Kay's Round the World Trip 2006/2007 travel blog

Panning for gold


Ross Goldtown centre

The pig

Feeding the pig (Richard our bus driver in the background)

Much colder and very grey this morning when we were picked up by the Magic Bus at 8am. The bus was full today so no lounging around on two seats this time around. I was sitting next to Conrad, a Belgian guy who'd been on our bus yesterday and he's good fun. Our first touristy stop of the day was at the small town of Ross which is famous for gold panning. We got a demo first and then those that wanted to had a go (for $6.50). I managed to get a tiny collection of gold but not sure if I made a profit or not! We also watched a guy carving pounamo, the greenstone that is used to make lots of jewellery.

Our next stop was at the Bushman Centre and this was a real laugh. A guy called Pete came on the bus and gave us a little talk about the place. Basically, the deer that had been introduced to New Zealand became a pest and they were destroying the landscape so these hunters went out and killed millions of them, by various means. This then paved the way for the deer-farming industry today. It was in the time that "men were men and sheep were scared" and they weren't any of your "latte-drinking, namby-pamby metrosexual Auckland types"! I tried a possum pie which was pretty good, a bit like eating dark chicken meat. We all then watched a video of these hunters shot in the 70s and it was hilarious (probably not for any veggies or animal rights folk though). It was introduced by Pete and he said that the theme tune had been unique to their film before some "tosser from Hollywood stole it". Then the music started and it was 'Dangerzone' from 'Top Gun'. There then followed 20mins of footage of deer being shot by hunters on foot and by helicopter, as well as deer being captured by shooting nets from the helicopters. The most extreme way however, involved guys jumping out of helicopters, landing on their backs and bringing them down that way-mad!! After that some poor guy in our group then had to feed this massive pig with bread and try to avoid getting his legs bitten off in the process.

Back on the bus we carried on to Franz Josef in the rain. Richard the driver decided that we'd have a girls/boys quiz to see who would unload the bags from the bus. Needless to say the girls won (easily). I'm taking credit for being the only one who knew that Bosch, Champion and some other company made spark plugs. There was also a massage question so that was a bonus - Which of these is not a form of massage: rolfing, shiatsu, hot-stone or reiki? Thankfully my pride is intact and we got it right. Sweeties for anyone who wants to email me the correct answer! I seem to remember someone I know getting 'rolfing' mixed up with another completely different (and ruder) word.....!!

Anyway, we arrived in Franz Josef about 1ish and it was lashing with rain and it hasn't stopped since. You can't see any mountains and it's pretty miserable. At the moment though I'm still going kayaking later unless the three others cancel (please cancel, please cancel...) I'll let you know later what happens.

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