This should actually be Day 1 and Night 2, but for the sake of simplicity, we’ll count the day His Royal Highness, Amanda and I took off for New Zealand as Day 1 instead. So this will be Day 2.
Due to the two-hour time-difference between Brisbane, Australia, and Christchurch, New Zealand, we had difficulty falling asleep on our first night there. To send us off to beddy-bye-land, we opted, perhaps unwisely, to watch a movie based on the true story of an Irishman who brings the Italian mafia to its knees. It was compelling TV, so we hardly noticed the time when we finally nodded off. I suspect when we did it was close to 3am.
Notwithstanding the few hours of rest we had, His Royal Highness brought back the hire car at 10am the next morning and we hit the road half an hour later. ACE Car Rentals wanted to saddle him with a Subaru Impreza that had done180 000km but he told them that if he’d wanted a bomb, he’d have paid for one instead. Upon hearing this, they tried to fob him off with $10 discount on each day’s rent, but he stuck to his guns and they gave him a newer Nissan Primeria. If you’ve never driven one, it’s very similar to a Honda Civic. Thanks to cheap Japanese imports, New Zealand drivers have access to cars in makes and models unavailable in Australia.
To break the seven and a half hour drive from Christchurch to Queenstown, the three of us stopped at Rakaia’s Salmon World for lunch. His Royal Highness had pan-fried Salmon with vegetables, Amanda had a kid’s platter containing cured meats and cheese and I had the first of many bowls of seafood chowder. In fact, I had so much seafood chowder this trip, I probably should have a post entitled, “The Hunt for the Best Seafood Chowder.”
Our meal came to NZD58. Fed up with all the processed food we’d been consuming since our arrival in New Zealand, we visited the New World Supermarket in Ashburton on our way south, for some fresh fruit to punctuate our coming meals. There, I came across a box of bright orangey roots, which I’ve since been told by my good friend Tania, a Maori of New Zealand, are yams. Tania claims they are delicious roasted, especially with a sprinkle of sugar. Unfortunately, the only time you will find them in stores is during winter.
As we headed south, we came across our first one-lane bridge. It’s the kind of bridge where cars on both sides have to take turns in order to cross.
On our marathon journey southwards, we stopped mid-afternoon at the picturesque Lake Tekapo. There, because of the blistering cold, the three of us were forced to buy beanies and gloves.
After yet more hours on the road, we took a break at Cromwell and had dinner at a local pub there. We were now less than an hour from our final destination, Queenstown.
Most standard pub meals come with chips. We found them hearty and filling. This whole meal came to NZD45. Amanda shared with us, as per normal.
In Queenstown, we were greeted by this wonderfully warm room at the Millennium Hotel. His Royal Highness likened it to sleeping in an oven, but I absolutely loved it. Through www.wotif.com it was NZD154 but the deal came with three full buffet breakfasts.