Lou’s dad lived in New Zealand back in the 1950’s and spent a lot of time in a place called Lyttelton. It’s about 8km south of Sumner and also where Peter Jackson filmed large parts of The Frighteners. So for historical and fanboy reasons, we jumped in the car with Rob and drove over the winding passes (one of three routes) to the township.
Lyttelton is also a major docking town, handling an enormous amount of imported cargo. You can watch the docks working from one of the viewing points. Also in sight are many anti-aircraft bunkers left over from the war. The photos I took weren’t as good as they could have been as it’s winter over here and as a result rather foggy and damp. Still, there’s no denying that the hills and mountains are impressive.
Like Sumner, most of the housing in Lyttelton is built on a really steep hill. Thankfully, Rob’s got a Subaru with 4-wheel drive and low gear ratios so we didn’t make too much noise crawling up them to the first graveyard we found. There was a reason for heading here – we were fairly certain this was the one used in the aforementioned film.
None of us had watched The Frighteners for a while, but it seemed right. The other graveyard was some distance away and, although where we stood wasn’t exactly as it appeared on DVD, it did ring vague film geek bells. It also made for some very nice photos.
There’s not a whole heck of a lot to do in Lyttelton, so we did the next thing we could do and got some lunch. Any foodery with cats is a good one and this one had one, which walked round our ankles as we ate sandwiches and very nice cake. The little fella also took our attention away from the grey drizzle outside into which we once again ventured to drive through the road tunnel into Christchurch.
With it being a Friday, the town was rather quiet and the weather would have been keeping anyone else at home. On the way into the centre, we spotted a building on the left advertising “glow in the dark mini golf”. I am turning into a mini golf addict. And I managed to convince Lou and Rob that this would be a great idea.
The mini golf was one exhibit in a science park, predominantly geared at kids. However, with it being a school day all the kids were elsewhere so we had the place to ourselves. Entry was only NZ$15 each including one game of golf. At these prices people can afford to take their kids out for an afternoon.
Before we even got to the golf, we played with pulleys, demolished people at air hockey (that is, I won both games), played an electronic harp with no strings, messed with air pressure and odd-shaped cams, wished we could play on the climbing wall and reminisced about vertical slides at Flamingo Land that were bigger than the one on display.
Finally, Lou and Rob dragged me downstairs into the basement where the golf (and some other exhibits) lived. The golf was superb. Everything was lit with black lights and glowed like a scene from TRON, only with the chance of Tiger Woods popping out from behind the loop-the-loop on the 16th to save the day for humankind. Hey, if Will Smith can do it with a virus on a dodgy Apple laptop, it’s not that unbelievable.
Lou won the golf (just), but we had a great hour playing it. There was enough time left to go for a wander around the Hubble photo gallery and be amazed with the images. On the way out, a very small child was climbing the stairs to the top of the slide with his mother. He lay down face first and poked his head over the edge, eyes wide. Then came back down the steps. I guess even Kiwis have to start somewhere. He’ll be canyon jumping by the time he’s a teenager.
We went for the easy option for dinner – chip shop. Kiwis supply pretty much any type of food on demand, much like the UK. Their chocolate, however, is crap. This is partially made up for by the ready availability of good chips and HP Sauce.
Just to check our film references, it was necessary to re-watch Mr Jackon’s early classic and the graveyard we’d been in was indeed the one from the film. Somehow it looked better on the telly than in my photos, but I’m prod to say I’ve visited the south island and not been to a single Lord of the Rings film location. I’m a real geek. I went for one of his earlier films!