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Saturday 20 Mar 2004
Queenstown, New Zealand

Arrived in Queenstown

Well Ive FINALLY arrived at Queenstown after 3 days though its only about 3-400 km from the glaciers!!! Why the long delay? Oh yer gonna love this...

18th March

Left Fox Glacier in the morning with no bother and continued on toward Queenstown. The scenery here was beautiful and many times I would stop to take photos, so the journey probably wasnt going to be done in a day anyway.

Soon I came across a sign saying that the road ahead was closed for up to 4 hours from Makaroa down to Queenstown because of a car crash. The South Island of NZ only really has one road, circumnavigating the island and occasionally being crossed by the various "passes" that go through the Alps, so when a road closes there is no way of going AROUND. So I was stuck.. I decided to find a place to camp and soon I came to a magical spot called Cameron Flat, about 6 km north of Makaroa. The view here was fantastic...

So was the amount of sandflies.

I thought Gillespie Beach was bad, but no sooner had I thrown all my stuff into the front seats to make room for my bed in the back, but a swarm of them entered my car and took up position on every INCH of the interior.

A few other campers that I met there suggested I use my mozzie spray because I (and they) had no Insect Spray to fumigate the car. "Good Idea" I thought... and willfully went around my car spraying every surface with my "100% proof" Mozzie spray that I bought in Eire, but hadnt actually used since!

I slept well that night after...

19th March

I woke up in the morning to find my beautiful car vinyl on the dashboard and sides of the windows to be COVERED in disfiguring spray marks. Too late I realized that my 100 % proof mozzie spray was so strong that it had burned shallow holes in all the car plastic!!! Jeez now I remember why I had stopped using that stuff back in Thailand, it was so strong that it burnt my skin.. "rather be bitten by mozzies frankly" I thought!

At first I thought the marks were just sticky residue that would come off with a bit of detergent. So I went off to Wanaka and bought some Mr Muscle, gloves and some wipes....

I started wiping.. no difference. So I grabbed my green scrubbing sponge and started scrubbing the plastic... it was getting worse! The scrubber was actually leaving an immovable white residue and was scraping the plastic, stained AND good parts. Doh!

I was panicking.. the scratched plastic made my 2,500 dollar car (thats the value Ive put it at) look like a 400 dollar wreck!

I went to Mitre10, a hardware specialist, and initially thought of buying some Turpentine and trying THAT out! Luckily I brought in with me a small ash tray which had been affected... I was able to test various chemicals and solvents. Turpentine would have been disasterous since it was beginning to melt the ash tray plastic! I stopped it just in time though.

That night, completely stressed and frustrated, I slept over at Albert Town camp reserve. A very peaceful, beautiful spot as well it has to be said, with a river so clean you can drink straight from the water.


I woke up in the morning with a rapping at my window. The warden was here and angry that I hadnt paid the fees.. arrrgh of all the luck, I had decided to park in a DOC camping ground where they CHECK for paid fees. He let me off though, and I paid up...

Went back to Mitre10, this time determined to pick up something that would revive the "sheen" in my cars nylon decking.

I eventually decided upon some Turtle Wax nylon-improver. I sprayed it on and left it to dry for an hour...

Well what do you know? It was almost perfect!

It was still possible to see some slight speckles, but they almost looked like decoration and were not nearly as visible. Plus the whole fiasco has actually forced me to clean my car and the wax gives it a nice finish... the value of the car suddenly looks around 4,000!

Well Ive learnt a valuable lesson... never let stoopid "zand-fleigen" force me to destroy my beautiful baby with acidic sprays. *throws spray in bin*

I now have officially 1000 NZ dollars left at my disposal (not including my VISA, ATM card, or the 800 dollars in US travellers cheques)! I arrived in NZ with 5000 NZ dollars. Ive set myself the task of finishing touring the south island and returning to Auckland, with a few hundred dollars to spare. I can then try to sell my car for the reasonable price of 2,500 dollars (which will reimburse me for all that Ive spent on it.. fines, servicing, camping equipment, plus a little for some petrol).

If I succeed, I can then claim I travelled extensively throughout NZ on my own for around 2 months, for only 2,500 NZ dollars (1335 euro)!! Cheapo holiday or what?

Ive been in Queenstown only 3 hours and already Ive watched several people bungy-jump and seen a few sky-dives. This place doesnt get its adrenalin-junky name for nothing!

Of course Im going to have to sacrifice doing any expensive activities if my money is going to last. Im going to look around Queenstown tommorrow and see if there is any cheaper activities I can try out. I think a bungy my just be a bit too extreme for me right now anyhoo...

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