Trip Start Jun 04, 2009
79Trip End Sep 06, 2010
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We did manage to get away from the rain, thankfully, but of course as we were driving into the mountains our overnight stop was in the freezing cold mountain valley
Sadly the next morning it was overcast and cold still so we cancelled our plans for a day hike and instead planned to spend the night on the Banks Peninsula just south of Christchurch. We didn’t really plan for much in-between but our drive out of Arthur’s Pass was beautiful as we watched the clouds lifting and revealing the hidden mountain peaks and it actually became warm enough to consider venturing on a few walks to some beautiful limestone rocks on Castle Hill. This area was used in Lord of the Rings and the Narnia films quite a lot and you can see why
After a long drive from Castle Hill we made it to Banks Peninsula which is absolutely beautiful. It was created after a volcanic eruption and you can see the shape of the old volcano and the pretty town of Akaroa in the dip where it’s crater would have been. We had a lovely drive along the top edge of the peninsula and made our way to one of the outer beaches where our campsite was for the night. We had a very memorable meal that night as we actually splashed out on a pack of sausages. This is worth mentioning as we had been traveling for over a week and I pointed out to Steve he’s been a vegetarian all that time – which did not go down well! As he was so upset about the matter we agreed splurging the budget on some bangers and mash wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world
Clearly not content with having a beautiful beach to just the two of us, I decided to get up at 6am to watch the sunrise while Steve slept in. I’ve seen a few sunrises on my own now and they never fail to impress me, I simply don’t understand why the world doesn’t get up to watch the sunrise, have a nap through the day and get up for sunset again, that would be my perfect scenario. We made our plans over breakfast for our hikes for that day and as we were making our way to the car the heavens opened again. I have no idea where the clouds even came from this time. Unfortunately they were here to stay though and although we popped into Akaroa for a quick visit we couldn’t attempt any of the hikes once again. Miserably we decided to cut our loses and head into Christchurch where we could huddle up in the warm and dry somewhere.
Now I should interrupt this entry to warn you that I fully intend to give you an accurate portrayal of our traveling experiences
Please bear in mind that we have been living in Queenstown for 8 months, a very small place with very few roads and our driving around New Zealand to date has not been to places with more than one main street. Therefore once we hit Chirstchurch and saw a traffic light and more than 5 cars on the same stretch of road for the first time we hardly knew what to do! We drove around endlessly trying to find a hostel for the night, when we did eventually find them they were full and we were battling with a map that had the one way roads labeled in the opposite directions so after three hours of hell we decided to pull up at the gardens and go and have a picnic to recover. However as we were walking away from the car we saw a man with a chain of different car keys around his neck walk up to it and look in all of our windows. As all our worldly possessions were in the car we couldn’t risk leaving it in the vicinity of this dodgy gentleman and so we had our picnic next to the car park before driving off and doing yet more circuits around Chirstchurch (now deemed the Anti-Christ) before deciding to head out of town altogether. It was already dark and our next scheduled stop was nearly another two hours away but at the time anything was going to be better than staying in that godforsaken, built-up maze of roads! On our way out we did make use of the one good thing about Chirstchurch, which was having shops again
Oh and did I mention it was STILL raining!?!
Finally in the dark and rain we made it to Hamner Springs where every hostel was fully booked. It was nativity like! We owe our sanity to Edwin the manager of Hamner Backpackers who, despite being full, let us put up our tent in his garden so we could then come inside and dry off and use the hostel facilities. Of course the tent was soaked all over again and we failed to co-ordinate well in getting anything inside it without that getting soaked as well. On the plus side though the hostel itself was one of the best we have ever stayed in and Edwin baked us a chocolate cake with ice cream which made us feel better about everything. I was just starting to think about sticking with my optimistic attitude when I went to serve up the broccoli we were having for dinner and found a, now dead, caterpillar floating in the water
Hope that hasn’t depressed you too much, I promise that next time there will be more uplifting tales to tell (I know this to be true either because I can see into the future or because I’m so behind on writing the blogs – you decide)
Stay dry and warm everyone,
Lots of Love,
Amy and meat-Starved Steve