Day 19 Christchurch to Timaru
Last morning in Christchurch, I for one will be sad to leave our suite, or should I say house at the Heritage Hotel. Bill cooked a nice fry up whilst I went into the lobby for my ½ hr free wifi to catch up briefly on emails and check on Bill's mum on the video camera. Received a worrying email from Karl at Tailor Made saying he had heard we had missed our flight from Fiji to NZ and was everything OK. Obviously as we are here in NZ we clearly didn't, so quick response to say all fine. We have driver picking us up at 10:30 so no time to go out again. Pacific Horizon sent an airport shuttle for us; sensible I guess as their base is on the airport. We had one more pick up for a young British tennis player and either her mother or coach, (maybe both, not sure) who had been competing in an international tournament and were flying to Auckland. Once we were at the compound it was all the usual paperwork etc and then we were off. Camper van is OK but a little basic compared to the British vans and about the size of one of the 2 bathrooms at the hotel! Found a commercial centre nearby and a Pack 'n' Store to stock up on food and we managed to spend over $225, more than we would normally on a weekly shop and we haven't bought enough for a week but I guess we were buying things that we wouldn't normally buy and have in our store cupboards at home. In the end we didn't actually get going until 2:30. We had been advised by the girl at Pacific Horizon not to take the coast road across the Canterbury Plains but to take Highway 77, the inland scenic route, longer but prettier; what she neglected to say was that we needed to come off the 77 to pick up the scenic route so we missed it - typical. The Canterbury Plains are billed as a flat plateau of every shade of green imaginable; have to say I wasn't overly impressed; long straight roads with very little traffic but apart from the Southern Alps in the distance which in the summer are not as stunning as the European variety it wasn't terribly exciting. Had arranged an overnight stay at a Native Park where you can stay at a Homestead. No amenities but you get to meet the real Kiwis ad see how they live.This place is called The Shearers Quarters Giftshop & Café run by Stu and Michelle Paterson. Seem a nice couple if a little bohemian. There place certainly is and has a selection of animals onsite including alpacas, various types of pigs, goats, donkeys, deer, ducks and chickens (hopefully no cockerels, don't want a 5am wake up call). There is also a driving range, which Bill used whilst I was making dinner and mini golf. Making for Dunedin tomorrow after we do a little detour to Geraldine, place that is not a person.