Saturday, 12 March 2016

Heading South, Part 1 - Shake, rattle and roll!

We left our accommodation in Mount Eden in a bit of a rush to catch the bus to the airport but when we arrived and the board said it was going to be late anyway Will decided to run back home to grab his blue shorts (he had forgotten them because I had cleaned them off from the floor and in to the wardrobe; who’d had thought to look in there eh?!) Checking in was the quickest and easiest experience I’ve ever had! We printed off our boarding passes, chucked our suitcases on to a conveyor belt then had plenty of time to buy food AND relax with a glass of vino.    

On board the plane we got a free cookie and drink, even though the flight was only an hour and a half. There was hardly any turbulence and before we knew it we were back on land. The city of Christchurch is named after the Oxford college and is situated in the Canterbury region (all sounds very English doesn’t it!) After a few devastating earthquakes and their aftershocks in 2011  in which 185 people lost their lives Christchurch is slowly rebuilding. There are cranes everywhere 

and the place is filled with ‘gap fillers', like these sheep...

urban allotments, pop up shops and bars and lots of street art

The more time we spent there the more the city grew on us; it feels very contemporary and creative. We walked through a small street with cute little cafes and an old fashioned tram

but the only photo I could take was of the tiles as my iPhone informed me that I had used up all my storage! I later discovered that you essentially have to delete photos twice, a fact I’m sure pretty much everyone else is aware of… Anyway that night we ate pizza at a cool little fooderie, Vespa which yes had a couple of Vespas gracing the walls as well as some Italian posters. We ordered such a meaty meal that unfortunately the pizza was rather greasy, though still flavoursome (what do you expect really when you order ALL the meats?!)

Our accommodation at The Old Countryhouse Backpackers was lovely and they had upgraded us to a room with an ensuite, such a novelty for us! Will ventured out for breakfast and came back with croissants and a Valentine’s Day card - very surprising! We wandered around the city before having drinks and a snack at C1 Espresso, the quirkiest cafĂ© I’ve ever been to. I think the building used to be a post office. 

It was very spacious with very high ceilings. The interior had some great lighting,

you poured the water from a sewing machine

the toilet entrance was behind a bookcase of actual books which moved when you got close enough

and the curly fries arrived at our table via pneumatic tube!

Our Apex hire car was a little further out from the city so we decided to arrive early and see if we could pick it up. Will was happily exchanging details with the man behind the counter when I heard a bit of a rumble and felt a shake and thought it must have been a big lorry rumbling past. But then the ground starting moving from side to side and everyone inside froze – it was an earthquake! We were told to stay inside and it didn’t last long but many people were visibly shaken; the damage that had been done 5 years earlier was obviously still such a vivid memory. I spoke to one woman and she said she hoped that the source was close by as we had felt it pretty strongly and the damage elsewhere could be much worse. The building we were in was earthquake proof but looking at the news later on some stores nearer to the centre of town had stock all over the floors. Thankfully no-one was injured but the earthquake had measured a 5.9 on the Richter scale!

We drove further south and crept closer and closer to the mountains, with the LOTR soundtrack blasting out of the stereo again like in our first camper van trip and our first quick stop off was at Lake Tekapo. 


  1. So the adventure began with a wobble ;-)

    1. Just a little one! But it continued in an incredibly smooth fashion :)