United Kingdom, New Zealand · 22 Days · 19 Moments · June 2017

Richard's adventure in New Zealand

8 July 2017

Well we took in a bit of Auckland culture first of course.... then it was all about the game. A great build up with Lions fans starting to believe and the NZ rugby press saying we were going to be smashed. TBH it was a very stop start game with lots of errors, but tough! Thought we could sneak it at one point but so pleased to hear the final whistle! It felt strangely deflating but, hey, we didn't lose, haha Needed beer afterwards to recover from the stress!

7 July 2017

Just because we loved it, here's a photo of some folk ( including Ron and Karen Williams who I went to college with!) just before we left beautiful Queenstown. Unfortunately due to a thunderstorm, we had a real game getting to Auckland, being an extra 6 hours sat on the aircraft! Today just to prove I have culture coursing through my bones, I visited Auckland's art gallery. Surprise! they had a painting of the Sloop in St Ives! Lowered the tone later with another Gullivers drink/food/sing song - fair play now, they're looking after us! BIG DAY TOMORROW - aaargh!

5 July 2017

It's getting colder each day here but this has brought more spectacular views. None more so than from the lake steamer we had a ride on this morning with Alun doing his De Capprio bit in the prow! Later we managed a quick pie from the famous Ferg bakery and a walk to the local lake via some crazy post boxes, before getting into Arrowtown for some craft beer and a burger ( both v good). Off back to Auckland tomorrow as it starts to crank up towards the game - eek!

4 July 2017

No midweek match this week. The Lions are down here in Queenstown and are out and about in the town being mobbed by the 10,000 supporters who are here too! I hired a mountain bike today and took a track to the bridge that was used for the very first bungee jump. It still is and hordes of under 35s were queueing up to throw themselves off - crackers! Although it's really cold, it's a big wine region with these being Pinot noir vines. Great views everywhere although I must admit I got a bit confused as to where I was with this road sign!

3 July 2017

Plenty of ducks at our new accommodation in Arrowtown! The hills were suddenly revealed from behind the cloud today - hooray. We all took the Skyline Gondola from Queenstown up the local tump that is Bob's Peak for a cracking buffet lunch in the restaurant at the top. It's not possible to get bored with the view or to adequately record it's majesty with THESE crummy photos but they'll have to do! Snow forecast lower down tomorrow.....

2 July 2017

When marriage and having children are taken out of the equation, yesterday's game must top the list of great days in my life - ha! The only downside was a 5.30am get up for the flight to Queenstown. It's these evening kick offs that mess us about and eat into celebration time! The South Island looks good though. Apologies for poor photo quality, something is amiss with the iPhone - need an upgrade!

1 July 2017

Lost for words. Just the best night of rugby ever. Complete mayhem at the stadium after A long build up with everyone feeling that we could do it. Absolute magic! 🏉🍻💥

30 June 2017

Went for a stroll up Mount Victoria this morning but wasn't happy as I was stalked by THAT bloke again! Well at least the views were good from the top. Later we had a Gullivers trip to Poneke Rugby Club for a bit of a social including some food, drink and a bit of a song. Neil, our man, knew how to give a pass despite his headgear! The locals even treated us to a Haka. Big build up to the game tomorrow now although heavy rain is forecast.....ugh

29 June 2017

A quieter non rugby day today. I was back on the bike early for another ride around the bays in super sunshine. Later I visited the NZ permanent WW1 museum which, again, was excellent. The country is completely rugby mad though with whole programmes given over to junior club rugby and even school competitions! Big culinary speciality down here are pies. Alun couldn't wait to give the steak and CHEESE super pie a go from the winner of the Best Pie in Wellington competition!

27 June 2017

Match day🏉. Beforehand though I visited the national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa and experienced the most stunning exhibition I've ever seen in any museum marking the Gallipoli campaign of 1915, very humbling. Those models were double life size and there was so much more. Now, Neil, our Tour Leader was getting upset as he hadn't featured in this blog ..... Until now! The game....desperate! We had it won twice I reckon but got ambushed in the 2nd half whilst we were sleeping. Still, we didn't lose, roll on saturday💪

26 June 2017

Well, Alun went walkabout in the bush today whilst I hired a bike and had a cracking ride around the coast and up some hills in Miramar. Tried popping to Peter Jackson's for coffee but he wasn't in! Could tell that I wasn't in the UK with the local road signs I spotted. That knitting needle thing apparently swings in the wind to indicate its strength! The only downside was the lack of beachside cafes for coffee, so Jude, you would not have been happy😒! Good weather forecast although it's getting colder....

25 June 2017

By the way, hope you like the piccie of our posh hotel room.
Well, I won't dwell on it, but it was just as well Jonathan Davies and Liam Williams were playing ( not that I'm biased of course), and who exactly WAS that referee? Anyway, today we're in Windy Wellington and have had a trip up on the funicular railway for a view over the city followed by a quick beer or two with David from Llandaff, a veteran of Lions tours. A free day tomorrow so I'm eyeing up a bike ride with a good weather forecast as encouragement.
Home time -yay! Well, the All Blacks thought they were going to win the series 3-0, they gave us no chance. They called Gatland a clown and gave ridiculously low ratings to all the Lions players. We were ahead for about 3 and a half minutes in the series, but it was a draw - WE WERE ROBBED!!! Hahahaha X See you back home

24 June 2017

As it was an evening match we had a laid back few hours. Plenty going on on the way to the ground including these Scottish drummers. Proper tidy ground as they say, just a shame that Quinnell bloke keeps insisting on being in the photos. Well, never mind the blacks 65% possession - we wos robbed! I've heard that Wellingtons our lucky ground...... haha! Flying out in the morning, just as well I didn't manage to unpack!
Spent the evening at the Gullivers pre-test social and rugby forum. Complimentary drinks and bites although I wasn't too keen on the scallops! Ryan Jones and Scott Quinnell insisted in having their photos taken with us beforehand and the audience gave me a wave from the stage! Everywhere you look are Lions supporters spending their children's inheritance! Picked up our tickets this morning so we're ready to go. I'm backing a 9 point Lions win - C'Mon Lions!!

23 June 2017

Yay, made it. This place is a long way away, crikey!! Alun and I did a quick recce of Auckland this morning..... That was enough ha! Super little museum though, very quiet too. We got the reduced pensioner rate, so all is good. Gullivers, our travel group, are having a little soirée this evening so we're girding our loins or even chilling our bones for that at the moment.

16 June 2017

Just practicing for next week. Hopefully I'll send the first report before the first test. Bye for now.
Hi folks. I'm going to attempt to keep this blog going whilst in New Zealand