After rubbing the sleep from our eyes in the shadow of Mount Cook, we set off on the leg of the journey that should have led to Christchurch. Unfortunately the February earthquake had rendered the majority of the city unsafe to visit, and accommodation was still impossible to come by. We were both looking forward to visiting the little English town in the middle of New Zealand, and it's a big shame for the paralysed tourist industry that the region so desperately needs. However, the city quite clearly needs some time to get back to it's best and the last thing the locals need are rubbernecked, happy-snapping tourists keen on arty shots for their Facebook profile.
Our drive therefore, was cut short. The next stop became Rangitata - a rafting destination that is otherwise unremarkable. We stayed in a lodge for which privacy is a foreign concept. Three tier bunk beds had occupants crammed in like cattle, and the prison-like communal showers had me wishing I had bought a soap-on-a-rope. A night in front of the TV watching Jackass and Flashdance was our only choice here. This was made slightly less enjoyable by a young American lady who made it her mission to convert everybody into 'K-Bake' (Kevin Bacon!) evangelists. I'm not sold on the idea.
Other than a 2hr trek through well-trodden mud in order to see a comparatively unimpressive waterfall, Rangitata was one of the most forgettable stops during our travels so far. That's probably a blessing in disguise, as we are on a rapid northbound trajectory from here as we rather dramatically race to Auckland for our flight to paradise. The rest probably dun' us good!