Barry Frost

This is Barry Frost’s personal website.

August 2001

Finally made it to Sydney (hence the Australian flag). It’s a big shock to the system after the slow-paced, tranquil, sedate cities of New Zealand! We’re staying in the Glebe YHA until the weekend, a little out of the centre of the city, and will spend a few days in Coogee, just along the coast. We were couped up inside yesterday as the heavens poured all day long but we made it out this morning, walking across the city to view the obvious sites: the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Wasn’t too impressed with the former - big, ugly, seventies-style monstrosity that somehow rates as a “significant” piece of architecture. First impressions of the city: lots and lots for tourists and backpackers and it seems like quite a cool place to live.

Much more impressive, though, was bumping into Anton Oliver (captain) and the rest of the All Blacks forwards on Manly Beach before their line-out training session. Sue bounded over to Anton and we snapped a cheesy photo, wishing them luck on Saturday - the Tri-Nations decider against Australia. Embarrassing, yes, but it had to be done!

Oh and we’ve now got a mobile phone SIM card but haven’t registered the number yet. More soon!

After the progress we made on our first ever day of skiing, our second day was a lot less encouraging. After learning the basics of stopping and turning on a gentle slope, we realised that we weren’t as good as we thought we were when skiing down a steeper slope. We were itching to try the much steeper chairlift slopes but were still not good enough. Impatient and disenchanted, we could no longer be arsed and went home. In a huff.

Quick disclaimer: we’ve been in New Zealand where everything is beautiful for 10 months and so amazing feats of nature no longer excite us as they should… On Wednesday we spent five hours travelling on a coach to and from Milford Sound which consists of enormous fjords with mountains and waterfalls on either side and you ride through it on a boat. Ho hum.

We’re now in Christchurch which is warm, very English and very relaxing. Flying out to Sydney on Sunday so - blimey - this could actually be my last post from NZ!

Had a quiet couple of days in Dunedin, picked up a sore throat, endured the Bus Driver From Hell who seemed to think his job was to point out every single farm or sheep throughout the Central Otago Region throughout a five-hour journey in one monotonous tone, did the Speights brewery tour and then came back to Queenstown. We’re now in a huge YHA full of stupidly-rich Japanese kids that are indefinitely living here and have been reportedly skiing/snowboarding for the last three months!

We did our bit to keep up with the ski set by doing a tentative “starter day” that involved three hours of lessons. The Coronet Peak didn’t disappoint and it even started snowing when we reached the top. We both seemed to cope fine but Sue’s definitely the ski bunny out of the two of us. Her boundless enthusiasm even convinced us beginners to attempt the “novice” (ie steep slope) chair-lift track following our lessons. Fortunately no-one was killed as young Sue wasn’t quite as advanced as she thought and hurtled down on her arse through the advanced skiiers. The rest of us thought better of it and got back on the chair-lift down! More ski action tomorrow.

We’re now in Queenstown, the bungy/jetboat/extreme capital of the Southern Hemisphere after a mad week of Kiwi Experience. Against better judgement we did a 12000ft tandem skydive on Sunday morning, freefalling for 45 seconds. Very strange feeling that you just can’t describe but, despite being scared stupid, I want to do another just so that I can know what to expect and appreciate things like seeing the plane disappear above you so quickly. Amazing feeling.

Far too much to summarise here but… we briefly stayed in Nelson, through Westport, Greymouth, Mahinapua, Franz Josef and Wanaka, drinking too much and doing glacier walking, waterfall walks and a bizarre drag party in an Arse End Of Nowhere pub which “specialises” in such night for each coach-load of twentysomethings that passes through. Met a range of (mostly English) travellers, most of whom had just arrived in the country; Sue and I are definitely the exception. We’re off to Dunedin tomorrow and then back for some skiing/snowboarding next week.

We’ve finally left Wellington so I’ll have no excuse for being so slack in posting to this thing. It was a strange feeling waving goodbye to the place - we’d made friends, had cool jobs and it was very tempting to stay but it was time to move on. It was beautiful day for the ferry trip across Cook Strait: the sea was flat and the sun was shining. The highlight of the trip was a young German boy breaking his glasses and then running to his mother crying (what we could hear) “my glasses are kaputt!!”. A new word-of-the-trip has thus been coined.

We’re now staying in seaside town Picton which is strangely devoid of tourists. We stumbled on a small pub last night with some colourful local characters. We thankfully managed to hold on to our beers, though, when a big bloke decided to exact revenge on the floor next to us on a lad in the pub who had squirted his urchin son with a water pistol. We left shortly afterwards. This afternoon we’re going on a walk round the ‘Sounds before we set off down the West coast on the Kiwi Experience bus tomorrow morning.