Rangitata to Christchurch

The amount of wind overnight was enough to knockout power to our lodge. A little scary when you feel like the roof is going to blow off the building or a tree might come flying through the window.

Today we express from Rangitata to Christchurch where you have the day to explore Christchurch further.

Arrived into Christhirch airport at 8:20a and went to the info desk to see if I could catch an earlier flight back home but to no avail. However, I did find out that I could lock up my luggage (at luggage solutions: close at 18:30p and reopen at 4:30A). There are showers in the airport and there is a lounge where people can checkin for $5 and stay overnight. Now that I had a plan, I decided to tour the city. I took the 29 bus (you can also take the 3 bus to the city center. They leave roughly every 30 min from airport) to the city center. I got dropped off close to cathedral square and took the tram ($15 adult, ride and hop on/off as much as you’d like that day). First, I took the entire tram ride. Then on the second loop, I took the stop for the botanical garden. Wow, this place is huge. I ESP loved the rose garden (I have a soft spot in my heart for roses – my dad used to leave a rose on my dash everytime I would drive back to college after a home visit. I thought it was the sweetest thing). Def check out the New Zealand section as well as you’ll come across the native wildlife as well as the fern! After the bot tour, I checked out the Canterbury museum that is right next door to the gardens. There’s two floors and it starts from the Maori history and finishes in present day with earthquake history too. One of the most interesting exhibits was the Antarctica display. Definitely worth checking out! After that, I took a walk around Regents St famous for its mirror image shopping architecture. Lastly, stop by a cheese monger shop and tried various New Zealand cheeses. Went looking for wine (they were not licensed) and stumbled upon the container mall. It’s called that bc all the shops/stores are in these freight container looking setups. Neat place to walk around and browse. Finally, having a glass of wine at Fiddlesticks, cute restaurant and bar close to my bus stop. Christchurch is definitely a cute lil city that was unfortunately challenged with its most recent earthquake. But it’s rebuilding and if you have a layover for 4-6h, leave the airport and check it out. I’m glad I made the trek into the city!! Tonight I will stay in the airport and catch my Sunday morning flight home. What are the chances that the Waitakere United soccer team is in the same line for food?? They almost missed their flight home!
It’s been a fantastic trip. I give high praises to my tour group and company Stray Journeys. Although I didn’t get a chance to see the North Island, the mere stunning beauty of the South Island as well as the hospitality of the people truly make New Zealand one of my favorite places in the world. Stay quaint. Stay natural.

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Christchurch, NZ to Franz Josef

Minimal wifi here. So everything will be in fragments. Got shuttled to the Christchurch airport by the hotel (again, super nice!). Got picked up by the Stray bus. 4 gals on the trip: 2 from Ireland, 1 from Poland.
Christchurch – 6.3 earthquake in central city 2011. Killed 200 people. 4.5 million people in NZ.
Canterbury plains – 300km. Dairy farms.
Springfield – donut. Joke with Homer Simpson.
Castle hill – lord of the rings, Narnia. Rock formations made of limestone.
Arthur’s pass village – lunch stop. Got a sausage pie and tried the NZ lemonade. Saw a kea – the alpine parrot.
Entering Westland
Kumara – small town.
Farm land abuts ocean.
West coast – coal mining.
Hokitika – jade.
Ross – small gold mining town. 90oz gold nugget.
West coast gets a lot of rain. Many one lane bridges for flooding. Rain forests.
Lake Ianthe – glacial lake
Hari hari – landing of first ever flight from Australia (Sydney). Crash landing.
Mt Hercules – hill. 8km.
Franz Josef – named after the emperor of Austria
HH in Franz Josef – beer tasting of Spring and Fern from Nelson: Pilsner, raspberry cidre, porter, lager, and ipa. Cider and tesmin lager were best. Followed closely by non-hoppy ipa. Dinner at 7p. Doing the heli glacier hike tomorrow! 😊

Cairns to Sydney to Christchurch, NZ

True travel day. Flew today from Cairns to Sydney. WCS: surrounded (diagonal, in front, and same row) by 3 rug rats. One of them slept the whole way. The one in front screamed and cried consistently. The one in my row slept halfway but them just needed some entertainment. These poor parents… Trying so hard. Just landed in Sydney. Pretty nasty storm here. Bad turbulence! 😳 Small layover in Sydney and then connected to Christchurch, NZ.

Landed around 12:00a NZ time (they’re 21 hours ahead of Cali). Went thru customs and had no idea that prepackaged chicken sandwich that was not opened could not go thru. Wasted $9. I was going to eat that for breakfast. Nevermind that I am already tired… And then to be hungry in a couple of hours. Fail. Taxi cab ride to my hotel about a mile away was $25! Yes, I’m realizing I’m getting ripped off left and right (New Zealand, Ya better step up your game because right now you’re in the red!). Checked into my hotel, Airport Palms. I highly highly highly recommend this cute hotel. My key was left in the little lockbox with a key code that was emailed to me. It was perfect. Clean and professional establishment. In fact, the hotel made my evening. I went to bed with a huge smile on my face. Will meet up with my Stray Journeys group in the morning at the airport.