Destination: Melting Man, Flock Hill Station, South Island, August 27, 2007

meltingman-015.jpgMan by nightmeltingman-039.jpg

I can’t quite recall how the idea began. I think it started when several of the Kiwiburn ExCom members started talking about their upcoming trip to the playa for Burning Man, and someone said, ‘Hey, we should have a We’re Not Going To Burning Man’ party for those of us left behind.

What’s the counter to Burning Man you ask? Why, Melting Man, of course!

The idea was to find a snowy paddock up in the mountains, throw a party, build a snowman, and then burn it. Apparently there are videos on YouTube demonstrating how this can be done.

Jonathan booked a DJ gig in Christchurch for the weekend of Aug 25th which coincided with the opening of the Burning Man festival in Nevada. Several of the Wellingtonians decided to make a winter holiday of it and booked their tickets down to the South Island. Cass and Jeremy came in from Oz.

Gang before NitrataJon & WendyGang

First stop: Kathy & Bruce’s International Burner Hostel where we comfortably accommodated our seven guests. We had a small house party before going out to listen to Jonathan dj at Nitrate. Dressed in our shiniest finest, we got down in the living room to some of JetPilot’s groovey tunes, spinning the hula hoops and enjoying some cocktails.

We booked ourselves into the Flock Hill Station Lodge & Backpackers which is located about 100 km (an hour+ drive) from Christchurch up near Arthur’s Pass. We loaded up the van and cars with a complete sound system, car port, hula hoops, and snow gear and the crew headed up to the mountains on Sunday and Monday.

The lodge & backpackers is located on a working farming station of several thousand acres, farming mainly sheep and some cattle and deer. The backpackers & lodge is situated on approx two acres. Usually during this time of year, the valleys are covered in snow. However, it’s been a dry season, and while some of the ski fields were open for operation, the lower parts of the mountains and the valleys were not under snow. Jase, the affable manager at the backpackers agreed to let us have our party up on The Knoll, located on the property and about a 10 minute walk beyond the lodge. We’d be able to play as loud and for as long as we’d like.

Getting Susie LoadedPutting Together CarportMoon over Carport

We borrowed ‘Susie’, the 4WD vehicle belonging to the Station and loaded up all the gear and drove up to the site and set up the car port and DJ gear. The Knoll was perfect. Gorgeous, stunning views of the surrounding valleys and an alpine lake. Those that went skiing that day managed to abscond with two precious large bags of snow which we used to build our melting man!

Making the ManJon & BruceDancing

The party kicked off around 9 pm with the twelve of us (Jodi, Wendy, Joel, Jonathan, Jez, Andrea, Tara, Bruno, Cass, Jeremy, Bruce, & myself). We stopped by the backpackers and invited them all; eight or ten showed up.

We illuminated our man, decorated him in some shiny, turned on the black light, and danced the hours away. The Green Fairy represented with some absinthe; Wendy brought the most excellent PSI hoop which razzled and dazzled; DJ’s Helix and Jet Pilot delighted us all. The full moon was resplendent and cast a beautiful glow onto the Knoll; the stars shone brightly. We didn’t feel the chill. We were excited, we were having a party, we were not at burning man!

JetPilotTara & BrunoKathy & Bruce

Sadly, but for safety reasons, we were not allowed to light our man on fire. But that was okay, for we allowed the natural elements to melt him away. He was headless by the next morn!

We had a relatively quiet next day with some folks skiing/boarding and some folks relaxing at the cabin. We chilled and played games, cooked yummy food and imbibed wine and beer.

HikingWaterfallFlock Hill Station View

We parted on Wednesday. Cass & Jeremy and Andrea & Jez were carrying on to the West Coast. The remaining five of us embarked on a several hour hike through the Station to view the Broken River falls. The signage to the falls was not the best and we ended up bushwhacking our way through some thickets. Through the fields, past the stock, and up the valley, we arrived at the falls. A short rest for snacks and photo taking and then we made our way back to the lodge and then drove home to Christchurch where we ended the trip with a fine meal at His Lordships Café & Bar.

Melting Man – the ‘we’re not going to burning man’ party of the southern hemisphere. Yeah, this could be the start of a new tradition. Thanks everyone for your vision and willingness to make this happen. It was loads of fun. Same time next year?