The trip to Christchurch

As I didn’t want to go on the internet for an hour I haven’t been on Wifi for a while so I haven’t made any posts. So the post on Wellington is also new.

First thing on Saturday I headed across from Wellington to the port on the South Island known as Picton. The boat ride across was fairly windy but the boat was so big (and undoubtably has stabilizers) that it didn’t get tossed around by the sea. After arriving in Picton which was a bit chaotic but I safely made it onto the train south and as it left at 1pm I had plenty of time for lunch too. Then after a relaxing train ride down the coast I arrived in Kaikoura. My accommodation, like most accommodation in town was a long 500m walk from my hostel which wasn’t much fun. In the evening I went to a fairly pricey restaurant to try some crayfish which was very well cooked but unfortunately the crayfish itself didn’t really taste of anything (so basically the sauce was nice).

Then in the morning I got up early for the Dolphin Encounter, the weather wasn’t as nice as the previous day so the boat rocked and heaved a lot in the water. It was also really cold especially on my hands and feet, though even on Tahiti I don’t think the sea is exactly warm. Anyhow getting to see the dolphins so close beneath you was amazing and a hugely rewarding experience and there were loads and even some with babies and even though they didn’t pay much attention to us, maybe because the sea was so rough or they were bored with people in their water. On the last trip when returning to the boat one of my flippers fell off so I had to swim faster than I’ve ever swam before to get back to the boat; I think the sea was pushing me away and then I did feel seasick.

After that I had a simple but good chicken and Brie panini and hot chocolate which definitely warmed me up inside. After that I headed back to the hostel to get my stuff for the train. The train ride passed through a lot of tunnels and spectacular scenery visible through shiny glass on it’s way to Christchurch. Once I got there I got a taxi for the first time since Iquique in Chile to my hostel as I wasn’t going to carry it from the train station to my hostel. In the evening I avoided McDonalds for a cheap meal by having some Greek food for dinner. You may notice I haven’t had much traditional New Zealand food (like guinea pig in Peru) as you aren’t allowed to eat Kiwi and even the Maori meal was chicken and lamb. I then went off to the cinema to see the new Bond film which was excellent and it had a good plot as well as lots of action, the only criticism was that it was a bit too Hollywood (I.e. Bond would get shot at lots and all the bullets would miss and he’d shoot back once and hit.) The cinema was pretty comfortable too; much more comfortable than the cinemas in Oxford.

Wellington

After a long and boring bus ride down from Turangi, aside from viewing north islands largest volcanoes on the way I arrived in Wellington on Wednesday evening. First I drove up with my cousin to a viewpoint (whose name I have forgotten) overlooking the city of Wellington. After that beautiful food we went back to her house for some dinner before bed.

The next day I caught the train down into town and bought some new shoes to replace the old wet and ruined pair from the walk in Turangi before going to the Te Papa national museum. There I saw some interesting modern New Zealand art and some other fairly interesting exhibtions including one on Scottish immegration to New Zealand and some frankly mediocre rides on adventures and underwater volcanoes in New Zealand. It also included an outdoor exhibition which wasn’t amazing but to be honest I’m a bit sick of museums at this point. Even so I spend several hours there and afterwards I walked along the warves back to the train station.

Then on Friday I headed back into the city centre and first took a free tour around the parliament building. It was great that they still gave the public access to it (including foreigners) in my view and we even got access into the chamber itself. The tour was free and good too. After having a brief look in the national museum I had an excellent lunch in the lively backbenchers pub opposite the parliament which included cartoons and caracatures of several MP’s.

After lunch I went to St Pauls cathedral in Wellington which was a very modern stunning building which I was very impressed by. Then I went to the New Zealand national archives to see the treaty of Waitangi, which was the treaty with the Maori to give New Zealand to the British. After that I saw the old St Pauls which was a small wooden church and was also very pretty and a complete contrast to the modern version. Then I headed up to the cable car and the cable car museum which was interesting but the cable car had far too many stops for my liking having 3 stops from top to bottom where noone got on or off. Later we headed into the bush for a bit to see tree ferns before returning home.