From Tekapo we made our way to Christchurch for the final days of our trip together. We dropped the car off first, and boy did it feel good not to have to worry about driving and road conditions and other cars on the road anymore!
Christchurch isn’t very big, and I had spent a few days here with my mom, so I used my time here to simply relax and it was fantastic. I did make my way back to the botanical gardens, and I also celebrated my two month travel-versary, but other than that I laid low and did some catch up.
We decided to leave New Zealand with a bang, and signed up to do a grand tour of Christchurch. The day started with a little punting on the Avon River.
We moved on to a tour of the beautiful botanical gardens.
Then moved to a gondola ride overlooking Lyttleton Bay.
We also went on the city tram for a little bit, but we were exhausted so no pictures. We did check out the museum, and it was my favourite museum by far! Totally interactive and hands on.
Our last stop was the Re:Start Mall. These shops are usually in the old university, but it was damaged during the earthquake, so the city created a shopping area out of shipping containers.
Unfortunately it rained, so we had to cut our visit a little short. We’re getting picked up at 3:10 am tomorrow, so it’s our last day in New Zealand, but I think we fit in as much as we could during the last two weeks.
Today we had our last bus ride in New Zealand; a 6 hour ride from Dunedin to Christchurch. We arrived in the afternoon, and decided to just walk around the city center, since we didn’t have a chance to do so when we were here last week. Somehow that turned into a 4 hour walk throughout the whole city.
We didn’t take many photos, as we are doing the Christchurch grand tour tomorrow, but here’s some pictures of the Christchurch Cathedral (damaged in the November earthquake) and Hagley Park.
The TranzAlpine train was as wonderful as I had hoped! It was a beautiful 5 hour ride from Christchurch to Greymouth, and the only time in which I will stand for hours in order to get better views (from the open viewing car rather than my seat).
When we arrived in Greymouth it was raining, which didn’t bode well for our time in Franz Josef. Franz Josef is a town just off the Franz Josef Glacier, so we had booked ourselves a glacier hike tomorrow morning, but if it’s raining and cloudy it is likely to be cancelled.
But since it was New Year’s Eve, we decided to treat ourselves tonight, and not think about tomorrow. We found a wonderful restaurant, that let us in before their reservations arrived.
And then we got ourselves a private glacier hot pool, to fully rest and recuperate from all our traveling.
T’was a lovely and relaxing way to bring in 2017.
We were flying out to Christchurch this afternoon, but still had the morning to explore Wellington some more. Our original plan was to head to Zealandia, but that morning we instead decided to stay in the city and enjoy our first real warm weather. We started the day with a fantastic breakfast at Cafe Neo.
We headed down the boardwalk, past where we walked yesterday, and ended up at Oriental Bay, the local beach.
I wasn’t properly dressed for the beach, but mom did dip her toes in. When we were tired of sitting in the sun (or more accurately, when we were afraid if we sat any longer we wouldn’t get up), we explored the beach further and actually saw some jellyfish!
Eventually we made it back to town and explored the city. We stopped by a bookstore to browse, and found that they had a really lovely cafe, so we spent some time there. All in all, we had a wonderful morning exploring a little more of Wellington.
And then we were off to Christchurch!
Our flight to Christchurch was the shortest flight I’ve ever been on – 50 minutes from take off to landing. We walked through the city after checking in to get dinner, and it’s been really damaged by the earthquake in November. We’re only here for the one night, but we’ll be back in January, and I’ll have pictures and more to share then.
Tomorrow we’re off on the TranzAlpine train and I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. It’s supposed to be one of the greatest train journeys in the world, so I really can’t wait.