To come right to the point of the headline: Fishing up at the stream on top of lake Tekapo it seems that while crossing one of these electric fences, I slammed my watertight Patagonia backpack to hard on the ground. Because some days later I realized that my 10-22 Canon EF-S does everything but focus and looking closely I discovered that there was more or less some kind of moving gap in the lens between the focus and the zoom unit. Ok something was broken. And this lens is not the built to be used as a priest as it is the legendary 70-200 2,8 USM IS II (btw. the most sexiest lens I own currently, it even made sharp pictures after a Canon service, but now it is one of my sharpest lenses). Shoot! After considering the pros and cons of a wide angle not working and having one, I considered to order a new one. I found one source that offers it even cheaper than at home. Thinking about an address to be delivered was the more complex part. As we have no resident address down around Queenstown and the only person we know is most of the time on the rivers to guide. The only constant and definitely to be visited address was Gantleys restaurant (one of the best restaurants in NZ). I called them and babbled something like “we know nothing, but one thing is for sure, we will have dinner one night at your restaurant – may I use your address as my post box?” The helpful answer was “yes!” Thus I ordered and hope for the fresh 10-22 to arrive in time for the dinner.
Demolition part two. Driving out of Ahuriri was not really rough, it was just a bumpy metaled road. But arriving in Cromwell at the gas station I was looking at the right back tier and saw it close to flat. Fuck No. 2. Ok we were right at the gas station, but it was Sunday. Thinking back and force I came to the conclusion that changing the tire without knowing where to attach the highjack would not be a good idea. So at the gas station they offered one of these emergency flat tire bottles. Buying one, letting in run into the tier and hoping. OMG it still was leaking. On the bottle was the advice to immediately drive around 10 miles after usage. So I left Ines and Tobias for baby-lunch at the gas station and went straight up to Pisa Range Lake Resort where we knew would be nice accommodation to ask for one for the night. It was the same manager as two years ago, there was vacancy and the price was ok. I went back with a still insecure tire. Inflating the tiers once more. Knocking on wood. We did the groceries and drove up to Pisa Range. There we choose the ground floor flat that was just huge with 30qm terrace right on the waterfront of the lake/marina, full size kitchen, living room, washing machine (that saw five loads from us but did only distribute the dirt more evenly in the fabrics – who wants to import real washing machines to NZ with us?!) - a nice place to have a shower after Ahuriri.
Strange feeling in such a flat – not like fishing and camping NZ - but more like summer vacation, especially as the sun was burning. That afternoon after getting settled we decided to go for one or two wineries around Cromwell. Rockburn was the first one to start, but the wine was just ok, the Twelve Barrels Pinot Noir for 85 a bottle was a strange value for money and the Devils Staircase Pinot Noir for 25 a bottle, of which we bought one bottle, was just ok. Next was the Wild Earth winery on the Kawaru river. This address I got from a lady I met in the Ahuriri valley. She recommended that winery and mentioned the nice location to sit outside and have a snack. We first had the short wine tasting (one of the wineries that charge you for tasting) and decided for a bottle of WildEarth Pinot Noir 2009 (that I mentioned joyfully in a post before). I was close to asking the lady doing the tasting, if that is not a bad task to make tastings and only sell one or two or a couple of bottles. We are more used to do tastings and then stocking up by a few cases. Here with average prices at wineries of around 30-40 NZ$ you buy single bottles. Ok, let us talk about money. We once had an awfully bad presentation/lecture in Starnberg from a couple that traveled NZ and made some footage and pictures from that (not fishing related, just traveling). They were a German couple. And with every single fucking activity they mentioned or described they mentioned the price and a valuation. Example: “we had a guided walking tour with lunch provided that did cost 85,- per person and that was good value for money”. Translated to fish-talk: “we had a dame good Kiwi-guide with a chopper for two days, catching big browns up to 8 lbs, would do it again. If you ask, the tag was 2800,- and worth every cent” Ok, stop that.
Why did I start that? At the Wild Earth we did not just buy one of the best bottles we had in the last two weeks, but we had two of the highest priced pieces of cake we ever had: 8 NZ$ for a plane piece of lemon cake each. No, there was no happy ending included. The cake was good, but the similar cake in Methven was better.
At the time of writing, sitting in a nice cottage on the north end of Lake Wakatipu after a fine dinner with some – again – outstanding beef filet, beans, mashed potatoes and salad, I am just enjoying the last sips of a Church Road Merlot CabSauv 2010. Besides the Wild Earth Pinot this gets four out of five flies of a to be created section of that blog on wine evaluation. Sorry, have to mention the money topic again. Hint for the traveler: buy your wine in the supermarket (wineries charge most of the times more) and look out for the significant reductions. The wine mentioned was reduced by around 50%.
As mentioned before we had to make arrangements for the stream we wanted to make our attendance. But guide Bruce Leitch wanted to go there the second half of the week with a client. So we changed plans and decided to drive up to the Nevis. I mention that river because I really can not recommend to fish that river unless you are willing to invest several days or years in that river. Fish are few or small later in the season. Besides that it is a remote high valley with a special touch. The valley is threatened by a crazy dam project to be planed! Sometimes humans are really stupid. The whole valley and especially the north exit of it is real 4WD country. Did we survive that with the glued tier?