We had lots of fun in Christchurch, but it was a very sad time because we said goodbye to our travelling buddies; Lucy, Lee, Rob and Tim. So finish on a high we all went out for one last time on Friday night. This started with drinks, cards and a cake (from Lee and Rob - arrrrrr!) at the hostel followed by a stop a the bar at Base hostel for the cheap $4 drinks and onto Sullivans for more drinks and a bit of irish dancing.
A bit hungover I got up and did the free walking tour of Christchurch, at 10am, with some other people from the Magic bus. This was a great way to see the city, when you only have a couple of days there, and our guide, an american girl called Emma, was lovely. We walked to New Regent Street to look at the pastel painted spanish mission style architecture. From there we went to Cathedral Square, the heart of the city, to admire the striking Gothic Cathedral (built 1881) with it's impressive rose window and wood-ribbed ceiling. In the centre of the square is the 18m-high Metal Chalice sculpture created by Neil Dawson to scknowledge the new millennium. We then crossed a bridge over the beautiful Avon River which the city's tram goes over and watched people punting (very English hey!) down the river. Next stop was the Arts Centre - beautiful, old, gothis style buildings (once Cantebury University) and browsed round the bustling weekend market. I grabbed a delicious German hotdog from the markets international food fair for the bargain price of $5! Pudding was some yummy samples of fudge, including Hokey Pokey flavour, from the Fudge Fair inside the Arts Centre. Last stop was the Botanic Gardens, the green heart of Christchurch which is known as the 'Garden City'. We passed the Peacock Fountain and wandered round the gardens, which the Avon River snakes around. It's nothing compared to Sydney Botanical Gardens. On my way back to the hostel I crossed back over the Avon River via the Bridge of Remembrance which is a striking archway.
Said our goodbyes to Lee and Lucy who were off to Fiji to soak up the sun and then I went to wander round the Art Gallery which is set in a very eye-catching metal-and-glass collage. I enjoyed the Thaw exhibition which was photographs by Ernest Edward Mills Joyce of his time in Antarctic and the I See Red exhibition which brings together an exciting selection of artworks exploring some of the powerful ideas and meanigs attached to the colour red. It was a good job that I was inside because, typical English style, the weather went from being a beautiful sunny winters day to a horrible raining and snowing day. Due to the bad weather I stayed indoors for the rest of the afternoon and looked at the free exhibition in Our City O-Tautahi (Old Municipal Chambers), walked past Victoria Gardens which has a statue of Queen Victoria and watched the fabulous Sex and the City film at the Regent on Worcester cinema which is a classic, old style cinema. Chilled back at hostel, spoke to Mum and Kat, which is harder to do in NZ due to lack of skype and expensive phone cards and said goodbyes to Rob, Tim and Shona.
Got Magic bus, with lovely Tim waving us off and followed the rugged coastline to Kaikoura. To my surprise, the fields and hills were white with deep snow a truly beautiful scene, if not a tad cold - will we ever see the sun again! Had the best hot chocolate ever at cafe the way. Our plan was to go Whale Watching in kaikoura but to our dismay it was cancelled due to 40 knot winds and bad weather, a bit disappointing but a relief in a way because it was going to cost us $120 each to do the trip and we could do with the money for the rest of our trip. Instead we spent the day walking on the beach, talking to a lovely fur seal that had found a spot on the beach to rest, watching videos at the cosy hostel and eating yummy fish and chips - great day really.
We're now off to Blenheim, Malborough Wine Region, to find out what all the fuss is about with these Sauvignon Blancs - will be in touch, take care xxx