20.03.2008 - 21.03.2008 22 °C
Today we jumped in the car and were off across the centre of the south island for a 7 hour drive to Christchurch. We had no real intention to go across the centre, that was just the quickest way, but we were so glad we did as the scenery was totally different to anything else we had seen and it would have been a shame to have missed it. Looking more like the rolling hills of Yorkshire or Derbyshire, Lindis Pass was simply an unexpected treat. We stopped off at the visitor centre at Lake Tekapo for a drink. Unfortunately they only had bottled water but we did not mind as the view to the west to the Southern Alps and snow capped Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand at 3754m, was out of this world.
Nearer Christchurch the land went totally flat and the traffic increased so we were glad to eventually find our Hotel in the afternoon. The Château Blanc Suites was quite central and even though it was not as good as the other places we had stayed, apart from the campervan, it did the trick for us. We had the afternoon in Christchurch and it is not a bad place at all. Some beautiful architecture and simple to get around.
So we had done the history bit, done the adrenalin bit, done the wildlife bit, and that left a bit of culture. Being rig pigs you would expect us not to have any culture in us but we got 2 seats at the Court Theatre to see Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood. It was a nice little place and lets just say the cliental were a little different to those in Queenstown. The play is a little heavy with loads of different characters being played by six actors, but I have to say I loved it. So well acted and they pulled off the welsh accents a treat.
Comedy moment of the day: we had booked one apartment over the internet with a pull out bed in the living room. When we got there the receptionist told us the website was not correct and we only had a double which I suppose being in a big city and use to that kind of thing did not bother her. I told her that we were not a couple I am afraid to which Julian piped up “there is no afraid, we are not a couple period”. The receptionist was so embarrassed and had to frantically call around to find another bed. Luckily she managed it else I would have had to spend the night in the bath tub.
This morning we went to the Antarctic Centre which mapped the part new Zealand plays as a stepping stone for scientists studying at Scott base. It had loads of good stuff and the funniest bit was the ice storm room where you put on a jacket and they turn the temperature down to minus 18 degs while blowing wind on you. I may have got carried away and threw a few snowballs at Julian.
Me feeding the wildlife
This afternoon we went up another Gondola on the north side of Banks Peninsula, which is a massive extinct volcano. The views over Christchurch were great and we got to see the Pacific ocean for the first time. After a bit of food we went into the Botanical Gardens, which may have been fantastic if it were not 8pm and getting dark.
It is the last day for the numpties today as Julian leaves for Auckland tomorrow to get his flight home, which marks the start of the slowdown and the end of the holiday. I have one more day in Christchurch before I have to pack and catch my 6 month flight back to Glasgow via Dubai. It will be a sad day tomorrow as it will probably be my last blog day.
Comedy moment of the day: Getting lost in the botanical gardens because it got dark and us trying to find the exit before they locked the gates.