Drive back to Christchurch

Today we got up in the morning and got our bags together to leave Wanaka. We had a long day ahead of us driving, but thankfully, the weather was incredble! Blue skies, and sun stayed with us the entire drive through the South Island back up to Christchurch. We saw the impressive Mt. Cook and stopped to take some pictures. The water canals surrounding this area is what New Zealand uses to power all of it’s electricity–hydroelectric power. The water is so blue from all the minerals from the soil and such. It really was incredible to see. We stopped for lunch in a very small town quickly, and then got back on the road–I drove part of the way as well. We finally arrived in Christchurch around 3:30pm and I figured I should eat before I get on the flight. So, we went to a cafe and had our last supper together in New Zealand. Tom then drove me to the airport and we said see ya–as he’ll be back in Sydney in just over a week.

The flight was on Emirates, an airline (world class) from UAE. It was the BEST flight I’ve ever had. So comfortable, the lighting was amazing–pink/flesh coloured above with stars, and blue colour fading down the windows. The seats were paisley pastels and the pitch of the seat allowed for a nice recline that also moved the bottom of the seat for a more comfortable position. Then, the entertainment was 500+ channels of movies, shows, and information. The coolest thing though, was the onboard cameras that you could view through your screen. There was one on the bottom of the plane so you could see below, and one at the front of the plane, so you could see from the cockpit. Coming in for a landing in Sydney was so incredible to actually see the runway in front of you and how the plane is maneuvered. So clever!

I had a fantastic time on my journeys in New Zealand, and sincerely thank Tom and his family for being so welcoming and all the friends that we met along the way! I hope to see you again someday, and Happy New Year’s!

Drive to Wanaka

So we started off this morning to head for the West Coast. We headed out to the gas station and filled up the tank. Everyone in the US is whinging about how expensive gas is, but they really have no clue — $1.35 a litre. Which, there is about 4 litres in a gallon, so you can do the math. After we filled out, we went back to the road to start our journey, and passed right by it. So we flipped a U-turn, and headed back. Well, then we passed it again, and we were cracking up thinking the people at the petrol station were watching us drive back and forth to find this silly road turn-off.

We then got on track and headed for the West Coast. The terrain was really pretty and mountainous. We really were going through Middle Earth. The drive was incredibly easy I thought–but that’s cause we had my ipod blaring and chitchatting the whole way. I ended up driving for part of the way as well. We finally ended up on the West Coast in Hokitika for lunch. We walked around the town to try to find the best place to eat, and ended up at a chinese food buffet. We then looked around for NZ greenstone, as it’s where you’re to buy it because that’s where it is found. Unfortunately, we didn’t really find any greenstone that I wanted, but I did find some good bone carvings and Paua shell items. I got myself a ‘Hook’ necklace with pewter and paua shell which signifies safe journeys across water. I think it’s great.

We then got back into the car to drive onward down the west coast to Wanaka. Our estimated time was 4 hours from Hokitika, but after about 2, we stopped at Fox Glacier for a snack. We walked around the township for a little bit and asked a lady at a shoppe how long it was to Wanaka. 4.5 hours? You must be crazy. Looking at the map, we’d already come half way. So we thought she just didn’t know, but then when she was saying times to other places we had just been on, she was right on. Uh oh!

We got back on the twisty turny road through the mountain passes and made our way (about 4 hours later) to Haast where we had a rip-off expensive dinner of 6 chicken fingers and fries for $34! Guess for the lack of customers they have to make their money somehow.

We then cruised on down to Wanaka where we met up with Chris and his friends and had left overs from their barbecue. It was great food. We then left with Chris to get settled for our time down in Wanaka.

Out to the Bach

Merry Christmas from Christchurch! Today, we got up and headed for the beach house bach which is about 45 minutes away North from Christchurch. We arrived ready and hungry for lunch and had a barbecue done as soon as a few others were to join. After a great lunch, we had a nice dessert of fresh fruits and such. I then got a call from my parents who had been trying to call me for about 5 hours to wish me a Merry Christmas. We then went for ‘Chrissie Pressies’. I actually had a few gifts under the tree! I got a calendar that featured pictures of Christchurch and Canterbury, a Photographer’s Journal, and a 2006 Diary/Planner, all featuring photography from New Zealand. We then spent the afternoon hanging out and Tom and I went to the beach to check it out. The weather hasn’t been the greatest, but it was still nice to see the Ocean–imagining that the next stop out is probably Chile South America. Dinner was leftovers and it was a nice quiet evening.

Christmas Eve

Lunch with Jilly then went to the botanical gardens with Kate. After walking around and taking some photos, we headed back home. Tom and I then went to pick up Indian food for dinner and get some groceries for our trip to the batch, Tom’s mom’s summer home on Amberley Beach on the East Coast. That night, we met up with some more friends and spent Christmas Eve seeing what Christchurch would be up to at night–apparently, not too much!

Christchurch Weather

So the weather hasn’t been the best since we arrived, and most days have been cloudy with spits of rain or shine. Today we had lunch with yet another friend and walked around the city a bit more. Today ended up being quite quiet as my hayfever was really taking a toll. So we had dinner at home and then moved over to Annabelle’s to watch her cat while she’s gone to Australia. I did a body balance video and watched some tv to turn in for an early night.

More Lunches with More Friends

Again, this morning we went shopping and met Olivia for lunch, who has been working on Carnival cruise ships for the past 9 months, and about to set off for her next jaunt in January. We then ran some errands and picked up some vegetables for a salad that we were bringing to Tom’s brother’s house for our Christmas Dinner. Annabelle, Tom’s sister, is going over to Australia for Christmas with her boyfriend’s, so this was the ‘family dinner’. Once we arrived, we saw the police and road construction like borders. Apparently a train had just struck a truck that was crossing the tracks just hours before. Luckily no one was claimed killed, but it was still eerie to see the site of a disaster like tragedy like that.

For dinner, we had a great lamb with potatoes, salad, and amazing dessert fruits, cookies, ice cream. We then had some presents to open, and Annabelle had me a little Kiwi pendant on a necklace made from Paua shell, which is found in New Zealand.

Tom’s Friends

This morning, we went to the city for shopping and had coffee with some friends from Tom’s Gym, and other friends that live above the port Littylton. After a scenic drive we ended up back home for mom’s dinner including cured Mutton. It was my first time eating mutton and it was delicious–since it was cured, it tasted almost exactly like ham! We then had a quiet evening just watching some tv and getting to bed early for some rest.

Christchurch City

Today we went to Misceo’s to meet Tom’s friend for lunch. We had the most amazing lamb yoghurt and curry chicken pizza. The food was absolutely gorgeous! After enjoying Janet’s company for lunch, we headed to the City Centre to get some souvenir type gifts of New Zealand. I found a cool jacket with the coastline of New Zealand being used as a design element. We then went to Les Mills Fitness to join a Body Balance class. Tom is a fitness trainer in Sydney, and used to instruct at Les Mills in Christchurch, so we joined a class that he teaches now in Sydney. It was so great. We then finished Body Balance and headed for Body Attack, which was a lot higher impact, and since I hadn’t done it before, I wasn’t too confident following along! I just didn’t want to get in anyone’s way so I was at the back of the class trying to follow along. It was great fun though :)

Return to Christchurch

Today we checked out of the apartment and headed for a good breakfast at Ma Maison. We then drove back to Christchurch and got dropped off at Tom’s house. We then rested a little before we got ready to go over to Tom’s friends Bruce and Haymish. When we arrived, there was already people there and food was being prepared. The house was a nice victorian style house with old architecture and a beautiful backyard perfect for barbecues. The evening went on with food and more food including lamb, sausages, venison, and chicken. Desserts were strawberries dipped in chocolate, tarts, and other great treats. I must say I have had the best food since I’ve been in New Zealand! We spent the entire evening enjoying all the fun company and food, and I drove us home! It’s quite interesting to be on the other side of the car/road!