Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Our Kiwi Road Trip Part 1: Christchurch to Queenstown

Day 1:
We landed at Christchurch in New Zealand at 4.30am this morning, both shattered from the lack of sleep. The depot to pick up the motor home didn't open until 8am, so we made the most of the warmth at the airport and tried to get a few winks. After an unsuccessful rest, by 8am we were able to catch the shuttle bus to pick up our new beast. 
I'm rather excited about the motor home as I know it will be a bit of an improvement to Maggie, as we will have a lot more space and home comforts. So once we had filled in all the boring paper work and the company tried to con us out of some more money, we found a supermarket and then headed to a campsite. 

We decided not to go far today, as we both needed to catch up on some sleep, so we bought a powered site (Oh what a luxury!) and crashed. Luckily the weather was really wet and cold, so we weren't missing much. 
We spent the evening deciding on a route to take around New Zealand, pin pointing all the places we want to see. I just hope we can squeeze it all in in 20 days.

Day 2:
It was nice to wake up somewhere warm, where I didn't have to manoeuvre my way through a space which felt like the size of a rabbit hole. So I put the kettle on and made breakfast. We have a shower in the Motorhome but it's very tiny and means emptying the grey water more often, so as we are staying in a caravan site (not on the side of the road) we made the most of their facilities.
We drove to Timaru, which was only 168km, a breeze in comparison to the distances we were travelling in Australia. About 10 minutes out of Christchurch the scenery changed completely. The horizon was filled with beautiful snowy mountains, which were magnificent to see. I have never seen a place look so picturesque and I can't wait to explore it further.
We arrived at the caravan site by lunchtime, which gave us the afternoon to explore the town. 
We took a stroll down to Caroline Bay, where the weather was grungy and the water looked way too cold to go for a dip. So we kept walking down to the Piazza and the carried on through the town. It was nice to walk about the small town and we arrived back at the site by late afternoon.

The site has free DVD hire so we borrowed a couple for the evening and headed back to the wagon. 
Overall it has been quite a peaceful day, but tomorrow entails a longer journey to a more glorious place. Queenstown.

Day 3:
Went for a shower this morning and someone had used all the hot water so it was like a plunge pool, not a good start to the day. Needed to cover 335km today to reach Queenstown, so we left around 9.30am.
The route to Queenstown was amazing, we passed so many pretty lakes and snowy mountains. I wanted to stop every 5 minutes to take a picture, but we would have never have made it to Queenstown if we need, so we just took a few.

We arrived at the campsite by 2pm, grabbed some lunch then set back out again to find the town centre. It only took us about 10 minutes to get there, but it took forever to find a parking space which would fit the wagon which is 7.2 metres long. Eventually we did and took a stroll along the lake (And took more pictures of course!).

We couldn't help but eye up the activities board outside one of the booking agents and ended up booking a fun filled day for tomorrow to keep us busy. As much as Queenstown is known for it's bungy jumping, we didn't quite dare to do that yet (However the canyon swing looks pretty amazing) so we settled for the worlds steepest zip wire and luging (which is a type of go karting) down the mountain side. It will be nice to do something more physical for a change. I can't wait!

Day 4:
We took the hotel shuttle to Queenstown town centre, where we grabbed a Starbucks to warm us up as the weather is definitely cooler than yesterday. It was so cold I was wearing 2 tshirts, 2 hoodies, 1 pair of leggings, 1 pair of trackies, gloves, hat and a thick pair of socks. I forgot my scarf. Once we had warmed our bellies it was time for our adventurous day to began. We took the gondola (a cable cart) to the top of Bob's Peak as this is where all the activities were for the day. We first went to the viewing point to take a few snaps of the beautiful view, before heading to the luge. A luge is a mixture of a sledge and a go kart, you got to travel down 2 different tracks once they had showed you how to work it. We had booked 5 rides and had loads of fun racing down the different tracks.

We finished luging by lunchtime and grabbed a gluten free pizza from the restaurant at the Skyline centre before heading to activity number 2. Zip trek.
Zip trek was a series of 6 different ziplines that started at the top of the Mountain and ended at the bottom. The first 4 ziplines were very tame and it was the perfect time to practice different tricks. Our instuctors, Steve and Arjun, showed us how to hang upside but unfortunately we couldn't go down like superman as that involved modifying the harness. The fifth zipline was called The Big Dipper, as its name describes, it dipped down through the trees before coming back up to the platform. We had to tuck up like a cannonball to gain as much speed as we could to reach the other side (with a little help from Steve who was on a pulley the other end).
The first 5 ziplines didn't require us to touch the ground at all because we just zipped from platform to platform. However, we had to take a 15minute down the mountain side before we reached zipline number 6. This is the zipline we were most looking forward to as it is classed as the steepest zipline in the world, reaching a recorded speed of 85kmph. Leigh went first and zoomed out of sight pretty quick, then it was my go. Steve the instructor dared me to travel it hanging upside down to set the bar for the others and I'm not one to turn down a challenge. So as soon as I set off, I flipped back and wrapped my legs around the rope. The ride didn't last very long due to the speeds I was travelling, but it was so much fun. I'm not sure it truly got my adrenaline buzz but it was still a brilliant experience, the instructors definetly made it even better.

By the time we had reached the bottom, we had made friends with another couple from London, so we went for a drink at the sports bar to share travelling tales. The shuttle bus was meant to pick us up at 7.45pm (the latest time they would pick up), but it never showed. It was too cold to wait around and no-one was answering the phone, so we hopped in a taxi and headed back to the caravan site. Overall it has been a really enjoyable day and I am so glad we done the activities we did. I love New Zealand!

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