We would be driving from Queenstown to Christchurch to spend the night before our flight back to Auckland in the morning. The drive through Otago was absolutely beautiful, we took many stops to take in the views of the surrounding snowing mountains behind the golden hills.
We even got a fantastic view of Mount Cook, NZ”s highest peak from across a lake! It was truly magnificent and I wish the photos could capture how truly extraordinary the views were.
We also stopped at Lake Tekapo for a picnic lunch. We were able to see the old Church of the Good Shepherd, a gorgeous little church built right on the lake.
The view over the alter was magnificent. There is also a statue there honoring the collie and all working dogs.
He was so cute! We picnicked on almond and peanut butter and jelly, with a cookie time Afghan for dessert!
It was so chocolately and the perfect compliment to the peaceful views.
Before we knew it, we were already in Christchurch at our cute little hostel. It is a little village of houses with cute courtyards between them!
There isn’t much to do for tourists in Christchurch, but we just walked around to get an idea of the devastation. It was incredible to see the strength of the quakes were able to do to houses. Whole houses crumbled.
Whole houses slanting.
Part of the city was totally deserted and blocked off, but at the same time, life still goes on. It’s amazing how resilient people can become and not let devastation take over their lives.
We got ourselves organized for our trip back to Auckland and had dinner, repacking bags, cleaning out old yeller, and getting directions to the airport. First we had appetizers in the courtyard of leftover cheese, sundried tomatoes, and artichokes from our picnic yesterday.
Then, we heated up the rest of our pizza from Arrowtown. Still as delicious as before! We also warmed up our last cookie time for dessert, triple chocolate. Chunks of dark, milk, and white chocolate. It was my favorite flavor
After dinner, we played a few more hands of rummy and I lost less depressingly. We were surprised to see that our beds only came with a fitted sheet, pillow, and pillow case, so we had to rent a duvet for $2 at the front desk. I only had nz$3.90 in change, but the friendly woman at the front desk let it slide! Phew! I think it’s crap that they don’t provide any, it gets quite cold at night! But this hostel allows sleeping bags, which YHAs do not (the YHA in Christchurch was no longer in operation). But the hostel was really big, clean, and modern so we were happy with it. (Just a few sparse marks proving is survived an earthquake)
In the evening, they had reserved the TV room for people who wanted to watch the Royal Wedding, so of course we joined! It was silly how there was commentary, and the New Zealand reporters were hilarious as they made fun of all the crazy hats, gossiped about the guest list, debated Kate’s commonality, and discussed traditions.
They kept talking about how the future of monarchy rested on their shoulders. Pressure! I thought her dress was beautiful (the only thing I really wanted to see) and she was perfectly poised, confident, classy, and lovely all around. I think she’ll make a great Princess (someday!). It was fun to watch it with four Brits in the room, they had some silly comments.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay up too late because we had to be up early to return our car and get to the airport. My alarm went off at 5:55am, for good lucky, and we were out the door by 6:30. We were at the rental car place at 6:50, lol. Drop off time wasn’t until 7:30! Luckily, we didn’t have to wait too long and we said goodbye to old yeller and we off in the airport van by 7:31.
At the airport, there was some error when I tried to check in at the kiosk, so we went to the help desk. We were pleased to be offered seats on the earlier flight, free of charge! That would get us home almost an hour earlier! Security was a breeze, once again (we don’t even have to take off our shoes or jackets!) and we were at the gate with 45 minutes to spare.
We were sad that our incredible trip is over, but we are itching to be back at home for stable internet, routine, private bedroom and bathrooms, and, for me at least, vegetables!
We had another fabulous plane ride with Air New Zealand. We got coffee or tea, cookies, chips, AND candy.
(I think the blue one is supposed to read: “Fancy a gin-chur-nut, bro?”)
Then after a seamless baggage claim and bus ride, we were back in our apartment.