Life in the fast lane

Kinloch is a sleepy old place. It’s the sort of desolate outpost that life  has passed by without anyone realising. The nearest civilisation is the bustling metropolis of Glenorchy (population: 470) which is referred to as a ‘town’ around these parts, while Kinloch (a village apparently) boasts around 11 people to it’s name.  To give you an idea of the scale of things around here, there was a virus going round at the Glenorchy primary school this week, and with six children off sick this amounted to almost a third of the school being absent. The local news struggles as well by all accounts. Even 60km down the road in Frankton the weekly crime shorts has to resort to nerve jangling reports such as this…

Like I said, it’s a sleepy place.

With this in mind you’d think that events such as film crews arriving and earthquakes would stir the locals up a bit, right? Wrong.  Both of these have occurred in the last five days and amazingly, the Kinloch/Glenorchy populous couldn’t care less, which actually says more about our current location than the non-plussed attitude of the resident yokels. Firstly, we’re smack bang above something called the Alpine Fault. The fact that this geological anomaly is well overdue an earthquake of epic proportions, as detailed rather alarmingly here, doesn’t seem to concern anyone. As we awoke on Friday morning to shaking walls and the sound of wildebeest rampaging over the corrugated iron roof above us,  everyone else shrugged and carried on eating their cornflakes. Earthquakes are pretty run of the mill stuff it seems, indeed a quick look at an official looking  website shows that in the last week alone there have been 14 of the buggers in New Zealand. Should they not tell you this kind of stuff before you get on the plane or something?

The dust had barely settled before more excitement arrived in the form of a film and television crew. The rumble of lorries at 5am had us clutching onto our bedposts in anticipation of the earth moving again, though probably not as much as the poor chap camping nearby who was woken by a helicopter landing 15 yards away from his tent. Within minutes, the blissfully barren lakeside vista in front of our kitchen was rapidly transformed into a sprawling hive of busy industry types, otherwise known as ‘noisy pricks’. As quad bikes roared up and down, small men barked into megaphones while the actors stood pouting moodily at the resident Kinloch dogs who were busy eyeing up new legs to hump. Disappointingly however, we soon discovered it wasn’t all in aid of some blockbuster movie, but was merely a car advert. And if there’s one thing I hate more than cars and adverts, it’s a combination of both.

So in relation to my initial point – film crews are also common place around these parts. A five minute drive up the road to the Dart River bridge is not only the location of the Kinloch post boxes and recycling bins, but also the gateway to Isengard, of Lord of the Rings fame. Several other places around here were also used in the films, while director Peter Jackson has a holiday home across the lake. In fact, given the state of some of the locals it seems Gollum and a few Orcs were left behind as well. Having never seen the films before I’m amazed I made it into the country at all, such is the horrified bewilderment I’ve been met with from New Zealanders upon blankly confessing that I could only see a picturesque valley in front of me, and not Mordor. To be honest I’m having my doubts that it actually was filmed here at all, as I haven’t yet seen Sir Ian McKellen wildly flailing his arms about at sand flies.

Amid all this furor there’s very little to report really. We’ve kayaked across the lake and back, been on a few walks here and there and made use of the on site hot tub afterwards, climbed up into a Glacier basin for lunch and today I removed a dead cat someone had put in our recycling bin; all pretty standard stuff around here. Oh, apart from that mad bastard who left his boot open,  the manhunt is still ongoing for that one…

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3 comments

  1. That news clipping is fantastic!

    Did you get a free car, or maybe a pen, from the film crew?

    1. Not a jot. My hatred for cars and car adverts has intensified.

  2. […] to do was partly closed. Not a great start. To compensate ourselves we took in the other end of the Routeburn track which we’d been snowed back from a few weeks ago, including the awesome views from Key Summit […]

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