We made a big name sign to meet Aimee at the airport but while we were waiting we noticed a group of people with loads of balloons, face paint and looking very excited. We instantly thought a celebrity would be landing, but after speaking to them we found out it was the local rugby team flying back from Bangkok with a tournament trophy. Although not as exciting, the offer of staying around for the celebration party with the young, single (and good looking) players was tempting, but unfortunately we had to decline.
After Aimee met Betty we set off for John and Sue's in Ashburton, a couple that stayed with Sam's family in the Isle of Man. It was a nice drive until we entered the outskirts where a big rain cloud appeared and lashed it down for 15-20 minutes. We met Sue at a pub then followed her to the house so we didn't get lost and after John finished golf, we went down to their local for a few drinks before returning back to an amazing roast dinner with real gravy (just what we have been craving!). This is when Dani discovered that she can add corn to the new food she likes list.
The following day John and Sue were both working so we had a lazy morning, then at lunchtime when they came home we got directions and keys for their holiday home in Twizel. They offered for us to stay there a few days over the weekend while they were checking on the house, and this worked out really well as it was on route and Dani wanted to visit some family contacts who own a café there.
Now, when we left we checked we had everything (map, keys etc) so thought we would arrive late afternoon, but 40 minutes into the journey our windscreen was hit by a stone as a massive lorry sped past, causing a huge stone chip infront of the driver. After ringing the campervan company and realising we had to pay for it, we were even more annoyed to find out that the closest place to fix it was back in Ashburton, great!
After passing the picturesque turquoise blue Lake Tekapo, we eventually arrived in Twizel but $50 lighter =( That night we had a few drinks and went to meet John and Sue in the pub where we were introduced to their friends, Jeff and Warren, (two brothers who used to play rugby for the South Island) who offered to take us out on their boat the next day. The following morning John and Sue took us to Mount Cook, which is the highest mountain in New Zealand. On the way we passed Lake Pukaki, one of the many gorgeous lakes in the area that we were left amazed by. Picture this: the largest crystal blue lakes at the foot of snow capped mountains on a bright sunny day.. Absolutely amazing!
We drove into the National Park and went to the Hermitage Centre for amazing views, before going on a 20 minute hike to see the Tasman Glacier. That afternoon we met Jeff and Warren and went out on Lake Ohau with their speedboat. Aimee screamed constantly as we drove 60 mph around the lake! We thought they were going to stay out after taking us out but they had come especially to take us, which we thought was lovely. When we got back into town we headed over to Poppies café to see Dani's family friends. We sat and had a drink with them in the garden and Dani finally got to open her Christmas presents. She was so excited and really happy with all the lovely presents she got from everyone, thank you! Elaine and Keith also sent Sam a present which is going to be a lot of fun on this trip, travel Trivial Pursuit =)
That night the game was used and as predicted was lots of fun! Aimee wasn't very good at it (mainly due to her alcohol consumption) so we all decided to help her, but this backfired when she ended up winning. It was getting late when we finished the game but we decided to go to the pub for a quick drink. on teh way we bumped into Jeff and Warren and thanked them again, and as we were leaving Aimee tried to rugby tackle one of them, clearly she'd forgotten they used to play!
When we got to the pub it was pretty dead and the stupid, sour faced barmaid who had asked for ID the previous night, did it again. Clearly she was on a power trip because we doubt there are many other British girls she could of confused us with in the tiny town of Twizel. After a couple of drinks we got speaking to a group of lads who were on a weekend trip from Dunedin and after a few games of pool we arranged to catch up for drinks in Dunedin the following day as that was our next stop.
The next morning we said goodbye and a big thank you to John and Sue and set of for Dunedin. Just as we were pulling out of Twizel, we saw a girl hitchhiking and although we weren't going to Wanaka we offered her a lift part of the way. When we reached highway 83 it wasn't long before we picked up our second hitchhiker, a lad from Estonia called Caarl. Again we weren't going to his destination, but we dropped him off as close as we could. But that wasn't the last of our hitchhikers, we collected our third one of the day about an hour outside Dunedin, which was a young lad called Cody who was going to see his Dad.
Dunedin, which is the Gaelic word for Edinburgh, was just like Scotland, cold and wet. Cody showed us around a bit before we dropped him off, and even took us to the worlds steepest street. Sam really wanted to drive up it mainly because Harley said the camper wouldn't make it and she wanted to prove him wrong, but the girls weren't having any of it!
We had a walk round and found an Irish pub for some tea and drinks. We left having a good feed but it wasn't until we were walking down the street that we realised we hadn't paid, oops! None of us dare go back so we made a quick exit back to the camper. We arranged to meet a couple of the lads from the previous night for a drink and after looking for somewhere open (New Zealand doesn't have Sunday Sessions!), we settled at a small bar in the Octagon. This is where we met a crazy lady who was possibly the loudest and most embarrassing person we have met so far.
After a few drinks it was getting cold so we went back to their house for more (cheap) drinks. Aimee and Dani decided to go to bed, Aimee extremely excited about her first night in the camper, while Sam stayed up and played drinking Trivial Pursuit with the lads and their house mates. It was a very good game that kept everyone entertained until 7am when it was decided bed would be a good idea as it was starting to get light. After a night in Dunedin, we set of for Queenstown, but not before what turned out to be a disastrous petrol stop. Aimee got out and started to fill up when Sam (luckily) noticed she was putting the petrol into the fresh water tank, argghh!! We started panicking as this was one thing they had told us we definitely must NOT do! Dani and Aimee then started pumping it through the tap to try and flush it out, but this made it worse as the camper began to stink of petrol! After calling the camper van company to hypothetically ask the question 'what would happen if you put petrol in the water tank?' they told us we would have to replace the whole tank at a cost of $400!! We were told to try and pump it through the system, not to use the water and take it the camper to the depot asap.
Needless to say we weren't 'happy campers'. But because we've got things booked in Queenstown and Franz Josef, we haven't got time to go back to Christchurch so are going to leave it until we pass back through in a weeks time. So in the meantime we are left without any water, surely 7 days without water wont be too bad??