New Zealand Travelogue – Friday, 23rd October 2015

Soundtrack: Mary’s Prayer by Danny Wilson (I have no idea popped into my head)

Google Fit stats:

  • Activity: 1 hour 28 minutes
  • Distance: 5 km
  • Calories: 863
  • Steps: 9,301

Leaving Queenstown today, so we check out of The Whistler and head into the centre for a final dander. Enthusiastic Wayne lets us leave the car at The Whistler for a few hours even though we’ve checked out, which is handy.

The Whistler’s driveway. No idea how cars cope with Queenstown’s steep slopes in icy weather.

We look edfor somewhere for a cuppa but it was hard to find anywhere that wasn’t bunged. We ended up in Patagonia Chocolates – SWMBO had the 3-croissant option.

Here’s a puzzler – one that’s been bugging me for a few days now. Why do you get one-a-day antihistamines when they only last half a day? As you can maybe tell, the sand fly bites I got at Lake Moeraki are still bothering me. I bought some Anthisan (and some toothpaste, which we got through faster than expected) in a local chemist.

And then we went for a walk along the edge of Queenstown Park. Lovely scenery. Again.

Lovely scenery. Again.

SWMOB looking lovely

Queenstown selfie!

We headed to FergBurger for lunch. Apparently it’s a Queenstown institution – it’s famous for massive burgers, as far as I can tell. At least that was always the first thing anyone told us about the place. It was very busy, and really hard to get anywhere to wait for the burgers and eat them when they arrived. And we were queue-jumped by an Annoying Queue-Jumper. After a while we did get a table though, and AQJ didn’t so maybe that’s karma in action.

A FergBurger

Massive it was – too massive for either of us to finish our respective burgers. (We should’ve just bought one between two, we now know.) But it was tasty. Burgers can be a bit rubbish sometimes, especially where the company is known for something other than how tasty the burgers are. Some companies aim for value, some aim for portion sizes, some offer all-you-can-drink soft drinks… That can be a bad sign – the quality of the burger often suffers. The taste of the FergBurger was excellent though. I can see why it has survived so long now. It is worth braving the crowds for.

Then, back to The Whistler for the car and we’re off to Invercargill. This was a long drive – to quote Google Maps ‘Continue on State Highway 6 for 176km…’ – and considerably flatter than the previous drive! The wind definitely picked up during the journey. We could see the road markers vibrating – actually vibrating – in the wind. The drive itself was uneventful, with just one stop for a necessary cuppa.

We got to Invercargill and checked in, then headed straight out again. SWMBO mentioned there’s a general store here that has The World’s Fastest Indian. And after asking at the motel about it and checking it out online, we found it it was a 15 minute walk away and shutting in 45 minutes. We were leaving Invercargill before it opened tomorrow so this was our one chance! I did want to see it – I thought it was a charming film, even if I did forget Burt Munro was from Invercargill.

This was all very unexpected, to go from quiet, leisurely drive mode to yomp mode.

So we went to the E. Hayes store. It really is just a big hardware store, interspersed with a large collection of old bikes and cars. I really like that idea, and it feels a much nicer approach for these items than a museum.

Also, the store had the biggest chainsaw I have ever seen. The cutting blade must’ve been over 10 feet long. If I was a tree I’d uproot rather than face it.

There were lots of lovely old cars and lovely old bikes. And a moose!

Moose! (I think.)

And an unmodified version of what The World’s Fastest Indian originally looked like:

What ‘The World’s Fastest Indian’ originally looked like

They even have a replica of the aerodynamic shell of The World’s Fastest Indian that you can sit in.

SWMBO in The World’s Fastest Indian’s aerodynamic shell

Me and The World’s Fastest Indian’s aerodynamic shell

And here it is. The World’s Fastest Indian:

Me and The World’s Fastest Indian

The World’s Fastest Indian

I was very impressed, both with the store and the displays. It’s especially nice that it’s open and available to everyone – there’s no cost to go in and see any of this. (We made a donation to the charity, but it’s not a requirement and there was no pressure to do it – SWMBO had to ask where the donation box was, it was so low-key.)

That was a fun, totally unexpected experience.

We dandered back to the motel via a food store to buy something for breakfast tomorrow – we’re leaving early, before most places are open.

Then we had to leave the rental car back. We picked it up in Greymouth and were leaving it in Invercargill – I figured that would be expensive to do, but it was quite reasonable. And leaving it back with Thrifty was so easy – they were so easy to deal with it’s remarkable. I’m impressed with them and that wee Toyota Yaris automatic we drove.

We took a taxi back from the airport (where the car rental place was) to Louis’ Tapas. SWMBO had looked on Trip Advisor for somewhere here to eat and this was a great choice. By this stage SWMBO was so hungry she said the bread starter couldn’t come soon enough.

The waiting staff had a very hard time with the menus. Normally menus are so easy they’re unremarkable but the menus here were all on large blackboards. When a table was seated the big blackboards would be carried over to them for them to order from.

Why would they do that? It seems a terrible idea. Felt really sorry for the waiting staff having to lug those blackboards around all the time.

Anyway, after that we headed back for a relatively early night to set us up for the early ferry ride tomorrow.

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All the New Zealand Travelogue entries

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