So after 3 hours on the plane Nush and I arrived in Christchurch, which was not too cold actually, like normal winter weather for England, but we noticed immediately how clean and crisp the air was! We checked into a hostel near the centre, and headed into the town todo a food shop, before going back to the hostel and watching 'Wedding Crashers' while we had dinner. At about midnight, Nat arrived too, as our flight had been booked up when she booked her flights, and since we were still thining in Australian time (2 hours behind NZ) we couldn't get to sleep until 1am (although this was also partly due to the Spanish people talking really loudly outside our door - i was tempted to go and tell them to shut up, in Spanish, but did not).
Thanks to our late night, we didn't wake up till midday on Monday! I wanted to make the most of the day though, so i pulled Nat out of bed, and then had a quick play on the piano that was in the hostel! Funnily enough i'd been saying to Nat only the day before how much i missed my piano at home! Nush however had caught a cold, so decided to spend the day in bed, while Nat and I had a look round the Canterbury Museum which had some really interesting exhibits, and then walked round the Botanic Gardens, which were beautiful. After that we went to the Visitor Information Centre, where we ended up booking our Magic bus pass, a 3 day ski-ing package, a full day glacier hike and our accommodation for the next week. It was a lot of money to spend in one go, but such good value for what were getting. We then went back to the hostel to see how Nush was doing, and wandered back into town to go and see Hancock at the cinema, which was a bit rubbish. That night we tried to go to bed earlier, but still lay in bed for ages, and then had to get up at 7am for our train journey to Greymouth (on the West Coast). This was included with our bus pass, and was a ride on the Transalpine railway, said to be one of the greatest railways in the world. It was a great experience, travelling through gorgeous scenery across the the Canterbury Plains, through to snow-covered mountains, rivers and valleys. We did nip out to the viewing carriage, that had open sides for people to take photos without the glare of the glass windows, but quite quickly our hands grew painfully numb, so we had to get back inside! After 4 1/2 hours of beautiful views, we arrived in the town of Greymouth, that didn't have much there, except a shop called the warehouse (recommended by Luce and Ben) where we stocked up on some warmer accessories (and admittedly a couple of cheap tops that are not practical for the cold). When we got back to our lovely clean hostel, we were delighted to discover that the local bakery gives the backpackers free cream cakes!!! It was the best hostel EVER! We then watched the first Lord of the Rings (being in New Zealand this was a must at some point) and got a fairly early night as we still had a lot of sleep to catch up on before the 8am Magic bus to Franz Josef...
Nush here: i spent christchurch dieing in bed! i was very ill for three days, but after the flu i got my act together, met a lovely lady called Lulu and we booked up trips and bungey (eeek).....