Sunday, Jan 24, 2016
We had a leisurely breakfast before leaving Cromwell at 9:30 to head southward on our way to Te Anau so that we could be there in time for a tour of the Glowworm caves, that we had booked the previous day.
We stopped a long the way to pick up some fresh fruit. The sweet cherries and the apricots are very good here.
On our way we saw this VW bug and I had to take a picture.
We continued down the road and stopped a few times before we reached Frankfort which is the town next to Queenstown where we would have to turn south towards Te Anau. The fuel tank was almost empty so we drove around town until we finally reached a station to fill it up. That’s when the fun began!
I selected the green handle and started filling the tank and I immediately noticed that the price was twice as much as the number of litres. Diesel costs about $ 0.95 per litre, plus $6.3 per 100 km whereas gas costs about $ 1.80 per litre. By the time I realized that I was putting unleaded gas into the diesel tank I had pumped 23 litres of gas into it. Oops!!! This was going to be an interesting day.
I immediately stopped filling the tank and went into the gas station to ask if there was someone I could call to pump out the tank. The attendant gave me a card, but it was Sunday morning at 11:30 am and I didn’t think that we would have much chance of finding someone to help us out. I called the number he had given me but there was no answer.
It was at this point that I realized that I had the AA card for New Zealand that I had obtained when I had arrived in New Zealand. I’m am glad that I had the New Zealand phone package because it took numerous phone calls before I finally arranged for AA to pick up the vehicle and drive it to Queenstown Commercial Vehicle, where a mechanic named Lathan would meet us to drain the tank. After an hour, the AA driver arrived at the gas station and we pushed the van away from the pump so that he could lift it onto his truck.
He informed us that he had another call, after mine, but the driver had started the car and driven it around the corner before it stopped. That would be a much more costly mistake. Cheryl was just happy that it happened to me and not her.
The AA driver took the van and us to the Queenstown Commercial Vehicles parking lot where Cheryl and I decide to have a nice lunch while we waited for Lathan to show up. After all, we had food, lawn chairs and a beautiful view of a hillside covered with large evergreen trees in front of the garage.
We discussed what we should do about our reservation at the Glowworm Caves for 7 pm that evening and we decided to call the tourism office and postpone our adventure for another day.
While we were waiting, Cheryl went to a store and picked up this underground magazine that we both found interesting.
And this is the article that was in the magazine, which made for an interesting discussion.
When Lathan arrived, it took about an hour for him to pump out the tank, purge the lines and re-fill the tank. He told me that this happens all the time in New Zealand.
With the tank full of the proper fuel, we decided to drive around Queenstown to check it out before continuing on our journey. Queenstown is situated on a lake and it has a lot of shops and hotels. It has beautiful views of the lake and it is a very popular tourist area.
Having completely changed our plans for the day, we decided to drive to Manapouri instead of Te Anau, so that we would be ready for our Doubtful Sound cruise on Monday morning.
In addition to the many sheep farms along the way, we also saw a number of deer farms and even an Elk farm.
By the time we arrived in Manapouri it was almost 7 pm. We located a campsite, set up for the night and walked over to a cafe for supper. In staying with the theme of eating the local cuisine, I had venison filled with blackberries while Cheryl had curried chicken kebabs and rice.
It had been a long day and we had to get up early to be at the docks for our cruise at 7:45 am. Monday would be another full day of adventure.