Random fact of the day: It is (apparently) illegal to take a picture at a petrol station in New Zillund. Of anything.

I know, right? So after taking these pictures I got a warning from a very bossy female petrol station shop attendant with the bestest mullet ever. Pity I didn’t get a pic of her…

But I did capture Ryan trying his best at cleaning our mom-van’s windows.

Once we got past this ponderous hurdle, we managed to make our way to the Whakapapa (“Wh” prounounced as an F) region for some skiing.

It’s hobbit-land-green and the landscape features endless rolling hills for about 3hours out of Auckland until Mt Ruapehu suddenly pops up on the horizon like a low white cloud.

Before you know it you’ve gone from hobbit-land to snowy-moon-land. But that’s volcanic rock. Equally weird looking though.

This time I ghot a proper (read: NOT Matt Pearce) instructor and had a little more fun. As you can see the weather was glorious and they had a big dump (of snow) the day before *crowd goes WIIIIILD*.

No incriminating evidence of me attempting to snow-plough here though, you saw enough of that on SuperSport after our visit to Snowplanet.

And then they closed the slopes at 4pm


On we drove, to Taupo ( prounounced toe-paw) and there, in the middle of rural New Zillund we found a Souf Efrican mechanic. Have a closer look at the text on the white sign next to the Springbok…

Toe-Paw is a nice looking place, the hills on the left are the far-away mount Ruapehu where we went skiing.

With it’s beautiful Lake Taupo it reminds me of Knysna quite a bit… pity about the people though.

Unbeknownst to us to, Vata Ngobeni got cornered in a pub in Toepaw the night before. He was taken to a police station and searched for allegedly being a drug dealer , besides being a South African journo of course…  But back at the ranch on our excursion night fell and off to town we went, in search of a pub to grab a burger and maybe watch some rugby.

Pity we chose The Shed, where Vata had his run-in with the 5-0.

We ordered some food, had a drink, chatted, watched rugby, had another drink, asked about our food, exchanged NZ sightseeing tips with some other Saffa travellers, watched rugby, asked about our food, watched rugby, stopped ordering drinks, watched some rugby, stared at the ceiling, checked Twitter for the umpteenth time and then….the manager came up to us.

Now, over an hour had passed since we ordered and after a day on the slopes we were staaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarving.

Did the manager say “Good evening, how are you?”             Nope.

Did he say “can we get you guys some drinks?”                      Nope.

Did he say “everything all right here?”                                       Nope again.

He barked at me: “Show me your ID”

Not please. Just those 4 words.

I should probably have felt flattered that at the ripe age of 25 someone would card me, but I was way too hun-cranky (lethal combination of hungry and pissed off cranky). Then Ryan stepped in and gave our friend a piece of his mind about the fact that he should perhaps manage the kitchen a little more, and manage us a little less. Or something to that effect.

Then Mr 3foot-5inch-tall Manager started snarling at 6foot-6inch-tall Ryan and made the mistake of rather seriously asking if Ryan was my father (we look about the same age, because we are about the same age).

Wrong move, mate.

The conversation derailed properly from here on in, with both me and Ryan having a go at Mr Hobbit about giving our money back (you have to pay for your food order up front) so that we may leave and go graze elsewhere. We finally got out of there with the cash in hand. Whoop.

Interestingly enough our mate and colleague Matt Pearce had a similiar kind of run-in at a decidedly more up-market establishment in town, around the same time. He was – in no uncertain terms – asked to vacate the premises besides being a paying, well-attired customer.

Oh, and then did I mention that if you order your morning coffee in Toe-Paw and the cashier rings your order up wrong, you don’t get to complain about it. It also will not be changed for the cappuccino you actually asked for.

The customer, after all, isn’t ever right in Toe-Paw.

Just always right everywhere else in the world.

Needless to say, this spoiled our experience of the place just a tad.

At least we have some spectacular pictures to remember it by (well done Mother Nature):

Huka Falls.

This is the Waikato river that flows from Mount Ruapehu, into lake Taupo, and then on through the northwest and empties into the Tasman Sea south of Auckland.

Waikato is the Maori word for “flowing water” and man does it flow!

About 200 000 litres of water plunge over these rocks every second – enough to fill 5 olympic swimming pools every minute.

Awe. And then some.

That’s it for now. Good morning, and depending on where in the world you are when reading this: good afternoon, good evening and good night!