We left Shotover at 10am and headed for Christchurch.
We stopped to watch some bungy jumpers in Kawarua. One girl was given the countdown and, when it got to 1, she froze to the spot but on the 2nd attempt she jumped.
3 2 1 Bungy!!!!!
Had a lovely drive to lake Tekapo with wonderful views of Mount Cook. Our plan was to stay overnight but, as we'd arrived early afternoon, we didn't feel there would be enough to do to keep us occupied so we did the standard tourist which is to take a picture of the old stone church and we then carried on towards Christchurch.
The camp site again was very basic but for “card holders” they offered a free private spa, so Pete and I decided that, as it was free, we would take them up on it.
The “Private Spa” had the ambience of a knackered old shed in the back streets of Calcutta but, what the hell, it was free.
14th April 2008
Christchurch was wonderful and quintessentially English. Gorgeous weeping willow trees whose branches dipped into the River Avon, for a fee a “Gentleman' will punt you down the river and, of course, he would be wearing the obligatory stripped waistcoat and boater.
The River Avon
A lovely Cathedral (small by English standards) was holding it's Sunday service, it was lovely to watch as the choir paraded up and down the aisles holding a huge golden cross and candles. Pete and I are not religious so we didn't actually go into the cathedral whilst the service was taking place but we could see through the glass doors.
Inside of Christchurch Cathedral
We took a beautifully restored tram to see the attractions of Christchurch and got off at “Artists Corner” really was lovely, lots of street artists singing & miming the whole area was buzzing with life.
Out of all the places in New Zealand Pete & I decided that Christchurch is were we would settle if we were to stay in New Zealand, we're not going to but it was a charming city, very English!
After we had done the “sites' we headed off to Arthur's Pass which is listed as a “must do” in the rough guide, it was meant to be an amazing feat of engineering. I'm afraid to say that is was a complete let down. According to a local at Arthur's Pass Village the government had made changes to the roadway which had taken away the wow factor.
We stopped for a beer to decide what we were going to do next.
You may be wondering why we were doing a whistle-stop tour of South Island . The reason for moving on a such a pace was that it was starting to get really cold so we didn't want to camp and we were paying out to stay in cabins. Even though it was cheap it was still a cost that we couldn't afford - also the forecast was showing that bad weather was heading our way so we might as well head back to Nadezhda. The final deciding actor was that the clock was ticking and we needed to get Naz ready for the off to New Caledonia.
We pulled into a camp site which boasted “terrific”views of Lake Brummer, so we paid the money for the night and headed to the cabin.
We really should have checked it before we paid the money over as it was extremely poor. Patches of stained carpets & bed linen smelt of being long overdue for a wash, we were asked when we checked in whether we had our own bedlinen so why were there sheets and what were they hiding?? we didn't look, thank god for sleeping bags!
The dining room/tv room was full of dilapidated furniture that even Steptoe would have turned his nose up at.
The the icing on the cake was the kitchen, it was dirty and totally non functional, the electric cooker rings we broken but still working (just) the grill sat on the bottom of grill floor hanging on by a thread and the sink was leaning downwards only held up by a wooden nailed support - any amount of water would have seen it crashing onto the floor. Before we could even start cooking we had to bleach the work surfaces.
Check out the rings!
15th April 2008
We had a good nights sleep, amazing given the surroundings! We headed off for Nelson.
Not a lot to say really as when we arrived the clouds opened so we didn't get to see much of the area.
16th April 2008
We changed our ferry booking to head back to Wellington earlier than planned as the weather forecast was bad so we wouldn't be able to do the Abel Tasman tramp, but in all honesty we were tired of camping and we both wanted to get back to the boat. There would be no point hanging around South Island when there was so much to do on the boat in preparation for leaving in May.
We decided to stay the night in Picton as the ferry was booked for 8am. Picton is a quaint little town but again it was raining so apart from wandering around the shops there really wasn't much to do.
17th April 2008
A real shame as it was cold and wet so we didn't get the views of Marlborough Sounds.
Whilst reading this you may think that we had bad weather all the time in South Island but it didn't stop us from seeing the sights!
We have had a wonderful time and we both feel that North Island & South Island have their own magical qualities but we're looking forward to going home to Naz.
We stopped at a camp site just outside of Cambridge for the night as it meant we would only have a two hour drive to Auckland the next morning to pick up our repaired Avon dinghy and charts needed for our passage onwards.
18th April 2008
Dinghy and charts picked up we arrived home at 5pm, to celebrate we bought takeaway chips and burgers, home sweet home!!!