NZ Day 14 & 15: Glentunnel & Castle Hill

Day 14 Glentunnel

The Australian middle schoolers are obsessed with the camp cat. I wish I could be obsessed with them.

The weather was a lot better than yesterday so we were hopeful as we started making our ascent to mount cook. But soon it was pouring again. We couldn’t see any mountains because of all the clouds. So we turned around and started our way back towards Glentunnel near Christchurch. As soon as we got off the road to mt. Cook it was sunny. We found a good filming spot and pulled to the side of the road to do some 5 sec shorts. I will share them with you soon. I made a sign that said “Mordor” with an arrow on it. We put it on a stop sign for filming. When we left I wanted to keep it there. But becca is more environmentally conscious than I so we took it down.

Then as we were passing lake tekapo it was amazingly gorgeous. So we stopped to take a time lapse and eat lunch. So did everyone else minus the time lapse. It was so beautiful with the blue glacial lake and the mountains in the background and these purple and pink flowers sticking up near the edge of the lake. Becca was smart and went further down away from the edge of the road to set up her camera. Less Asians or NZ men with dogs unawaringly roaming in front.

We finally arrived in Glentunnel for our last day of campervanning. We stayed at a free campsite with a sign that had a meter indicating low toxic algae risk. We figured it was okay since it was low.

Then we made dinner, enjoying the sun. Later that evening when it was dark out we watched “Let it snow” on Netflix that we downloaded when we had WiFi last, to help us remember that Christmas is during winter in the States and not during summer. If you haven’t already watched this Netflix gem of a movie then I am seriously reconsidering our friendship. I learned the true meaning of Christmas which is that celebrities have feelings too.

You might be wondering… “but Lena what are you eating while in said camper van?” The answer is hummus sandwiches and freeze dried backpacking meals. Plus chips! We’re averaging 1.25 bags a day. We are also sick of hummus and veggie sandwiches even though they are quite good.

At the beginning of the camper van phase of this trip we got a 6 pack of Bunderberg Australian brewed sodas. They are now all gone. Becca and I ranked our favorites.

My top two are Pina colada and Burgundee (sort of like red cream soda). Becca’s was Burgundee and Passionfruit. Both of our least favorite was Lemon Lime Bitters. We don’t know why that’s a flavor that is popular here. The middle flavors were ginger and sasparilla. Good but not unique.

Day 15 Castle Hill

Drove to castle hill today. It’s a bunch of large rocks sticking out of a mountain. It was really cool looking. It sort of felt like Stonehenge. We decided this would be a good place to film one of our LOTR re-enactments. If I could summarize the South Island in one word it would be “wind”. There was so much of it I thought I was going to blow away a few times. We had to anchor beccas camera down in order to film my excellent Gandalf impression in between wind bursts. I decided wind is my least favorite nature. I was worried beccas camera would film me tipping over backwards while acting. It probably would have made for a better take and I was willing to let it happen, for the fans… but I’m glad I stayed upright.

Then we went to the car to hide from the wind and ate lunch. Hummus veggie sandwiches. The last of our bread and produce. It was better viewing the rocks from the safety of the car. But becca did try to take a time lapse. We don’t think it turned out well because the wind was very strong despite us putting a gallon of water weight on her tripod plus it started to rain in the middle of it. It was still gorgeous and well worth the drive.

Then we headed into Christchurch to drop off the van, Earl-Eowyn-Shadowfax we named her. I’m glad we weren’t directly boarding a flight after drop off. Many other people were. The rental place even has showers in their facilities for people if they need. We just needed an Uber to our hotel for the next 5 days.

We got picked up by our Uber driver who of course was driving a Prius. He was from Fiji and wasn’t wearing any shoes. He did have a nice twisty rat tail going for him. That plus the no shoes made me recognize him as a Jedi. I felt safe riding with him. We asked him what fun things we should do in Christchurch. He said “drink beer”. I thought this was a silly answer, as drinking beer is the best thing to do in ANY city.

We then arrived at our hotel. Double Tree. We used points to book our stay here and we were treated royally which probably looked weird to onlookers since we had just come from camping for 10 days and probably didn’t look like the type to be Hilton Gold members. We got two bottles of water and a cookie. The water is $4.50 for other guests (and probably cost the hotel $0.50) so we felt pretty special.

Once we settled in we went in search of food. One of the helper ladies downstairs told us a street to walk to where there are lots of asian restaurants. We went to that street and found Nando’s. Beccas favorite UK dining experience. At first becca thought it was Indian and dismissed it as we had Indian backpacking meals the night before. But then I saw the chicken and knew it was beccas favorite. So we ate there. Becca said she likes it in the UK better because they have mashed potatoes but in NZ they just have fries. Becca got a veggie burger with peri peri sauce and chutney. I got a regular peri peri chicken burger with a side of spicy rice. Becca likes this place a lot because they have extra sauce so add to your food. We experimented with each level of spicyness. By the end we weren’t sure what was hot anymore. It was a good way to clear the sinuses.

Then we went back to the hotel room and crashed onto our comfy soft non-camper van beds.

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