Hangovers vs Bushman Pete’s Wild West Museum. Needless to say, the hangovers take an early lead, and so Bushman Pete breaks out the Pig…

Tuesday 01/04/08

(Writing on the 2nd)

Needless to say, Tuesday morning was messy. I don’t know who/what/how we got out of bed, but we left our bombsight of a room and clambered on to the bus. I somehow ended up on the backseat of the coach, with it all to myself, and so I slept through until I woke up at Bushman Pete’s. I had read about this place in the guide, and I was looking forward to it. However, I know I wasn’t in a state to take it all in, and putting it lightly, none of the other guys could be considered “culture vultures” in the hungover state they were in either.

So, Bushman Pete leads us into his quaint museum and asks us to watch the most antiquated video in the world about the history of deer hunting in New Zealand. Laurence was being his cheeky self during Pete’s introduction on the bus, and again during the video. After the video, Stephen was ‘randomly’ chosen to throw bread at the pig to lure him out. In reality, Stephen more or less threw the bread out of the door! Luckily, the pig still came in to say hello.

Eventually, we get to Bushman Pete’s Café, and we were looking forward to a full English brekkie. Niall took some water from the fridge and had a swig before paying. There was a sign up on the fridge that said this wasn’t allowed, and typically it was Laurence who took the mick out of the policy to Bushman Pete’s face. So, when it was time for him to be served, Laurence was refused food by Pete himself for being too cheeky. Wasn’t much he could argue with really. Bushman Pete luckily didn’t seem to hold a grudge against the whole group, as he shouted over to me “It’s always a pleasure doing business with the New York Police Department” as I was wearing my NYPD shirt at the time.

After leaving Pete’s, I was weaving in and out of sleep, and so the arrival into Franz Josef was very surreal. We booked our hikes up the glacier for the following day, then checked into our hostel. The three Irish lads and myself immediately went to bed for a couple of hours! Laurence (who had been drinking cheap wine on the bus THAT morning) stayed in bed until 11:30pm. I got up mid-afternoon to grab the discounted Spag-Bol, which turned out to be not great; too cheesy, creamy and full of mushrooms and olives. That’s when Stephen and Niall turned up, and when I stopped writing my diary yesterday.

I developed a late beer headache, but everyone else was gearing up for another night out. I left them at 10:30-ish, went online, watched a little bit of Derren Brown on TV, then went to bed. The room was empty, and I locked it and slept lightly, assuming the three of them would be back fairly early, because they were due to be up at 7:30am for the hike. They ended up coming back at 3:30am… I should really carry on relating the events of today, but I think I will leave my Glacier adventure story until I am on the coach to Wanaka tomorrow.

SOUNDTRACK: “Duelling Banjos” by Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith, from the film “Deliverance.”


Yup, not much too add here from memory. It was the hangover to end all hangovers though. Bushman Pete probably appreciated the trade, but I got the distinct impression he had dealt with a hungover Poo-Pub-Party far too many times. His intro and manner were all a bit militant. I hope he was just having a bad day, and I did make a note in the diary of how much I was looking forward to the museum.

However, the Museum itself really is quaint – the features and information on offer were just totally mismatched to this particular audience. In fairness to Pete, he was absolutely 100% right to be standoffish with us, I don’t think all of us were hungover – some of the group were definitely still drunk.

Pete’s opening gambit was to force us all to watch a video about Deer Hunting. Ordinarily, I’d have loved to have watched a film. I suppose it was because the video was not a voluntary thing, that you could watch as you wandered around the Museum, it ended up getting us all off to the wrong start. Crucially, the video itself was just so dated, it honestly felt like a very clever spoof of an 80’s corporate video at points. At the time, we could not help but find it hilarious (further earning Pete’s ire) but looking back, it was a combination of serious subject matter mixed with an awful delivery.

The video pretty much summed up the situation thusly - New Zealand did not have a lot of deters natively. Then migrants brought them over, and the population on the South Island exploded. Eventually, they worked out that Europeans (Germans in particular) go nuts for Venison, and so the wild populace of millions of wild deer had to be rounded up for slaughter and to be put into farms. This sounds simple, but the video made it clear that the reality involved navigating wild terrain, wild animals acting out violently (in self-defence) and for reasons that I will have to be reminded of, a few blokes hanging out of helicopters with rifles. I jest in part, but Pete was being quite serious when he said lots of people had died in the process of turning New Zealand’s deer problem around.

You could tell that Pete was passionate about, and trying to honour the legacy of, the very genuine and noble pursuits that the original New Zealand ‘Cowboys’ had undertaken. I had enough maturity at the time to understand that, and to be sympathetic, but I was in the minority. He had to stop the video at one point due to some heckles from the group. Not saying who it was, but there’s no mistaking an Irish accent!

I think Pete then changed tactics, and tried to talk to the few people in the group who wanted to meet the animals. He had a few possums and a Pig, whose name I forget. He encouraged us to feed the pig and whatnot, but evidently at one point he left us to our own devices – with the pig. I say pig, this think was big, black, hairy and definitely had tusks. Like the rest of us, the pig looked as if he had been woken up too early, and so despite a few folks jovially slapping the pig on its rump (I didn’t like that) the pig genuinely didn’t seem to care a fig about any of us, as he looked just too damned tired.

We larked around for a bit taking pictures, but as soon as we discovered that Pete ran a café with a full cooked breakfast, the Museum was off. The incident with Pete barring Laurence from service is recalled above. It was funny, as it was Niall who ‘disobeyed’ the sign, but it was Laurence who got it in the ear for giving lip at the time, but also because Pete had sussed out who his mystery heckler had been all along. I’d like to think we all snuck Laurence an item off of each of our own plates at the time, so the poor guy got some food, but I don’t mention it above – maybe we didn’t! Sorry Laurence! Every hangover to their own I suppose.

A sickly hungover drive must have followed as we made our way into Franz Josef – Glacier Town! We were offered the chance to go up the Franz Josef glacier itself via one of two methods. A Hike, or a Heli-Hike, which literally means getting in a Chopper and landing on top of the thing. Being a bit more flush with the pennies than the rest of the gang, listening to my hangover and how tired I still was, and also not wanting to turn down the chance to say I’d been in a Helicopter for the second time in my life, I opted for the Copter and then mentally switched off for the rest of that day.
I do remember skulking round the hostel for a bit before I found the TV room showing ‘Derren Brown’ and wondering “what do people do in hostels or backpacking when you don’t go to the bar.” It probably says a lot that I call this night out for specifically being one not spent with a drink or six.

It was just what I needed though, and I do recall the gang getting in from their night out at a crazy hour, and feeling sorry for them – I knew they had the dedication to get up and do the trip, but I didn’t envy them for a double down hangover, as the Poo-Pub was barely 24 hours behind us.

I do remember liking the hostel and the town for its very deliberate ‘Alpine’ feel. Log cabins, roaring fires, great big social space in the bar (had a fair number of good lengthy chats with a few folks) and of course a much needed chilled out “night in” to charge up the batteries.