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Zombie Apocalypse: Red Zone was the name of a theater production that was shown in Auckland, Christchurch and hopefully making its way to Edinburgh. It was an interactive, engrossing, enthralling and heart pumping show. The location in Christchurch was a huge warehouse full of earthquake rubble.

The theater goers arrived. Some were young kids and some middle aged people, the majority were probably in their 20’s and 30’s. There were only 50 or so people, and it this Friday night show was sold out. After checking tickets and having a number written in sharpie on our hand, we entered the fenced in yard surrounding the warehouse. The gates were closed behind us.

The fence was over 8 feet tall and was made of wire. The yard was full of dilapidated sheds, old worn out furniture and other fast fading signs of human habitation. We all milled around, unsure of what to do. There were a few giggles and people startling their partners or siblings. Suddenly, a theater goer who had been standing a bit apart from the crowd was grabbed and bitten by a growling, bloodied zombie! Faster than we could imagine, an SUV whirled around the corner and soldiers shot the zombie, hopped off, and contained the bitten theater goer.

There were still a few nervous giggles as the soldiers started to shout at us, yelling at us, accusing us of being somewhere we weren’t supposed to be. We had flash lights shined in our eyes. We were manhandled and shoved around. We were herded through a small hole into the mess of the warehouse and divided into two groups:one to the medical wing to look for supplies, the other to the communication center.

If the first few moments of the show didn’t fully enthrall you, than the next few parts would. We were active participants in this zombie apocalypse scenario. Eamonn was told to cover one of the soldier’s back as he entered a room to clear it. While in the medical lab we were all asked to look for medications and files. I was asked to hold a drip for a suffering pregnant woman. All the while there were four screens showing us what was happening with the other group and showing us other areas of the warehouse, which were full of zombies. There were gunshots, an explosion, running through zombies and horrific deaths. It was intense. It was amazing. I would highly recommend finding a way to see this show or find a way to bring it to your area.

What made it difficult at first for me was that one of the soldiers yelling in my face was the son of a WWOOF host we had had. I knew that in real life he was a very sweet, funny, interesting guy. Not at all like this shaved head swearing sergeant. He did his job well and convinced me eventually that he was in fact that sergeant.

Anyway, the experience was one of a kind (hopefully not, but not in real life, as another show). I was sad when it ended, just because I wanted it to keep going it was so captivating. I also wasn’t looking forward to the late night drive to Hanmer Springs, our final visit.

We arrived in Hanmer late, but not too late to find two of our house mates awake, but sick. The night that ensued was hilarious. We chatted, laughed for hours. One of our housemates lent us her room because her husband was hunting and she is that generous (so is the other housemate to be fair). It was great to sleep in a bed.

The next morning we relaxed, visited a few places and then were fed an amazing dinner and had another hilarious night. We played a game called Irish Snap and we were all dying with laughter and had sore fingers! (It has to be explained in person and then immediately played, it doesn’t sound fun when described, but it is.) It was too bad that our other roommate wasn’t there, but we had so much fun despite that. It was a good farewell.

Our next stop after Hanmer was going to be Nelson and then and early morning ferry from Picton to Wellington. We’ll we underestimated how far Nelson was and didn’t get there until well after dark. Instead of checking it out, we carried on to our campsite close to Picton. It was a good thing we carried on because the drive was long, windy and dark. The last few kilometers were on a road so windy, I wasn’t able to ever reach the speed limit of 50km per hour (that’s about 30mph).

The ferry wasn’t eventful. Rabbit Proof Fence and Captain Phillips were shown and I enjoyed both of them. Then we were suddenly in Wellington having a cup of tea. We were officially off the South Island!

The South Island of New Zealand is a place full of scenic views, seemingly untouched nature, and open-hearted people. I will always remember the adventures that were had.