M & M's arrival
Trip Start Oct 01, 2012
79Trip End Oct 01, 2015
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So M & M arrived and we headed back to the flat, introduced them to the kittens, drank a bottle of wine, chatted and went to bed.
The following day we awoke to a cloudy sky and decided to hang around the city and go for a little walking tour with me and tai as the tour guides, we had a lazy morning eating breakfast and wowing them with our bread baking skills before heading off. We walked down Gloucester street towards new regent street passing numerous dilapidated and crumbling buildings all of which had become normal for us now but M & M could not believe the devastation that was still everywhere in Christchurch’s town centre 3 years after the big quake. We walked around to the square where the crumbling cathedral still fenced off stands in the centre and then headed round to the restart mall – the first of the central shops to open after the earthquake and made up of shipping containers, we wandered the shops and did a spot of shopping before my dad soon got bored and we headed to a café to get a coffee, before long it started raining and we all huddled under an umbrella and tried to decide what to do. In the restart mall theres a museum called quake city which houses lots of information about the earthquake, videos and plans for the new city. We spent a couple of hours walking around this and were astounded by some of the videos including one showing the front of a building collapse just as someone was walking past – the video showed them diving into a doorway – the building crash to the ground and once the earthquake stopped them walking away completely unharmed, it was incredible. Unfortunately there were other stories which were not so positive and that was very sad to watch and hear about. We spent a couple of hours in here and then headed back to the flat for a drink before going to dinner at a restaurant recommended to us by a friend. It didn’t disappoint, the food was lovely and we even tried some wines from local vineyards that we would be visiting when we got the campervan in a few days time.
The following day myself and marion went wedding dress shopping – I am much much more confused now than I was to begin with! While we were shopping my dad and tai nursed sore heads at home and once we were home we had a quick snack and then headed out to the port hills, we drove along the hills that surround the city to Godley Head and went on a little walk along the cliff top the views were as stunning as ever, we couldn’t stay for long though as it was almost time to head over to Willowbank where we had booked a Maori Experience that evening.
We arrived at Willowbank, played around with some of the toys and magnets in the gift shop while we waited for our tour to start and then headed off to the native animal section of the park where we learned a lot about New Zealands wildlife and how the Europeans had basically destroyed it when they came over, they introduced rabbits which reproduced quickly and they would kill kiwis so in order to try and stop this they introduced stoats and ferrets to catch the rabbits but the rabbits are quick and kiwis are slow so obviously the stoats and ferrets went for the kiwis instead and so they had an even bigger problem on their hands, so now kiwis are really endangered and lots of other animals are extinct. We did get to see some kiwis though really closely which was awesome – they are a lot bigger than I expected them to be – some species can even reach knee height and we saw some keas – mountain parrots, a native pig (which was very very ugly) and some eels which we had to go back and see at the end of the tour so marion could feed them!
It was then time for a tour of a traditional maori village where we learnt about the maori culture, watched the haka and even got called on stage to participate ourselves – seeing my dad and tai trying to do the haka was a particular highlight and I have to say tai definitely embarrassed himself the least! The evening finished with a traditional hangi dinner of stone cooked meats and vegetables and some tasty pavlova for desert.
The following day and our last one in Christchurch we decided to head over to akaroa – a French settlement over the hills in the crater of an ancient volcano. We stopped at the hilltop tavern for a drink on our way and enjoyed the sunshine and views over akaroa harbour. We then carried on down and found ourselves a spot for lunch on the waterfront and spent the rest of the afternoon eating delicious food and sampling yet more local wines. That evening we had booked onto a tour to go and see some penguins. The tour company is run by a local family who own a sheep farm on the peninsular and have spent their lives working towards the conservation of the little blue penguins, they have built nesting boxes on the hills on their land and worked with the government to make the bay a marine reserve which means that no fishing can be carried out and potentially harm the penguins. we went to their house and saw 2 young penguins which were a little poorly and needed some help nursing them back to full strength – we then walked around the hills by the bay and saw lots of little blue penguins in their nesting boxes where they would stay while they shed their feathers, we stopped at some viewing platforms and spotted numerous penguins swimming around in the sea, we stayed here until sunset watching them waddle up onto the shore for the night. It was awesome.