From Oamaru to Christchurch

Trip Start Jan 29, 2008
Trip End Mar 12, 2008

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

I was quite happy to be leaving rainy, dull Dunedin and heading off somewhere new on Saturday morning. I packed up my (still very wet clothes) from the wildlife tour and got on the MagicBus to Oamaru. Oamaru is a sleepy little town, which apparently not many people deem worthy of a visit as me and Catherine were the only two people to get off the bus here! The hostel was very homely; it even had a log fire going in the lounge! We spent the afternoon looking around the town and in the evening went to a place where you can see blue penguins in the wild. I really enjoyed that, they were so so cute! We even came across a couple of penguins crossing the road on our way home! Me and Catherine met up with a Kiwi (Steve) and a Scot (Karen) from the hostel and went for a drink at the local pub where we were graced by the village drunk.

From Oamaru, we took the bus the next morning to Lake Tekapo which I had really been looking forward to. The views on the way were amazing because Lake Tekapo is about 700m above sea-level so you work your way up through mountains and we saw the most stunning blue lakes as you can see in the pictures. The reason they are such a bright blue is due to rock particles in the water that come down from the glaciers. A bit of science for you there! We arrived at Lake Tekapo and went down to the lakeside where the braver people went for a swim (it's freezing!) and others sunbathed. In the evening, the bus driver made us all a barbeque and dessert which was a welcome break from cooking!

The next day, me and Catherine got a transfer to Mount Cook (the largest mountain in New Zealand) where we did a 4 hour walk through the Mount Cook National Park. It was hard work for an unfit person such as myself but I was proud of myself for doing it!

We reluctantly left the gorgeous Lake Tekapo behind and headed to Christchurch. This is where me and Catherine parted ways as she took a day trip rafting and I continued to a small town, that not many backpackers seem to go to, called Akaroa.

Akaroa is the most beautiful place I have been as yet in my life. It is situated on the Banks Peninsula not so far from Christchurch but it feels like a little paradise tucked away in the hills. It completely took my breath away as we came over the first hill and saw the various bays and villages. I stayed in a fantastic little hostel called Bon-Accord Backpackers which follows the French theme of the town, as it was French settlers who arrived there in the 1800s.

Today when I woke up in Akaroa I took a trip on the Fox II which is an old sailing boat (or ketch) where we saw other parts of the peninsula, some seals and a couple of dolphins! It was a good trip and a relaxing way of seeing the sights!

Tonight I am staying in Christchurch again and tomorrow I catch the bus to Kaikoura where you can do whale-watching and dolphin swimming!
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