We're in New Zealand! There was quite a few tears when we said bye to Josh at the airport, I felt like a leg was missing when I walked through to departures. But the flight was perfect we watched films and as no one was sitting next to us again so we could stretch out :) An announcement was made that all those not receiving a meal could buy snacks via credit card so I began rummaging through my bag to buy a couple of cokes but then the stewardess asked me whether I would like beef curry or chicken salad. Chris and I looked at each other bemused and she said that our meal and drinks were included- Chris and I were ecstatic! A double round of cokes and beef curry please :)
We picked up our campervan which despite being older than our campa in Aus has its charm as well as that delightful musty smell. That morning chris and I had an argument as I appeared to have lost my driving license meaning that he would have to do all the driving but thankfully the woman who gave us the campervan accepted my counterpart as a driving license -phew! I was still overwhelmed from leaving Aus which felt like home and missing Josh, so I had a long cry whilst Chris was doing all he could to entertain me. We found a holiday park and got all our things organised, as we have a DVD player we went to the nearest store which we later called the Devils Warehouse! It sold everything imaginable and we wanted to buy all of it, in the end we only bought two DVD box sets, sweeties and a new SD card as I have no more memory for all my 1654photos :)
Next morning we went to the supermarket which had free Internet so we could research what to do in Christchurch. There was a rugby store and they were advertising a game on that night - we bought two tickets row CC £8 each Canterbury Crusaders vs Stormers. A brand new stadium had been built as the last one had been destroyed in the earthquake, this was in fact their third game as they had over a year of no rugby so we felt quite privileged to be there. We still had 7 hours before the game so we decided to roam around Christchurch centre.
We'd heard from other travellers not to stay in Christchurch as they are still getting aftershocks, in fact they had a 4.5 aftershock the day before we arrived which is quite strong. The feeling of loss and destruction is very prevalent within the city centre which had so many roads blocked with No Public Access signs and armoured guards; there are numerous city maps which show the 'Red Zone' which covers well over half of the city. There's flowers tied to the railings as well as articles fighting to restore their cathedral which is currently being pulled down; theres rubble and fallen signs everywhere but new shops have been made out of large containers painted bright colours. We went to Canterbury museum which had an exhibition dedicated to the earthquake; showing footage from the streets and shops as the earthquake hit. There was a sign that stated there had been 10,256 aftershocks since 4/9/2010, which is updated daily. When we walked around the city it felt like we were on a movie set; it will take years until its back to normal.
We found a site to stay at right next to the stadium, not the most glamorous of places but the ideal spot for us. We were given shower tokens which allowed for 5 minutes of hot water, I used both mine and Chris' for a shower. We walked to the stadium bought a delicious hot dog and chips and found our seat. The stadium was packed and had such a fantastic atmosphere. To start the game they had a horse and rider all dressed in black circle the pitch, roars from the crowd as he passed and then 6 horses came out and circled the pitch waving their swords. The horn went and the game begun, I regularly had to ask what the score was as I had no idea what was going on except that it was a great game. We were in the cheap seats so sat amongst the students; our section was by far the loudest of them all constantly trying to start a Mexican wave which eventually was successful. The local students were clearly very excited about this game so the drinks kept flowing which led to a lot of police attention, one policeman came and sat amongst us and slowly but surely 5 or 6 guys were thrown out - entertainment both on and off the field haha We were sat in front of three kiwis who knew all the players names and gave us a hilarious commentary throughout the whole game, I think you can imagine what they said. Canterbury won 31 to 24!
We had a great nights sleep and set off for a 6 hour drive to Queenstown. Initially we were driving with the snow topped mountains on the horizon and within hours we were driving through the windy roads with mountains on our right and deep gorges on our left. We swapped driver every 2 hours to have a little break, we also stopped on a couple of roads that had no other vehicles around for miles and took some photos. Majority of the time the GPS is a blessing sometimes it tries to get you to drive over a stream then a river, I drove over the first but didn't dare drive through the river. We went back and a woman said she always has to pull drivers out with her tractor, she gave us the correct directions and we were off. The drive was a breeze after that and now were camped up in a holiday park amongst the mountains; with the door open you can smell the wood from the forrest as we lay on our bed.
At this precise moment were in a bar watching the Grand Prix, the race is on the big screen with commentary - Chris can't stop smiling! It's only a 4 minute walk from our campa so won't take too much effort to get into bed. Oh and there will be no more complaints about heat, it is freezing so I'm wearing both of my jumpers and my anorak :) Our only plan for tomorrow is to go to the tourist information and book some activities; I really want to go kayaking through the lakes and rivers amongst the mountains in a place called Milford Sound. So far New Zealand is stunning and Queenstown is the place to be for adrenaline junkies! My ear infection appears to have healed itself so we're both in excellent health. I hope everyone at home is well and enjoying warmer weather, take a ten minute shower for me :) Glad to hear Josh and Cal are home safe and sound - miss you guys!
Love and miss you all, Love Jess and Chris xxx