NZ10+ : Day 21 : TE ANAU to QUEENSTOWN

Quite simply some of the longest and most bored hours of my entire life. Thank goodness a party in Queenstown waited at the other end!

Sunday 06/04/08 

(Writing on the 9th)

Currently writing this in a curry house in Christchurch. The same chain as the one curry house I went to in Queenstown, as it was so good. I can’t risk another bad curry…

So, my plan to get some alone time in Te Anau worked out too well.

It was Sunday, and the whole place was dead, and there was absolutely nothing to do. Things were off to a bad start when I found out that the bike-hire shop was closed. So, I moped around, went to get breakfast in a little Café that I found, but that had dodgy hotdog sausages and not the real deal. Still, I sat down to write my postcards. But of course, after finishing them and wanting to send them off, I of course find the Post Office was closed.

At a total loss, I wandered into a Tourist Information Centre for some inspiration…

(Writing on the 10th)

(Sorry, it is now 10th, and I am predictably enough writing much delayed entry whilst having a beer, outside a bar in Christchurch. Ate loads of curry, a massive portion, so I took it back to the hostel in a doggy bag. Then bought FHM to read myself to sleep, totally forgetting I had a PSP for entertainment)

I wandered into Te Anau’s Tourist Information Centre, and enquired about Lord Of The Rings (LOTR) tours. Perhaps the boredom of the day helped me make the decision to fork out the relatively large amount of $300 to do the tour. I then went to a pub (shock horror) where everybody was eating roast dinner around me. I had two pints and was feeling a little giddy. I found the local cinema which was only showing one film at 2pm. “Death At A Funeral.” As it started, I thought it was another look at the British being all posh and upper class. Turned out to be quite funny, and the Intermission was quite a charming surprise.

After the film, I was still at a total loss to do anything. I went for a very windy stroll around the lake, before grabbing my bag from the hostel locker and waiting in anticipation by the park for Mangee to collect us. A few other hikers must have been staying in Te Anau, and were using this bus to get back into Queenstown. Fortunately, he played the film Superbad on the coach TV, which passed the journey time.

I got back to Queenstown about 8-ish, rang the guys, and met them in their room for some Goon. I also nipped out for a Fergburger, and maybe because of the hype, I didn’t see what all the fuss was about. Perhaps I just hyped it up too much.

It was a relatively quiet night, went to Altitude (next to the Base hostel) first for cheap drinks, then headed around the corner to a bar called Buffalo’s. Was the last time I saw Ciara and the Manchester lads, although Ciara could be in Christchurch tonight. I creeped off around 12-1am-ish, as the next day I had to be up for my LOTR “Trails of Middle Earth” Tour.

SOUNDTRACK: “Going Nowhere” by Oasis.


A relatively short entry to describe what felt like the longest 24 hours of my life. This was the age before the smart phone. Any books I had on me, had been read. Any films I had to watch or games I had to play on my PSP, had been watched and played. Anything to do in that town, was either closed, or further afield than I could get on foot.

To this day, out of boredom, I honestly do not remember if I paid to see that film twice.

It’s a shame, as the pics I took describe a very picturesque looking place. Indeed, a walk around the lake sounds like a great all-day thing to do, but the bad weather seemed to kick in just as I decided I had wanted to go on such a walk. The idea of 24 hours to kill in a small quiet village sounds brilliant at this point in my life, but until one is stuck in a small town with nothing to do, and nobody to speak to, I don’t think the bone crushing density and weight of every minute dragging on and on and on is really appreciated. Time flies when you are having fun – it dies when you are trapped in the middle of nowhere, waiting for a Bus.

Te Anau had one saving grace in that it prompted me to look at booking my one and only proper New Zealand Lord of The Rings Tour. No doubt, massively prompted by the aforementioned boredom. When was the last time you were so bored, that you dropped $300.00 on a whim, for something to do the next day? I tried to compare a few LOTR tours via various pamphlets, and ultimately opted for one that boasted “over 20 locations” and that was only a short drive from the centre of Queenstown.

I knew from the DVD extras of the LOTR films themselves, and from a few folks that I had been speaking to in New Zealand, that the majority of the outdoor film locations either remained inaccessible to the general public by nature or design, or had little to no lasting markings or reminders that a film shoot ever took place there. Ethically, I totally agree with this – return the land back to the way you found it. For this reason, a second LOTR trip in a car or helicopter to the remote ‘mound’ near Mount Sunday, upon which Edoras (capital of Rohan) was built, seemed frivolous. Part of me thought that it might be nice to cover as many LOTR locations as possible, but ultimately, I decided to try the one first and reassess the option of a second tour later.

The “Trails of Middle Earth” tour included lunch, pick-up and drop-off, and promised lots of other Rohan set locations, as well as some from Gondor and Ithilien. I had only really skirted LOTR information or activities in my time in New Zealand so far, but now it was time to take the Mamukil by the horns…