I lost my camera and had to use an iPhone for these photos, in case you were wondering..
12PM flight from Tulla to Christchurch. Head to the Airport with Alex – Steve and Pete come a bit later – Try some smooth scotch through Duty Free (Pete buys 2 1Lt bottles of Chivas Regal) and then jump on the plane for the 3 and a half hour flight or something. Gotta love how Jetstar charge you if you want to sit next to your mates..so we were pretty scattered. Steve and Alex up the front, Pete and I up the back.
We land around 530PM and get a cab to our motel near Christchurch. Check in and get our stuff sorted. Headed out to the Christchurch casino – which was the only thing to do really. The city is still in ruins, the main CBD area isn’t even open. Very surprising considering the earthquake was in February – We just never hear about it in the news anymore so assume that all is OK.
The casino was fun, won some money on the Roulette table, had some dinner.. Its good how laid back the place was. We were lounging around the pokies area – Pete was almost horizontal at once stage – and no one even cared.. We spent a bit of time out in the “Smoking Garden” and met a few locals. These two blokes were pretty interesting characters. One of them licked beer off the ground for $20 that this other NZ local put up – TWICE. Dirty dirty dirty. Hilarious for us though.
Walked out of the casino pretty late..must have been about 4am – Jumped in a cab and went back to the hotel – Where I left my camera in the cab. Stupid. Spent the next 45 minutes calling all the cab companies in Christchurch with no luck. Travel insurance will come in handy here. I need to organise a letter from the cab companies where they state that all has been done to find it.
A few hours after getting to sleep, I wake up at about 5:30AM to the room SHAKING! There was a 5.1 magnitude earthquake that rocked us for a good 15 secounds. Didn’t feel anything like the Japan quake, more of shaking this time. Earthquakes seem to be following me around at the moment.
Time to pick up the rental. Cabbed it to Ace Rentals near the Airport, sorted out a silver Subaru Legacy and started the 95km drive out to Methven, the ‘gateway’ to Mt Hutt – A fairly easy drive – NZ roads are pretty good, the scenery was lots of green farmland and obviously, Sheep, grazing around the place.
Got to Methven, checked in at our accomodation which was above the Blue Pub (Across the road from the Brown Pub) and took the 40min drive up to Mt Hutt to check out the roads Got up the 3/4 up the mountain and visibility was shit, the guys fitting chains told us it wasn’t worth it so went back down to Methven.
Had a lot of drinks that night, crashed out about 3am with the music beneath us still blaring.
The Blue Pub has AWESOME nachos too by the way.
Snow time. Went to Big Al’s and rented our gear, took the drive up at about 10am. Spent most of the day getting familar with a board beneath my feet, thankfully it was much easier this time (being the 3rd time ever). Had lunch around 1230PM at the bistro area – Beef Deluxe burger was impressive.
Alex and Steve spent most of their time on the magic carpet beginners area, while Pete and I hit up the Quad lift most of the time. His leg’s been cactus for the past few weeks, but still got a decent amount of runs in.
A cool think about NZ is the lift pass system, MyPass – It’s an RFID system that you just leave in your jacket pocket and pass through gates. Really simple and it even tracks statistics for you.
By the end of the day I was pretty confident on my heels, just needed to do more stuff toe-side. We were all pretty buggered so left the mountain around 330PM to avoid the rush at the end of the day.
Got back to the Blue Pub and had some dinner and watched a ska band called Rubix Cuba which played in the bar. Went a little easier on the drinks this night, however the others didn’t.. Pete got called out for actually knowing the words to Bodyjar cover the band played..I was surprised no one else knew the words either to Not The Same…Are we that old? haha..
Woke up at 930AM – The others were pretty ratshit from the night before… I went to the supermarket and got some breakfast. By about 1000AM the guys were going to stay in bed so I made the decision to drive up to Mt Hutt on my own..I went across to Big Al’s and checked the snow report – Road was CLOSED! I got my gear ready anyway and waited for the road to open, which was about 12PM by then. Jumped in the car and got stopped at the base of the mountain road – I was lucky to make it up as they were only letting up big 4WDs – After a little wait there the grit truck came down and must have cleared something and I was allowed to go up with the chains on.
The Subaru Legacy we had was awesome in the snow. For the first part of the mountain I followed the grit truck (which I was happy to do) and then he waved me past… The whole trip took about 40 minutes. When I got to the carpark it was pretty empty compared to the day before. Windy as well. I seriously would not have any other car while in these conditions over here. The thing stuck to the road and even when I was trying to get it to step out, it just kept going.. A RWD/FWD car would just suck arse here. So if you’re going to do a snow trip over here and get a rental, get a Suby.
Got my lift pass, discounted because it was past 1230 already and headed up the quad lift for a bit of a run. Came down Highway 72 and my face nearly froze, the wind was crazy cold and I had no mask – Also visibility was pretty low with the white gust blowing across me. By the time I made it down, went straight to the shop and bought a bandana to cover my face..which made a huge difference. I took the six chair to the Summit once, the conditions up there were even more crazy! Went down the Morning Glory run through to Highway 72 – From then I just did the Quad Chair up to the start of Broadway and Highway 72 and hit those up for the rest of the day. Happy with my progress, got my toe side stuff pretty good, going natural and switch.. So it should be like riding a bike now right?
I left the mountain about 345PM and gave a guy a lift down back to Methven, he commented on my driving ability actually. Had a good chat about various car fatality stories and during the drive down, I saw in my rear view a Honda CRV that was pointing towards the cliff edge after spinning out 90 degrees..scary shit!
The rest of the night was pretty chilled. We had some dinner over at Dom’s across the road. Kebab for the win, they a cool brick wall there where visitors from all over had used chalk to leave their mark.
Steve and Pete met a bloke who took them over to the Brown pub so Alex and I met them over there. The guys were talking to these two females that they had met – They were up here for a fishing trip and to check out a few bits and pieces in town. Was good to meet a few locals and get their view on the whole earthquake situation, how life is, etc.
Very mellow mood too which was great, no one was trying to hit on anyone, everyone was just there for a few beers and a good chat.
My body was absolutely smashed from the two days up the mountain. My quads and abductors have never felt so much pain! Stretching helped, and recovery was pretty quick thankfully.
So came the end of our Methven stay. We headed back to Christchurch where it was snowing like a mofo, checked into our accomodation at the Aloha Motel (Free Wifi there..recommended!) and we all cooked a good hearty mexican dinner.
Got supplies from Countdown – which is the NZ equivalent of Woolworths/Safeway – Another one of those funny little differences here. Not to mention the trundler for trolleys!
Due to the snow the flights were delayed so the boys were a bit on edge as to whether they would actually get out or not. I dropped them off around 730am and was pleased to hear they boarded around 10am.
So now all that is left is work until Friday lunchtime where I will finally get to fly home and reunite with the much missed wife and little cat.
About $680 not inc. food/drink/booze for the 4 of us for 5 days in NZ.
Jetstar flight to NZ via Melbourne – $270
Ace Car Rentals – Subaru Legacy Wagon w/ Chains/Roofracks for 5 Days- $303NZD + $90NZD petrol = $77AUD p.p
Mt Hutt Lift pass = $91NZD for full day, $61NZD for half day Sunday (slept in) = $120AUD p.p
Big Al’s in Methven – Board/boots hire for Saturday and Sunday = $60AUD p.p
Accomodation @ The Blue Pub in Methven for Friday, Saturday and Sunday night = $70AUD p.p
Motels for Thursday and Monday night = $70AUD p.p
Taxi’s = $20p.p
There’s a few more photos in the flickR set here.
Tips for next time:
Take 2-way radios – Way easier to communicate on the mountain and in general. I had some small uniden units which would have been perfect, if you are in a couple of separate groups.
Be careful about booking early trips out (<8AM) and renting a car, as dropping it off may be an issue if they aren't open yet..