Hey! Did you know Ridley Scott is filming his next movie in New Zealand? Neither did we until we ran into Michael Fassbender at breakfast yesterday and became best friends with him (Ok, sure, one of those statements is somewhat of a stretch and the other a bold face lie).
But truthfully - yesterday was a funny day, and not just because of our new, sure-to-be-lifelong friendship with Mike (as we call him.)
In a nutshell: we woke up in the most gorgeous camping spot excited for the legendary Milford Sound, saw an A-lister in the middle of nowhere, got a flat tire (tyre, mind you), saw the Sound in all its glory, and are now "stranded" in a town called Te Anau until Monday to get said tire patched (is also where the film crew is headquartered, apparently, and today was their day off and we keep spotting crew members all over town because theyre the ones obviously not backpacking. And they look like crew to me, ha).
So let's back it up.
There is only one lodge and campervan site in Milford Sound, the aptly named Milford Sound Lodge. It sounds bigger than it is, but it is less lodge like, in person. Still, it looked quite nice, and their food / coffee was spot on. We were actually hoping to score a room there and kick campervan life to the curb for a night, so we tried to book from Queenstown - but no luck, all booked up. Kind of beat ourselves up a bit on not planning ahead on that one. But in the end, it worked out so well as we stayed at the closest DOC site about an hour away for 12$nz, and it was beyond beautiful:
One of the pictures we hoped to get with the real camera was a starry night. Sus tried, but it was cloudy, and getting late. Like 930p late. However, hours after we had fallen asleep I got up to use the bathroom; it had to be around 11p, the stars were out in full effect, and it was perfect. Easily in the top ten pisses of my life, but I could not get Sus out of the warmth of the bed to take pictures. She is the skilled photographer, so you can just google "New Zealand starry sky" and you will see what I saw. Seriously, if it wasn't so late, like 1145p, I would have stayed out there for dozens of minutes.
We decided to skip our own lame breakfast options and check out what the Milford Sound Lodge's cafe had on hand, as it was also the only spot listed in the book to have food. It's a phenomenal drive in to the Sound as well, huge valleys and gorges formed by long-gone glaciers (as is the Sound). Also a drive thru a mountain in a tunnel called Homer.
As we near the lodge, we see traffic cones and warning signs on the road: Warning: Film Crew." Huh. Thats funny. I'm immediately thinking, whatever film is going on, I bet the crew is staying at the lodge (and I therefore no longer feel bad about not booking ahead, I'm sure it was fully booked for months, ha). We get to the lodge, use their bathrooms (obviously, they are much more pleasant than portapots), and i come out to the cafe area to hear Adam whisper, "Magneto is here."
Actually, I did not whisper Magneto, I said Michael Fassbender, but Sus could not hear me as I was being extra quiet / mumbly since we were surrounded by crew. I got out of the bathroom first and peered into the area that said "Private." Not because I thought there would be a famous actor, but it was in my general line of sight. The two people in the room, and mind you this is not a doored off area, just an open wall, looked at me, and I them. I immediately recognize Fassbender and then walk away.
...which...really just confused me because i started looking for Patrick Stewart. But yeah, right next to the cafe ordering counter, in a little closed off to the public space, was The Very Handsome Michael Fassbender, having a leisurely breakfast with some chica, acting like it was totally normal to be there in the remote Milford Sound Lodge. Which, to him, I'm sure it was. But not to us. We waited for our food and tried to be normal as we guessed what the hell was going on, and holy crap its gotta be a pretty big movie thats happening here, and WHO ELSE is in this movie?? Crew were coming in for breakfast, talking sbout scene changes, blah blah blah, and holy crap that's Michael Fassbender.
After some time of casually stalking Mike, he left (im sure we'll just meet up later, right, Mike?), then we went to leave to catch our Nature Cruise tour we booked for the morning to see the Sound (what we thought would be the highlight of the day, ha, movie nerds). Still excited about our sighting we drive out and then...."i think we have a flat tire...ahh crap, we have a flat tire."
whap whaaaa. So we drive back into the lodge, and start to change the tire. I thought we looked like we knew what we were doing, but it was about 20 seconds before a guy came over to lend a hand. Enter Colin, New Zealand man of the day, as he definitely sped up the process and gave advice we wouldnt have known (flat was front drivers side, he heavily suggested we put the doughnut on the back though, and swap the good rear tire to the front steering tire for more stability...because we had to make it about 120 km to the next real town, through mountains and so forth). Turns out Colin used to work at the lodge doing maintenance and was back to help out on the movie, driving a boat. So awesome and helpful, as we probably would have missed our tour without his help, and more importantly, who knows how the car would have handled the somewhat rough terrain back, with a doughnut on a front steering wheel.
We made Colin do all of the work.
As we drive into the Sound to the boat terminal (just in time, by the way)it becomes clear where they are filming today...there's a spaceship in the Sound, boats spreading fog, blue screens, tons of people and maybe 8 or so huge grip trucks. And as we pull out of the Sound for the tour, the captain mentions it's the new Alien:Covenent movie, and the nature guide starts the tour with, "and on your left is just a movie set," haaaa.
Then we saw the Sound and it was gorgeous, epic, and (hey!) "otherworldly." Sheer, enormous, cliffs created from glaciers, waterfalls everywhere (that the ship went riiiiiiight up to). I can absolutely understand why an Alien movie is being filmed here, this place is like no where else I've seen, and these photos do it no justice...