It's the final countdown!

Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
Trip End Jun 18, 2011

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Thursday, October 21, 2010

Today is our last full day in New Zealand! Even though we have been looking forward to going to Australia, our final day here has still crept up on us. Knowing that we will be leaving in a few hours made us feel at a bit of loss, we wanted to see some of the city but knew that we had lots of things to do before we leave. However, the couple from last night, Smiley and Anna, had told us about a really nice town to visit called Lyttleton... and Smiley had told us about a brilliant chippy, where if we told the woman behind the counter that we were 'Smiley's mates' we would get a mammoth portion of chips. So we had some breakie and drove over to Lyttleton, which was only a few kilometers away but because of the mental city traffic it took us all morning to get there. The town was a lovely little harbour village surrounded by mountains and has a look-out point up in the hills with views over the whole city, which we decided to visit. We got up into the peaks if the mountains when suddenly the sky turned black and it started to pour with rain, so we headed back through the hills and back to Christchurch. But after a few minutes the rain got heavier and heavier then turned to hailstone and the sky got blacker and blacker. Pretty soon the camper was getting battered by hail-stones the size of marbles and there were forks of lightening streaking across the sky. We kept on driving and as quickly as the storm had come on... it was gone. So we headed into the town again and bumped into the couple from the campsite, who had got hungry whilst telling us about the chippy and had come over themselves to get some lunch. In the afternoon we went back into Christchurch and visited the museum for a few hours as it was still quite chilly after the storm in the morning. Back at the campsite we cleared the campervan out and re-packed our backpacks... god they get heavier everytime we put them on. We have accumulated quite a lot of crap during the last few weeks and it took a while to get ourselves sorted.

After 46 days in New Zealand we were both really sad to be spending our last night here. Reflecting on our time in New Zealand is a really strange experience; it feels like a lifetime ago when we touched down in Auckland and got driven to the campervan depot like two dazed and confused zombies. New Zealand has given us some of the most incredible experiences of our lives and whilst the weather hasn't been too great during our time here, our whole trip has flown by in the blink of an eye. It is very difficult to pick our highlights from the last few weeks but there are a couple of moments which I will never forget for as long as I live: lying on a platform at the front of a boat and seeing wild dolphins playing a few feet away from me in the Bay of Islands, seeing the Tongarino National Park unravell across the dusk horizon, pushing myself to my limits in the Waitomo Caves and Abel Tasman, laughing my socks off at Tom whilst we were stuck in Nelson, being stranded on the side of Takaka Hill at 7am, seeing Franz Josef Glacier for the first time, gazing at the stars and galaxies in Lake Tekapo and getting a soaking at Milford Sound, amongst many others. For Tom, his highlights are hiking up the Franz Josef Glacier, waking up on the beach after a night on a wilderness campsite and, of course, flinging himself off a little ledge with a big elastic band tied around his ankles! The funny thing is that being in New Zealand has really made us reflect on the wonderful country we live in at home and has made us detirmined to enjoy Wales a lot more when we get back, we are very grateful to New Zealand for giving us a new perspective on our home country. So I guess that the only thing left to say is goodbye New Zealand and thanks... we've had a wonderful time. xxx       
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