Monday, 14 September 2015

Our Kiwi Road Trip Part 2: Christchurch to Wellington

Day 5:
IT'S SNOWING! We woke up this morning to find a fine layer of snow covering the ground. It has been a long time since we have both seen snow and I was very excited. Leigh on the other hand did not share the enthusiasm as we had lots of kilometres and steep roads to cross today in a 7.2m long vehicle which has no four wheel drive. 

We packed up early and skipped breakfast to get a good start on the drive in case the weather got worse. It wasn't long before signs appeared saying that certain roads could only be accessed by small vehicles or wheel chains must be worn. This didn't look hopeful. But luckily the Sun started to burn through the clouds and the roads were fine. The wind was still strong and it felt like it was rocking us from side to side, so we took it easy.

We had 482 km to travel to reach Christchurch, which meant we spent all day driving. The view was still spectacular throughout the whole drive and I've never seen water look so blue. 
We finally arrived at the campsite by 4pm and booked in for 2 nights so we could properly explore Christchurch tomorrow. But for tonight, it was time to chill out in the wagon with some good food and a DVD.

Day 6:
We set no alarm this morning so we could have a bit of a lay in. We booked up the ferry to cross over to the North Island in a few days time and then hopped on the bus to the city centre. In 2011 Christchurch was hit by an earthquake which reached 6.3 on the Richter scale and the evidence is still present today. The majority of the city is still under construction and some parts look completely derelict, but in a few years time, it seems Christchurch will be better than ever. 
Most of the shops had been partly destroyed, so they had been reconstructed in shipping containers. There was a variety of different shops and a load of different pop up diners and coffee shops. 

We stayed here for lunch and grabbed a coffee from the cafe. There was an Art Exhibition on, but unfortunately you had to prebook the tickets, so we had to give that a miss. Being a Sunday little was open so we hopped back on the bus and headed back towards the caravan site, stopping off at our new favourite supermarket Pak'n'Save to pick up a few pieces. Then we settled in for another night in the wagon.

Day 7:
1 alarm snoozed. 2 alarms snoozed. 3 alarms snoozed. That pretty much summed up this morning. We started a bit later than planned, but we only had 180km to travel today.
We arrived at the caravan site in Kaikoura by lunchtime and grabbed a bite to eat. Afterwards we decided to take a leisurely stroll down to the Seal Colony to see if we could spot some seal pups. Little did we know it was a 10km round trip, luckily it was a nice day for it. There were seals lounging around in the sun everywhere. One even scared the life out of me as it made a noise as we walked along the boardwalk above it. It was definitely worth the trek. 

Obviously we couldn't walk all that way without a coffee break at a little cafe along the high street. 
By the time we got back to the wagon it wasn't far off dinner time, so we settled in for the night. 
We are catching the ferry tomorrow to the North Island, so no more snoozing.  

Day 8:
Even though we only had 138km to travel, we still had an early start. We booked to catch the ferry to Wellington at 2pm but the latest check in was at 1.15pm, so we wanted to make sure we were there in good time.
The journey to Picton wasn't very exciting, we did however see a few a deer farms on the way (Which has not been a rare sight in New Zealand), it feels like New Zealand must be the main supplier for venison as this is the only country I have seen as many deer farms as there are cows. 
We arrived in Picton by 11am, which gave us the perfect amount of time to grab a coffee and some lunch before heading down to the ferry terminal. Just like when catching the ferry to France, you have to sit in a long vehicle queue which you wait in for what seems like forever, before they cram you into a space that seems way too small for your wagon. However, we successfully parked the beast in one piece and headed up to the higher decks to find a seat by the window as apparently you get some pretty good views.
There was no chance of us paying attention to any views, the journey was horrible. The sea was so rough and choppy, we were being thrown about left, right and centre. A child a few seats away from us was nicely honking up into a paper bag and apparently, according Leigh, I had turned as white as a ghost. I'm not surprised though and one point I thought I would be following in the child's footsteps. So we moved to the back of the boat, sick bag in hand, where we found it a lot calmer and my face regained its colour. 

The journey lasted around 3 hours and once we had finally got off the boat at around 5.45pm, we headed straight to the caravan site. We then cooked dinner and headed to the sports bar down the road, as we felt we definitely deserved a beverage after that journey. 
Tomorrow we will explore what Wellington has to offer.

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