Yesterday Michelle and I went to see Last Paradise. This doco was forty-five years in the making and looks at the history of Kiwi adventure sport. It starts with the focus on adventure sport in New Zealand but has a definite underlying ecological message that the places we consider paradise are now in peril. It’s a great film, that I would highly recommend to anyone.
Archive for September, 2011
This past weekend was the opening of the Queenstown Bike Park – the only lift access bike park in New Zealand! I flew out of Auckland at 7:00am meaning that I had to be up at 5:30am. Yikes eh! Ah well, it was worth it! On Saturday night Ireland beat Australia at the RWC, which was a huge upset. So at 5:30am there was still a lot of drunk Irish kicking around the city, which was amusing when waiting for the bus. I caught my bus and off to the airport I went. 2 hours later I was in Queenstown.
I caught another bus into Queenstown from the airport and then it was off to drop my gear at Nomads Queenstown. I had planned to drop my bags and then hit up the skyline to start rocking some downhill tracks, but it didn’t work out that way. When I went to purchase my ticket at the skyline I found out that wouldn’t be opening until 1pm. I guess on Saturday it rained during the day and the riders ripped up the tracks pretty bad. The tracks had to dry out and the maintenance crew had some work to do, so it was a waiting game.
So what do you do with time to kill in Queenstown? I headed to the local bookshop and read magazines, had a coffee at Bob’s Weigh; Queenstown’s best breakie spot and checked out some really expensive real-estate that I could never afford.
Soon enough it was 1pm and up the skyline I went keen for that first ride. Oh I was not disappointed. The tracks were mint! Dark brown earth, sticky… oh brown pow how I love you! Not all of the tracks were open, but still enough to keep me grinning from ear to ear. It was a great day of riding and I managed to get 12 runs in. At the end of the day I was beat. My legs, arms and shoulders were sore as… but so worth it! I can’t wait to get back down south in October. I plan to make a week of it.
I was able to attend the Canada vs Tonga game early in the week and it was the best international sporting event I have ever been too. It reminded me of the Vancouver Olympics when Canada beat the USA in hockey, but better because Im in a foreign country. I flew back into Auckland from a work trip in Wellington and Christchurch and my mate picked me up at the airport and we headed on our way to Whangarei. It was me, my mate and his partner plus a random Canadian that joined us for our roadie. That made for 3 Canadians and a kiwi; good mix!
Whangarei is about 2 hours north of Auckland and they had some bevies chilled and ready to go in the car. FYI – it is legal to drink in a vehicle, just not the driver. This made for a fun ride down! We checked into our motel and had a cab waiting to take us to the game. 15 minutes later we were amongst a sea of red. Not just the maple leaf, but also Tonga whose flag fly’s the same colours.
We had enough time to each grab a 4 pack of beer and then it was time for the national anthems. We did our country proud singing a long, even the local beside us commented on our patriotism. A little girl beside painted our faces with the red and white!
It wasn’t supposed to be a close game, Canada wasn’t supposed to pose much of a threat. But that is the great thing about sport, on game day anyone can win. Canada was much smaller than Tonga, but it didn’t matter. We battled the entire game and pulled off a major upset and then the celebrations began. It was full of cheering, high fiving, hugging, flag waving and many renditions of O’Canada. We walked down to the Thirsty Prawn where the Canadian celebrations were just kicking off. To be honest all I remember is hanging out with more Canadians than I have since I moved to NZ. It was great. The atmosphere was electric and friendly. We got on the piss BIG TIME! After celebrating there for a couple hours we needed a feed and hit up the local eatery in Whangarei.
Once back at the hotel it was a beer, food and bed! Woke up the next morning to a headache, but it came with a smile. We won, had an epic night and had the entire day to make our way back to Auckland. The party didn’t end there…
What do you the next day after a huge win for Canada at the RWC? You get back on it! We cracked some morning beers and let the day come to us. We had to check out by 10am and we were 3 beers deep by this time. My mates partner was driving us back so it was party time once again. We had a case left to drink, a couple girl liquor drinks and a big jug of Sangria to get through and did we ever. On the trip home we stopped off at the beach had a swim, drank couple more beers and then went for a wee hike to a waterfall. Not bad eh! Soon as the booze ran out, night-night. Woke up in Auckland, where I took a nap for another couple hours, then got up and had dinner and back to bed. BENDER!
Here is a gem of a story about the game that game to forefront 2 days later. Michelle has a friend whose partner is Canadian. He has mate over from Canada and they are touring NZ going to all of the Canada games and a couple others. They invited us over to watch the All Blacks VS Japan game. NOTE: I had never met these other Canadians before. I was joking before going over to michelle that I could have met/seen them at the Canada VS Tonga game and wouldn’t have remember as I was a bit boozed. So walk over to their place, meet the other Canadians and watch the game. Cool people and we talked about how great the game was and all of the red and white the Thirsty Prawn. The next day I get a txt from said Canadians saying that he has pictures of me and him partying. Neither of us remember this. Fu*k’n crazy-ass night.
Here is the highlights for the RWC 2011 Opening Ceremony. It was pretty impressive to say the least!
This past Friday was the opening of the Rugby World Cup and it was EPIC! The Auckland City Council had contacted all of the local business to recommend that they let staff off at 3pm and luckily my employer agreed! From the get go in the morning there was a buzz and excitement in the city. Everyone was rocking black and white in support of the All Blacks. To be honest it had to be one of the most unproductive days in New Zealand history. I think everyone was just waiting to start the party!
At 3pm we had a couple beers in the office and then it was off to Base to have some drinks on there balcony bar. The streets were just getting busier and busier by the minute. I didnt even bother to try and get into Party Central or even hit up the Queens Warf as it was already full – I could see that it was backed up at 2:30pm with people waiting to enter, so I wasn’t going to go fight those crowds. I was happy to be at a bar watching it with a group of Rugby mad travellers from all over the world! With the beers flowing we watched a fleet of Waka’s arrive into the harbour, a mass haka, live music from Dave Dobin and the Finn Brothers. After a couple beers at Base we shifted down the road to the Bluestone Room that was packed full with partygoers. Here it was jug after jug of beer with a bunch of rugby fanatics from France at our table.
There was a massive fireworks show at 8pm. Six thousand explosive shells wereill be let off from four floating barges in the harbour, the SkyTower and four buildings in the CBD. EPIC! The streets were packed with people supporting their team and the party was in full motion. People were on top of bus shelters dancing, in the streets, up light poles and on any space available. The fireworks lasted 12 mins and it was mesmerizing!
With the fireworks done it was back to the bar to watch the opening ceremonies before the game. The opening ceremonies included mix of Maori tradition and rugby heritage. It was amazing too! Well-done New Zealand! Soon enough the game was on and the Rugby World Cup had begun. The All Blacks and the Tongan’s each did there haka.. awesome! Then the All Blacks easily beat the Tonga side, but it was a fun game to watch and the atmosphere was electric.
On the walk home from the pub the CBD (central business district) was packed with people. It was estimated that 200,000 people were downtown and the Queens Warf had an additional 12,000 people. That is a lot of partygoers! For the most part there wasn’t a lot of trouble. Of course there were a couple fights, but with that many (intoxicated) people in one spot it is bound to happen. In the end the police arrested 63 people. Overall, it was an EPIC event! New Zealand should be proud as they represented very well. The tournament runs for 6 weeks, so this is just the beginning. When the All Blacks win, it will be pandemonium!
Like I said in my last post, Auckland is buzzing with RWC fever! Over the weekend there was a flash mob haka at Silva park, which is one of Aucklands major shopping centers. Someone caught it on tape and Im sharing it here! Today, I caught the same group doing a flash mob at the intersection of Queen & Victoria… pretty fu*k’n cool! This world cup is going to be a once in a lifetime event!
It’s only 5 days until the Rugby World Cup (RWC) in New Zealand. Already Auckland is a buzz with tourists and rugby fans. This past weekend you could notice a visible increase of people wondering around the downtown core, not to mention all of the buskers – jugglers, musicians, break-dancers and more! The harbour front has been transformed into party central! New bar, restaurants, shops have popped up everywhere.
Opening ceremony, which is this Friday 9th of September will kick start the 7th World Cup and is promising it will a night to remember. There is a 30-minute ceremony in front of 60,000 people at Eden Park that will tell the story of New Zealand. It will also represent the coming together of countries from around the world in New Zealand in pursuit of the World Cup. There are over 1,000 performers and backstage crew to make this evening possible. After the opening ceremony the first game of the RWC will be the All Blacks VS Tonga.
For those not able to score tickets to the open ceremonies the Auckland waterfront will be the place to be!
- 4.00pm – Tamaki Herenga Waka – fleet arrival
- 4.40pm – Dave Dobbyn and band at Queens Wharf
- 5.00pm – Mass haka and kaihoe procession – Eastern Viaduct/Quay Street
- 5.45pm – Mayoral welcome on Queens Wharf, followed by haka
- 6pm – The Finn Brothers concert – headline act
- 7.30pm – Opening Ceremony from Eden Park live on the waterfront big screens
- 8.00pm – Sound and light show – Auckland’s biggest and brightest fireworks and light show set to music composed specially for the occasion by Don McGlashan
- 8.15pm – Opening Match from Eden Park live on the waterfront big screens
- 10.20pm – Concert by top New Zealand music acts on Queens Wharf, featuring Dane Rumble, Midnight Youth, Kora and Manuel Bundy
- 2.00am – Queens Wharf closes.
So as you can see this will be the biggest event that New Zealand has ever hosted. Ive got my tickets to go see Canada vs Tonga on the 14th of September in Whangarei. Im stoked to be part of a game and even more stoked to be able to back Canada in the RWC!