After dragging Bex from what was certainly the most comfy hotel bed of out trip so far at 5.30 am, we took the 9am flight to Christchurch, New Zealand very sad to leave Sydney.
What a difference NZ is! It felt like we had stepped back in time to an English country town in the 1930's. Red telephone boxes n village greens, statues of Queen Victoria n church bells ringing...we were both expecting Miss Marple to walk round the corner. It is very beautiful with ultra friendly n polite people it was also eerily peaceful! But with no more than 4 million people in the whole country it's no surprise it's quiet and with a hotel suite given as a surprise we were v happy again.
Next day in 30 degree sunshine we went off on a whale watching tour to see seals, dolphins and whales! Joining a mini coach for the 2 hr trip to the boat we joined a group of slightly weird looking and very very talkative New Zealanders. They don't stop for breath! Our guide was a 7 ft tall 6ft wide mauri who would make our mate Mark Staunton look like a dwarf. She was joined by her "brother"?! who was 5ft tall woman!
On the way we stopped at a big village of 300 people for tea and cake which we were sternly told by another 8 x8 ft person they were NOT homemade as if we had insulted her by asking! Quite strange as village was miles from anywhere!! We were then too nervous to go to the village craft fair which to us looked like lots of homemade knitted jumpers!!
We carried on through beautiful countryside, a mixture we thought of the Scottish highlands and Canada We drove past many vineyards which are becoming more popular now than the sheep shearing business and past Montana vineyard to Bex's delight. But later discovered to our disappointment it is would not be any cheaper to buy here! Still about £10 a bottle!! So our hopes of clinking round NZ with a crate of v cheap Montana were dashed.
There are 4.7 million cattle in NZ which is more than the humans who live here n might explain the ancestry of some of our travel companions! We passed by sheep constantly some deer and then got to the seals, lazing on the rocks in the sun or splashing about in the sea. It was 5 min stop then onto our whale watch tour. On board coach conversations did not stop...everyone chats to everyone n they love talking about road journeys...my attempts to start a conversation on Bonny M and that lead singer Bobby Farrell had just died was met with a stony silence.... Silence at last!
Anyways the highlight of the day was the whale watching experience and even though it was just the one whale we were joined by a pod of playful dolphins and a lonesome shark and as Dan again survived the boat trip without being sick it was a success! After that we got taken albeit unexpectedly to a wine tasting winery as this was Marlborough wine region, where we happily sampled 6 wines, was then we realised it was cheaper to buy it in Tescos, Woodford! Makes no sense to us either! But were told there are many Montana wineries across NZ so we will do our research thoroughly x