The drive from Queenstown to Tekapo was a good few hours (as is everything), but we stopped for lunch at Lake Pukaki. The lake was so blue, as it holds glacial water, with Mt Cook dominating the far edge of the lake. Definitely the prettiest lake that we had been to so far (and there had been a fair few). Tekapo is a sleepy town, again with a lovely lake. We arrived when it was sunny, so we took our towels and sun cream for an afternoon of sunbathing. The water was so cold, so we opted out of swimming. Being a Sunday, loads of families were out on the lake in their boats waterskiing, kayaking or having picnics. It was pretty busy and had a great vibe. We headed back and cooked risotto for dinner, then went back to the lake for sunset. Sunset was a bit cloudy, but still pretty and a good opportunity to use up the last of our beers.
Our second day in Tekapo was more relaxed. Everyone else on our bus left in the morning as the scheduled stop was only one day, however we opted for a second. We had to move out of our 4 bed dorm to a glamping tent, although we actually found this better and were surrounded by wild rabbits. We went to the hot pools for some relaxation around lunchtime and spent a couple of hours in and out of the baths, sauna and steam room. After feeling a little too warm, we dried off and went for a walk into the village. The village was about three shops, but allowed us to have a look around. We also walked over to the church of the Good Shepherd. Apparently, the church is booked up for years in advance, and you can see why from my photo below. We had another chilled evening, but as it was raining, we spent most of the time playing cards in our tent.
Again, the drive took what felt like ages. We stopped in a place called Geraldine (where the oldies live) for a coffee and then carried on to Christchurch. Getting off the bus was funny as we waved goodbye to those staying in hostels (and felt very smug) whilst we jumped in the car with Lauren. Lauren and David (friends of my parents) had offered to let us stay with them, and keep us in check for the next 6 days. We were given a tour of the city and then headed to Sumner beach to give Marley (the dog) a run. We had fish tacos for dinner and then chilled by the TV. It’s so funny how much you take TV and a sofa for granted at home!
The rest of our stay was spent out and about seeing the city, but also spending time relaxing. We had a day doing odd bits and bobs (getting Jack’s glasses fixed as some girl in one of the hostels trod on them) and then saw Split at the cinema – the new James McAvoy film. The film was actually very good, one that got you so engrossed. The cinemas in Oz and NZ are so much nicer than those a home with proper leather seats and no popcorn on the floor.
I was determined to see a Kiwi, so on another of our days we visited Willowbank wildlife reserve. We fed eels (eew!), sheep, deer, and all the other farm animals, and had a general wander to see all the native NZ animals (there aren’t many 😂). The kiwi’s are kept in an enclosure which is dark during the day, when they are awake, and light at night. They are so cute, but it’s so sad that they are pretty much extinct in the wild. We had a wander around one of the other malls and then walked home. The sun was to warm up which was great!
Being the tourists that we are, we spent a day in what is left of the city. Obviously, a lot of the buildings were destroyed during the earthquake, so the city is currently being rebuilt, which makes for some interesting sights. We visited the cardboard cathedral, a temporary cathedral as only half the other one is still standing, and the RE:start mall, a shopping area made of shipping containers. Both were so interesting. We also passed the memorial for those who sadly died in the earthquake. This was such a good memorial with a white chair laid out representing everyone who had died. We then had a wander into the Canterbury museum. There were some really good exhibitions and it was free, even better. We planned to go to the earthquake museum, but it was $20 each so we decided against it seeing as we had already heard stories from the Browns. As it was a nice day, we hired a rowing boat and hit the river Avon. Jack went first and managed to get us up the river. I was on edge the whole time and didn’t think he was very good until I had a go. It was one of the hardest things to do. I nearly took out a number of ducks and a boat full of Asian tourists 😬. We then took a walk back through the botanic gardens to Hagley park, then met Lauren and Imogen for noodles at the pop up Noodle market in the park. It was really cute with loads of stalls, lanterns and some lovely smells. The prawn and shrimp dumplings were so yummy, the Hakka noodles not so much. We headed to New Regent Street for gelato and then rolled home.
Saturday was spent roadtripping to Hamner Springs, a cute alpine town with hot pools and loungers to relax on. It was a couple of hours out of Christchurch, but the drive didn’t seem as long. We got there early and secured an area of loungers and a picnic bench for lunch. The hot pools were lovely and warm, and had a selection of different nutrients which are meant to be really good for your skin. Luckily, it was the hottest day so far with no clouds in the sky. This made for great suntanning weather and we topped up our tans nicely. The locals were burnt and us tourists a shade darker – result! It was a great day and lovely to see more of the country. Trying to whatsapp video call my dad in the evening was hilarious. It kept cutting in and out, but we managed a conversation and everyone was reconnected.
We had a chilled Sunday morning and facetimed my mum. She was freezing whilst we were sitting in the garden with the sun out, bless her. It was great to see her and the progress on the building work in our kitchen. Being our last day, we did our washing and went out to stock up on sun cream etc. As we had some spare time, we made the most of the cheap and luxurious cinemas in NZ and went to watch Patriots Day. We both loved the film as it was so gripping. Packing was a bit sad, it was also great to get the swimwear and coverups ready for Fiji.
The South Island has been one of our favourite places so far and it is even prettier than Oz. We are both big fans and it was great to see old friends. I really can’t believe that we will be back in the UK in less than 6 weeks (our bank balances can though), although the perfect time away. I really don’t think that I would want to be away for much longer in one go.
I probably won’t be posting again for another two weeks, but watch out for Fiji pics on my insta (if we get wifi on the remote islands)!
Love as always xx