I woke up and went for a walk round Wellington CBD. When I got to the dock area I saw a helicopter city tours company, so I decided to go for it. Unfortunately they had a policy of a minimum of two passengers, so I had to pay double for the trip, but it was worth it. I love helicopters and I got a pretty good view of the city. When I got back to the hotel I decided to get back to Auckland.
Now I’m back in Auckland I’m feeling pretty lazy. It’s been a really busy 8 days…
I guess I need to say a big thanks to the 14 year old Nissan Bluebird that got me round the country with very few mishaps…
Day 6. The weather in Fox Glacier wasn’t good enough for a helicopter trip, so I started early for the ferry back to the north island. It’s a pretty long drive, so I thought I might struggle to make the last ferry, but as it was I managed to get there in plenty of time. So I ended up spending the night in Wellington.
Day 5. Today started out with a trip over to Dunedin Hospital to see some of the guys I met at the NZOUG conference in Rotorua. Tim Cleminson had invited me along to have an informal chat with the team about all things Oracle. Anyone who has met me knows once I get started I won’t stop until I get escorted from the building, so it was fun for me at least. 🙂
From there I got straight into the car and started out for Fox Glacier, which was a rather strange trip. Initially the weather was really good, but as I got to Central Otago it got very windy, to the point where I was getting a bit nervous about driving. I had a bit of car trouble about 150km from Fox Glacier, see below, then the rain, fog and wind came in big time while I was in the rain forest. Just as I got to Fox Glacier the weather cleared so I went straight out to check it out. No sooner had I finished and the heavens opened again.
I’m booked on a flight over Fox Glacier tomorrow, but I don’t think the weather is going to be good enough to get the helicopter in the air. Fingers crossed.
Now to the car trouble, which is really rather spooky. A couple of days ago I was in Queenstown and I got this weird urge to buy a knife… I know that makes me sound like a total psycho, but that’s what happened. Quite bizarrely I acted on this impulse and bought a cheap camping knife and after thinking, “What a bloody stupid thing to do!”, I packed it in my case and thought no more about it. Fast forward to today and my car trouble. After a few really heavy gusts of wind I started to hear a funny noise coming from the driver side front wheel. Thinking that my wheel was coming off, I stopped the car and noticed part of the plastic from the wheel arch had come away and was rubbing on the tyre. There were three clips holding it in place, but two had broken. There was no way to fix it back on, so I had to try and remove it or remain stranded. After pulling and wiggling it for a few minutes I decided there was no way I was getting it off without some tools. Then a little light went ping in my head. I opened the boot and got out my knife, sliced off the offending plastic flap and went on my way. A total Twilight Zone experience. Just goes to show, nothing in life is a coincidence… 🙂
PS. Stan and Michelle, I owe you a new plastic wheel arch panel on your car (The Bomb). I have a feeling the repair will cost more than buying a new car. 🙂
Day 4 was going to be a quick drive to Invercargill, then on to Dunedin. Instead I took the long route.
Google says about 8 hours 40 minutes, which was about right, with a couple of diversions. I’m glad I added the extra miles because it’s a really cool route.
It’s Labour Day today, so most places were closed on my route. I was expecting to see some life at Invercargill, but it was a bit of a ghost town due to the holiday, so I didn’t stay long.
Fortunately, Dunedin was really busy. It’s a University town so there were students milling around everywhere. It was really hot today and I was a bit burnt from the Milford Sound trip yesterday, so I tried to stay out of the sun. What few photos I did take of Dunedin are either suffering from bad glare or bad shadow. Looks like a really nice place and the areas around it, like the Otago Peninsula, are really cool too.
I’m pretty tired of driving now, but tomorrow is a long haul. Google says only 6 hours, but I think it’s going to be more like 9. Also, I’m meeting up with some guys in Dunedin in the morning, so I won’t get to start until later in the day.
I got on a Fly-Cruise-Fly trip from Queenstown to Milford Sound this morning. It started off with a flight to Milford Sound in this little plane. Then a cruise on Milford Sound. We then flew back to Queenstown. Later on I went to check out Arrowtown.
I left Rotorua and drove to Auckland via Tauranga where I met an old work buddy (Antony). We had a walk along the boardwalk to check out the beach, then walked round Mount Wanganui. That gave us enough time to do the nostalgia bit before we headed back to his place so I could meet his wife and chat about the differences between England and NZ. 🙂 Tauranga is a really nice looking place.
The next day I drove back to Auckland and planned on kicking back for a week before starting my trip down the south island. I checked my flight times and realized I only had 3 weeks left, not 4 weeks, so I got in the car pretty sharpish and headed down to Wellington.
I stopped off at Palmerston North on the way to meet another old work buddy (Jeremy). I’ve not seen him for maybe 10 years. Crazy how time flies.
I didn’t have time to check out Wellington (I’m doing that on the way back), I just got on the ferry and headed down to the south island.
Day 1 started with the ferry trip to Picton, followed by the drive to Christchurch then Timaru.
Everything is so massive and cool. I can’t get over how thick the vegetation is. I did the trip from Christchurch to Timaru in the dark because I wanted to make up a little time, hence the lack of photos after Christchurch and the surrounding areas.
Day 2 started with the trip to Queenstown.
I can’t describe how cool the journey to Queenstown is. If you weren’t seeing it for yourself you would assume some of the scenes were face.
I’m hoping to get a flight to Milford Sound tomorrow. If that happens I will stay another day in Queenstown. If not, I will have to drive there, which will take another day.
NZOUG Day 1 seemed to go pretty well. My talk went OK, and the guys from Quest gave me some more Toads to shoot out into the audience. In the evening we all went out for a Skyrides and Luge trip. The Luge rides were cool, but I nearly fell out at one point.
On the last luge run you had to carry a cup of water, with the person spilling the least winning a prize. Francisco Munoz Alvarez got some shots off me. Here’s a couple of shots of Francisco and his son.
The luge runs were followed by food and a quiz. My team came 4th from bottom and I was unable to answer most of the questions about the UK. 🙂
It was a great night out, but I feel really tired today! I guess I better go and prepare for my second presentation now…
I’m currently at the Rotorua conference, so this will be a quick post. I had a quick look round yesterday.
Lake Rotorua. Mud Pool at Waiotapu. Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake). Lake Rotokakahi (Green Lake). Lake Tarawera…
Are you spotting a pattern? Lots of water and lots of green. 🙂
I’ve done almost nothing since arriving in New Zealand. I’m staying with friends and I’ve managed to busy myself chatting and playing with their 7 month old baby. She has a cold so I’ve been used as a human tissue and yesterday I got covered in projectile vomit. My arm, shirt and foot got a liberal coating of partially digested milk. 🙂
I leave for the conference tomorrow, then I guess I better start organizing my sightseeing or I’ll end up doing nothing…
I was part way through watching The Incredible Hulk on the flight to New Zealand when my “Individual On-Demand System” crashed and restarted. I watched with geeky pleasure as Linux booted up. I couldn’t tell the exact version, it went too quick, but I saw “Red Hat” in the text and there was a picture of Tux… 🙂
I’m in New Zealand now, chilling out at a mates house for a few days before starting the New Zealand Oracle User Group conference.