Josh Rennie-Hynes recently wound up his first New Zealand tour with a run through the South Island before a final show in Auckland. Here he continues his ups and sometimes downs with the local cuisine, nearly gets taken out by stingrays and does a lot of driving. Big thanks to Josh for documenting his time on the road. Make sure you head over to his Facebook and Twitter pages to stay in the loop with new releases and shows.
05/12 – Le Café, Picton
Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, to the final installment of the JRH NZ tour. I’ve spent the last 10 days traipsing all around the South Island. What a stunning place. I did some busking, picked up a last minute gig at the infamous Mussel Inn up in Golden Bay, and met a whole bunch of lovely folks along the way.
Today I drove up from Christchurch to Picton, it was about five hours. Quite a lovely drive along the east coast heading north. I managed to spot some seals. Stopped into a café and bought a kumara and feta filo thing. It was okay. 6 out of 10 I’d say.
I pulled into Picton at around 4 pm. It’s a lovely little town, right on the water of the Marlborough sound, surrounded by hills and such. I went and said hello to the venue then went and played some guitar in the park across the road. Two ducks waddled over and sat down right in front of me, and fell asleep, that was nice.
Liam Gerner and his brother, Huw, were also joining me to finish off the remainder of these New Zealand shows. Liam kicked things off at about 8 pm. It was great to hear him play, fantastic songs and a great guitarist. The show was pretty quiet overall, with a few stragglers coming in late. Regardless, we still had a ball and jammed out on a few songs together at the end. I must also say that the crew at Le Café looked after us very well, the highlight being putting us up in our own house right on the water of the Marlborough Sound. We ended up drinking quite a few whiskies that night, jamming on songs and basically talking a lot of plop until the early hours. Good times. Nelson tomorrow.
6/12 – The Freehouse, Nelson
Woke up fairly hung this morning. Nothing some eggs benedict, potato rosti’s and tomatoes in Picton couldn’t fix. Probably one of my favourite breakfasts of the tour, 8 out of 10. We hit the road shortly after breakfast. The road to Nelson is incredibly beautiful, and incredibly fucking winding. We stopped to do a walk through the forest and over a timber suspension bridge somewhere, which was fun.
Got into Nelson at about 5 pm. Our gig was inside of this large yurt. Really beautiful inside, and kind of pungent. But after 5 minutes or so, your senses adjusted and it didn’t smell anymore. The Freehouse also did great food and craft beers. Seems to be a lot of micro breweries throughout the South island, delicious.
The crowd was a lot better than Picton (size-wise) and the vibes were great. Liam kicked off the show again at around 8 pm and I played straight after him. I had a great time. Some dude bought a shirt and proceeded to jump on stage and model it, that was cool. After the gig we drank a beer or two more then decided we’d go and find somewhere to camp/sleep in the back of our cars. We found a nice little spot on some estuary. Again we sang a bunch of songs and drank a lot of whiskey. Then got naked and swam in the estuary. These things happen, three dudes naked swimming in a muddy Estuary, ahhh yess. Only in the morning did we see that the whole fucking thing was full of stingrays. Actually full of them. Regardless, super fun times. Thanks Nelson! (and thanks to the stingrays for sparing my life/feet).
7/12 – Golden Bear, Mapua
Just a short little drive to the venue today, which was nice. I’d done a lot of km’s over the past month or so and was starting to feel a little tired. It was a beautiful day in Mapua. We walked around, went to the markets, tried on some hats and drank a coffee or two. It was great to have some company again with the Gerner boys, after being solo for a few weeks.
Golden Bear is another micro brewery, they also serve delicious Mexican. I was kind of in heaven. The show kicked off at about 3 pm, and we were playing outside in the sunshine, which was a nice change. All in all it was a fun show and the crowd were great. This was our last show for three days, so we decided to make tracks out to the west coast directly after the show. We pulled into Greymouth at about 9 pm.
Here’s a compiled list of things we did on our three days off –
- Went to Fox Glacier
- Threw rocks at glacial ice in the river for about two hours
- Picked up a German backpacker called Patrick who ended up tagging along with us for two days (he made a delicious curry and was a cool dude)
- Played songs at a caravan park in Wanaka until the early hours then got sternly told to shut-up
- Found this incredible little town called Glenorchy, one of the most beautiful places I saw in the South Island
- Ate breakfast at a beach and nearly got drained of all bodily fluids by sandflies
- That’s all I can think of, off to Dunedin!
11/12 – Taste Merchants, Dunedin
We got into Dunedin in the late afternoon after leaving the delightful Glenorchy this morning. Liam is the king of breakfasts and made us a feast by the lakeside this morning, lovely, thanks Liam. We had time so we decided we’d shoot out to this point on the ocean and check out the royal albatross colony. Amazing birds, huge wingspans. Oh and there were also about one million seagulls nesting too. It was so windy, and pretty dang cold so we decided to head back to Dunedin.
We found the venue and let ourselves in. No one seemed to be home other than the owner’s dog, called Jess. We dropped our stuff and decided to go for a stroll to the old railway station. Beautiful building. There was a choir inside it singing carols too, cool. Then we went to get dinner before the gig, I was pretty intent on getting Mexican but it turns out that’s not an option in Dunedin, so we settled on Japanese. Average meal, on all three counts. 5 out of 10.
Gig time! Super quiet show. By quiet I mean, there was 1 person there. His name was Bill. If you’re reading this Bill, thanks for coming down, man! We also managed to wrangle in some more backpackers late in the piece, so that was nice too. But this is the reality of touring sometimes. One night you’ll have a full room, the next you’ll be playing to Bill, the owners and their dog. You gotta take the good with the bad, but most importantly, you’ve gotta aim to enjoy yourself regardless of these external factors. And that we did, I ended up extending my set for half an hour or so and jamming out with Liam, much fun.
12/12 – Hilltop Tavern, Akaroa
We dropped the Gerner Jucy van off in Christchurch on the way through to Akaroa and all piled into my little car for the final leg of the tour. I’m not sure how we fit all of our stuff in, but we did, nice and cosy. I’ve heard wonderful things from many people regarding Akaroa. The drive out did not disappoint, really beautiful.
The Hilltop Tavern is actually, a hilltop tavern. It’s situated right on top of the hill before driving down into Akaroa, absolutely beautiful view of the township and the bay/inlet. Upon introducing ourselves to the owner, Jock, we were shown to our room and all decided we’d have a little nap before the show. It’s all of the little things that one comes to appreciate on tour. Like a good bed, or just a bed in general, a good shower, firm pressure and hot water that you don’t have to wait on for five minutes, warm blankets, free wifi. This place had all of these things.
Had a great show. The crowd were fantastic. I got Liam up at the end of my set and we completely botched ‘The River’ by Bruce, it didn’t matter. After the show we continued jamming at the bar with a few of the locals. Exceptional people they were. Many of them offered us beds for the night. Then we hit a wall of tiredness and all drifted off to our beds. After a cider or two in bed and some more laughs of course. Thanks Akaroa, you were great.
13/11 – House concert (Jackie and Joe’s) Carterton
We woke up at 5:30 am. Fuck. We were all pretty tired after going to bed at 2:30 or so. Regardless, we dragged our asses outta bed and got showered and dressed, then hit the road. We were headed north to Picton to catch the 1 pm ferry. Another 6 hour drive to get us there. The good thing is, you get a free ferry ride across Cook Strait if you perform on the ferry. So deliriously, Liam and myself performed on the ferry for two hours, jamming on each others songs, in between the captain announcements and drills training that all the staff were doing. Met some cool people and sold a bunch of CD’s, so that was great. Thank you kindly, ferry folk.
Straight off the ferry we headed to Carterton, it’s about an hour or so north of Wellington. It had been raining all day, but had cleared up in Carterton by the time we arrived. Jackie and Joe run a small farm and were the hosts for the evening. It’s a beautiful property. Sheep and ducks and goats other things were just meandering about everywhere. Our back drop was a big old oak tree. We were all feeling pretty tired after our day, but thankfully our hosts had bought us some whiskey to get us through. My new 7 year old friend Everett, loves the harmonica and my song ‘Lucy’, so I got him up to have a dance when I played it. He stood beside me for the whole song, with the biggest grin on his face, shuffling away, what a legend. Hope you like your Christmas present, buddy. Thanks to everyone involved with this one, it was a really lovely night.
14/12 – The Wine Cellar, Auckland – Final show!
Rose at 9 am, had a quick bite to eat, and bid fare thee well to all of our new friends from the house concert the night before. We had 8 hours ahead of us to get to Auckland. Take out a bit of time here and there for food and coffee breaks. Pulled into Auckland at around 6 pm and went straight into the venue. Well, we yelled at the back door at the top of our lungs until someone came and let us in. Turns out there is a front door at the Wine Cellar.
Straight in and straight to sound check. Rowan, the dude who runs the wine cellar is a really nice guy. Seeing as it was the last show, we all had a few whiskey shots before the show to commemorate what an amazing time this whole tour has been. Will Wood and Liam opened up proceedings and both of them played badass sets. By the time I got on stage I was extremely happy to be there. Played a really fun set and the crowd were great. I had Liam, Will Wood, Skyscraper Stan and Reb Fountain come up for a rendition of a Springsteen song towards the end. Much fun was had, I couldn’t think of a better way to end the tour.
And that is that, my friends. But before I wrap this thing up I need to say a huge thank you to everyone involved with making this tour happen. To anyone who came to a show, bought merch, sang along, danced, whatever, your support means the world to me. I’ll be back in the first half of next year so keep an eye on my Facebook page for updates. Hope you’ve all enjoyed the ride and my ramblings. I certainly have. Over and out.