjoyed the feel of the somewhat french Akaroa!

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Dunedin - Marine Research Station - Moeraki Boulders - Oamaru - Penguins!

Up quite early and headed for the 10.30 tour at the Marine Research Lab and Aquarium on the Otago Pennisula.

Interesting tour, saw a few sea-horses (some courting), phyto plankton under the microscope and realised we probably swallow these when we swim in the sea (YUK), sea cucumbers, native fish, small sharks and that sort of thing. Interesting tour which ended with a play in the "touch tank" where we got to poke star fish and sea cucumbers and velvety molluscs.

We then headed over to the Albatross Colony, only to find lots of construction work going on and the Albatross viewing closed for the courting period. Cafe was fortunately opened and is still very good! A quick stroll down to the seal beach and time for another arty photo...

Self portrait!

Not to mention another odd brothers shot

Once again, note differences in height, hair and style

Then we jumped in the car and wended our way off the peninsula and up the coast to the Moeraki Boulders, which transpired to be another excuse for a photo opportunity.

AM on funny rocks

Doug jumps from driftwood!

Three wise monkeys

Hatching photo (I bet nobody thought of that before!)

After so much silliness we headed further up the coast to see some penguins in Oamaru. Early in the evening, the Yellow-eyed penguin colony comes ashore in one sheltered bay (they then climb up the hillside and hide amongst the trees. We didnt have to wait long to see the first of the penguins waddle ashore. Always impressed by these!

Yellow-eyed penguins

Then we drove 5 minutes to the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony for an impressive display. The colony's habitat is managed to protect the penguins and at the same time allow tourist to see them. The Penguins come ashore after dusk, sometimes followed by a Hooker sealion, and unfortunately a couple of domestic cats the night we were there. The penguins waddle in from the sea in groups, whilst waiting penguins wander out to meet them. Much noise follows as they reacquaint themselves and throughout the night we are told.

This eco-tourism is closely monitored and this colony in particular is a useful control group, which is demonstrating greater breeding success than other groups without this kind of human contact so it seems the tourism is not damaging at a basic level. Sure was a good show though!

Blue penguins coming home for the night

Driving out of the colony we had to be careful to watch for penguins on the road, as you can see.

After that spectacular we were a bit chilly and hungry so headed back into town for a curry. We were lucky to find them open at this late hour (after 9) - the staff there were amazed to hear tell of Indian Restaurants open for business at 11pm at night in the UK!!! Again, another night in a decent motel followed.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Milford Sound - Kayaking Around - Drove to Dunedin

Awoke fairly early in time for our pick-up at the lodge at 8.30 by a super jolly guide (Will) from Fiordland Wilderness Experience. We awoke early mindful of our previous trip with FWE where we managed a super faff about 6am outside Bill and Daphne's house in preparation for our multi-day Doubtful Sound trip.

Geared up and ready to go. Yet another example that one brother has style (even in rented clothing) and one seems sadly lacking

Gear for the Milford Trip was a little less comprehensive than what we got for the previous trip to Doubtful Sound. We were only issued 2 hats instead of three(!), and got a wetsuit vest rather than long john suit, and the boats were plastic instead of fibre glass. Overall though, we have been extremely impressed with the gear and general organisation of the FWE tours on both this trip and the Doubtful Sounds trip.

Ann-Marie at the rudder end

What a spot for a lunch break!

Will supplied hot drinks but was rather taken aback that only one of us Brits wanted Tea!! We took the lunch opportunity to look at the map and were quite surprised that we'd seen penguins swimming near "penguin tree" on the map, and a seal on a rock at about "seal rock". This made us begin to suspect that this was some kind of elaborate robot show and checked the map again in case we'd missed "Dolphin Corner".

After lunch the kayaking got a bit more strenuous as we got into a more exposed part of the sound before we rafted up the kayaks. Actually, this was quite a performance as the kayaks needed to raft up altogether to make sure they were all still facing the same way before the current turned the raft around. One crazy girl on the rudder of my brothers boat managed to crash into everyone and continually zig zag making rafting up in rather large waves quite tricky and tiring. We eventually got it sorted and stuck a sail up to head back to base.

The sail proved less effective than we'd seen in Doubtful Sound. Perhaps due to the wind, or the plastic boats, or bigger raft - still fun though. Dodging the shipping lane was also quite entertaining. Will was trying to tell a Maori legend but kept getting distracted by our sailing troubles and shipping lane. It was quite a long story!

AM, Doug and me in Sandfly Point (sure enough, Sandflies in evidence)

Overall we had an EXCELLENT trip for a very good price, with a great guide. Wouldn't hesisitate to recommend these FWE folks to anyone, they really know what they're doing and their guides are excellent (well, Adrian and Will are anyway).

At the end of a long day we opted for a long drive to Dunedin to continue our trip. Doug did loads of the driving tonight, the first time he has easily stayed awake into the night.

A little way out of the tunnel from Milford Sound we came upon quite a number of Kea and stopped to say hello, and to give them the chance to tear our car apart.

Kea Patrol

Kea up close and personal (Whose idea was it to open the door?)

We hastily left, just about unscathed and just about free from extra passengers. For wild animals, Kea are very tame.

Had a reasonable feed at the "Howl at the Moon" in Gore. Managed to catch Doug out a bit with the specials board, which we had earlier deduced was exactly the same as the menu. It went like this, "don't forget to check out the specials board". "OK, hey, that Blue Cod is on the menu as well". The whole specials board was on the menu too, very odd decoration. Happy to leave that place and get to Dunedin for 11.30pm to a pretty decent motel.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Wanaka - Queenstown - Te Anau - Milford Sound

Awoke to discover the ski roads were closed because of the wind. It was a fairly marginal call but rather than wait around to see if they eventually opened, we headed further south.

Having never been to Queenstown we swung by for a look and some breakfast. After somewhat surly service at Vu Du cafe (pretty ok food though) we did a bit of wandering around the shops only to return to our car, parked in a free car park, proudly displaying a parking ticket (where are those pesky Alpine parrots when you need them to attach loose bits of your car). So, stroppily paid up the $60. Pretty pathetic parking offence if you ask me, not exactly in anybody's way and parked way out of the town centre!

Began the long journey south to Te Anau and arranged a kayaking trip on Milford Sound for the next day with Fiordland Wilderness Experience - an excellent kayaking company we had used for our previous trip to Doubtful Sound.

There is only one place to stay in Milford Sound, the Lodge - very nice backpackers style accomodation - so we booked this too.

As we arrived in Te Anau we headed for a bird sanctuary run by the Department of Conservation (DOC) on the Road to lake Manapouri. Surprised we missed this last time round since this place has a live Takahe (a native flightless bird) to take a look at (though she's quite old).

Takahe with sub-alpine vegetation. Photo by Rod Morris/DOC
Prehistoric looking and very rare Takahe

Takahe. Photo by Peter Morrison/DOC
Quite a bit bigger than a Pukeko!

Pukeko for comparison - you see these all over the place. They seem to be thriving, perhaps because they can fly.

Following our bird observations (we also saw a Kaka and a number of other interesting bits and bobs), we headed to Te Anu for a coffee and a bit of shopping in preparation for our big kayaking adventure (and to buy some dinner to cook later).

Doug and AM soon figured out how to make my new taste for the Chai Latte seem a bit weak - look at the size of their coffees!

The drive up to Milford Sound was pretty impressive and yet 2 more hours from Te Anau. Amazing scenery ending in a small hole cut-out in the rock, which road signs reliably informed us was a "tunnel". This tunnel was hewn from the rock using hand tools and looked like it too. We drove in, flicked our lights on and expected ours eyes to adjust to the dark. They didn't. The tunnel was not lit. Eventually the road surface revealed it's potholes too. Gratefully emerging the other side we were greeted by more signs saying "NO STOPPING AVALANCHE ZONE" and you could believe it. We popped out of the tunnel into a HUGE rock bowl with extremely steep sides covered with the remnants of Spring snow (big remnants!). After about 5km we were allowed to stop, according to the road signs.

Finally got to the Lodge, checked in and showed Doug where the kitchen was (he's good at stuff like that). I took charge of mixing the ingredients for the world's most expensive trail mix, for lunch the next day.

A game of Yahtzee in the communal lounge was all we had time for before the generator was switched off for the night and the lights went out (11pm).

Monday, October 04, 2004

Rainforest Motel - Fox Glacier - Salmon Farm - Haast (DESPERATE) - Wanaka (phew)

Doug was away early for a run to have a look at the Fox Glacier. We then got in the car and left our nice motel (lots of these motels have 2 bedrooms so are a bargain for multiple occupants!).

Pretty miserable day so we aimed to drive a lot. Our first stop was in Paringa at a salmon farm.

Salmon farm where you can feed the fish, and then go and eat some. Very nice cafe.

Next stop, was a 3km hike through some woods to a beach which is home to a fiordland crested penguin colony. Great walk through the woods, but they were indeed SHY penguins as we saw none (probably wrong time of day too, Penguins seem to come ashore at dusk).

Forest walk

Iconic new fern, also tasty bush tucker in this form (quite nutty) - perhaps why it is of importance to the Maori culture symbolising new beginnings, growth and harmony

AM on the beach

The shy penguins we didn't see

Art (by Doug) amongst driftwood a little further down the coast

More art (by Doug)

Silly picture (by Doug)

The low point of the day was looking for food in Haast. What a dump. If you are heading down this way I recommend you plan to avoid Haast and prepare yourselves for the long drive to Wanaka.

Finally arrived in Wanaka! Missed out on the wacky cinema because we were running a bit late but had an amazing feed and great service, and fantastic beer at the Kai Whakapai Café - highly recommended. Great veggie food especially, and did I mention the beer? This was recommended by the motel which we stayed at, which was also pretty good, the Brookvale motel (we have previously had some pretty awful motels in Wanaka).

News from the motel also suggested that the skiing was still great at the local resorts here such as Cardrona and Treble Cone.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Hokitika - Franz Josef Glacier - Fox Glacier - Cafe Neve

Went shopping in Hokitika first thing, nice place to look at Jade and suchlike.

Then headed off to the Franz Josef Glacier for a trip out there. Had a great time messing around in the glacier where claustrophobia seemed somewhat more of a problem than fear of heights, which worked well for me but less well for Ann-Marie!

Our guides split us into 2 groups, with Shane taking the more adventurous group. We nearly hestitated too long on that one because adventurous for a Kiwi is usually pretty exceptional, but this was all done by tourist standards so we were ok.

I'm just realising the differences between me and Doug are not limited to me being tall and dark and him being short and fair. There are differences in COOL too.

Doug in crevace

AM in crevace (less happy about it)

Carl in crevace, oddly ecstatic about it

Doug and AM on the glacier

Carl, once again happily getting soaked in an ice hole photo

Doug and AM making good their escape

We have to admitt that Shame was an EXCELLENT GUIDE. The guides talk to each other about which routes are accessible and which are filled with water as they wend through the glacier. Listening to the radio it was quite funny to hear Shane's colleagues recommend him avoid certain crevaces which were "filled with water" with his, "should be 'right" attitude. Several times he had to explain that the next few steps were a bit under the water line. One time the pond was so deep he braced himself across it and pushed us past him so we couldnt fall in. Very entertaining!!!

As we got off the ice we jumped in the car and headed a bit further south and ended up in the town associated with Fox Glacier. The place was pretty deserted so we were a bit miffed about the high rates being charged by motels which were clearly totally deserted with tumble weed blowing through the forecourt. So I suggest AM and Doug work hard to get a deal at the next one, which they duely did (though i never heard the last of it). Of course I couldnt drive a deal myself looking like I had been in a brawl (chin split open from skiing).

We managed to get a table at what we'd be told was the best cafe on the west coast, Cafe Neve. Really nice food and great service. The entertainment improved somewhat as we heard one chillean waitress say to the other in Spanish that she quite liked the German guy who just left. We timed well our comment "De donde eres?" (where are you from) and she screamed, and later explained that not many people speak spanish around there!

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Christchurch - Castle Hill Rocks - Cheeseman Skiing - Arthurs Pass - Hokitika - Glow Worm Dell

This is the first day of our holiday. We set off rather late due to a bit of a faff with gear, which is probably mostly my fault for not being ready.

However, after about an hour we arrived in Castle Hill a rock climber's bouldering heaven and generally nice place to muck about.

Carl on Castle Hill rocks

Competition for best artistic interpretation of tree amid rocks

Doug - "the karate kid" (on rocks)

Someone (Doug) said this looked like the sort of scenary used for dodgey photo shoots, this is dodgey photo shoot picture number 1

This is dodgey photo shoot picture number 2 (nude foot)

More civilised rock shot!

Next we decided to head towards Mt Cheeseman for a spot of spring skiing at one of the club fields. We discovered that Cheeseman is not very easy for beginners. This is mainly due to the cat tracks which are essentially the only ways down the bottom part of the runs - quite tricky. Didn't much like the lack of friendliness of the club scene here either but perhaps they were a bit off as it was the last day of skiing. Certainly prefered the Lyford club ski field more.

Cheeseman not good for beginners - the evidence

Injuries didn't prevent us messing about

Next we headed off through Arthurs Pass to Hokitika to a nice motel we'd stayed at before called the Jade Court Motel.

At the motel we enquired about the local Glow Worm Dell. The girl there said she hadnt noticed any glowworms there last time she went, but she admitted there were other things on her mind at that time (hmm).

We had more luck and saw lots of glow worms down there, very interesting.

Doug played a pretty good stunt on us and really caught Ann-Marie with it (we could tell because she punched us quite hard). The glowworms were quite hard to see and were fenced off. Doug showed us one on the path but saying we could get a better look at it. This one glowed pink not green though - it was in fact the glow keyring on our car keys!

This was actually the second time today we'd caught AM out. Doug has some crazy sausage shaped sandbags filled with silicone to put in smelly boots to remove the moisture. I managed to convince AM they were a training aid for running that you wear on your running top to work the arms. OUCH, i got punched for that one too!

Overall a fun day. We nearly missed out on food but found something willing to serve after 8.30 (I kid you not). This was a place called the filling station on account of it being an old garage.