I don't know what to think of you yet, New Zealand

Trip Start Nov 09, 2012
Trip End Mar 04, 2013

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What I did

Flag of New Zealand  , Canterbury,
Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Although New Zealand is
in the Southern Hemisphere and only 3 hours from Australia, it should
be noted the two islands do not share the same level of warmth. We
flew from a high 30's temperaure into below 20's and felt it. For
the first two days we've been quite cold, even with tracky dacks,
long sleeve top, jumper, body warmer and wooly hat. Well I was, Debs
managed with shorts and a jumper. The first day in NZ was raining,
and we were wondering why the hell we left Australia...

We're now in a
campervan and will for the next 3 weeks.  
It has a 2 stove cooker, fridge and sink, as well as
cupboard space. In the rear it was two sofas and a table, which
transform into the bed at night. We made up the bed on the first
night and it has stayed that way since :0) The bed is surprisingly
comfy considering it is essentially some cushions on top of a piece
of wood... Our first 24 hours in the van were psychologically
distressing, as we attempted to cope with the move from
apartment/hotel to campsite – but, now in our 3rd day,
we're starting to love it.

We're using Top 10 Holiday Parks, which came recommended to us by friends and tour operators. The campsite was fairly
large with a couple of hundred pitches for campers and motorhomes, as
well as cabins and hotel rooms. We had a powered site so we could
hook ourselves up to electricity to charge the battery, run the
fridge and charge our electrics. The communal block wasn't too far
away and housed the toilets, showers, laundry and kitchen facilities.  We are using Toilet-Flops (flip flops for showers only) so that our feet don't come in contact with the shower room floor - so we're still being a little bit precious about the camping thing...

On our first full day
here we went into Christchurch city centre – or what's left of it.
The earthquake in 2011 has really done a number on it, with most of
the city centre closed off with the unsafe buildings being pulled down.
In the centre, shops have opened within shipping containers which
and is quite remarkable, with about 30 or
so crates, some on top of each other, with the sides replaced by
glass to make them look like traditional shops. Locals says that it
will take 20 years to rebuild Christchurch to how it was before the
earthquake. Getting around Christchurch is a bit of a mare as many roads are
closed so we spent a lot of time
getting lost as we tried to follow the map and ending up being sent
in all directions – but we managed to drive into the city centre
and back out again – a triumph for my non-existent navigational
skills. In fact, we have foregone sat nav on this trip and I am the
navigator – so we may yet end up in Fiji!

Yesterday we went on a
road trip to Akaroa, a French village about 90 minutes away from
Papanui. It took us a little longer to get there as we got very lost
in the city centre whilst trying to find the 73 highway – but after
several arguments and Debs saying that she'd rather be at work (!) we
found our way on to the right highway. An hour or so later we
arrived in Akaroa and to the most stunning scenery we've ever seen.
It has a massive aqua lake with mountains on each side, and has
shops, restaurants etc – and a lighthouse (with wind up parts which has to be wound up every 90 minutes ((for dad)))
which we walked up. It was a very relaxing, beautiful place. After
walking around for a while (and having a lovely ice cream) we headed
back to the city and luckily, I got us home without drama. Last
night we went to the local mall to watch the Jack Reaper movie –
good old Tom Cruise saved the day again, bless him...

Today we have left
Christchurch and are on our way Lake Tekapo – a 4 hour drive
inland, where we will be staying for a couple of nights and will hopefully
visit the Mount Cook observatory, where they purport to have the best
views of the night sky in the Southern Hemisphere,
lots of walks around the lake and a visit to a hot thermal outdoor
spa. Fingers crossed....

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