Trip Start Dec 03, 2008
Trip End Oct 14, 2009

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The next stop on our journey was to Christchurch.  It's the South Island's largest city.  Christchurch is a beautiful city near the water.  Half the city is a huge domain park with excellent botanical gardens and rose gardens.  We stayed just outside of the city center for 4 nights, right near the beach.  I was ready for a cabin so the first night that's what we did.  Bunk beds again!  Yippee!  The rest of the time we stayed in our tent, which I'm really starting to like more than staying inside - if the weather is nice. 

We spent some of our time in Christchurch in the domain park doing...nothing.  It was sunny when we were there, so it was nice just laying in grass.  We wondered through the botanical center and through a huge room full of Begonias - I have never seen anything like this before.  We also saw orchids that were the size of my head - literally.  Christchurch also has the best bead store that I've seen so far.  Let's just say I...I may have spent more time in there then I thought.  Poor Brian, waiting outside.  But who can blame me, it was the best one yet.  Afterwords we headed out to the peer.  We saw some drunk people fishing and other guys catching crabs.  It was pretty fun to watch them. 

We were lucky enough to get to a rugby game too.  The Christchurch Crusader's vs. The Bulls (from South Africa).  We got tickets 2 days before the match and still got first row.  We were thinking we'd be the only ones there, considering we got front row, but it was packed.  The match was so fun, the fans are amazing and so into it.  It's hard to believe the players can handle those sorts of hits.  One guy had to leave the game in the beginning to get stitches and was back in 20 minutes.  What?
After Christchurch we had 2 days before we had to be in Ashburton to start working.  Christchurch is really close to the Banks Peninsula so we headed there for the night.  The drive in was unbelievable.  Rolling hills with 1,000's of sheep and the sea.  The town of Akaroa sits right on the water (yes, we have something for towns and cities right on the water, but being in NZ, it's really hard to find one that isn't).  The town is lined with restaurants and shops.  We wondered around for awhile and had a great lunch at a little cafe.  We heard they were hiring so we bothered them for awhile about a job - turns out we got wrong information.  As we were looking, we stumbled across a water-front restaurant that was having crazy Happy Hours deals, so...we stayed.  We also got a bottle of champagne and enjoyed it on the beach.  We didn't have to work the next day.  Akaroa was absolutely stunning and since we visited there, we have had a number of people from the South Island tell us that's one of their favorite places - and ours too.

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