Thursday, 2 August 2012

New Zealand...Christchurch, Akaroa & Kaikoura

Arriving into the crisp cold air at midnight into Christchurch airport was something of a surprisingly enjoyable feeling for me. After spending many months in the warmth air, humidity or sunshine filled skies, I arrived into a cold almost freezing destination...with the temperature rolling in at a brisk 3 degrees.

We enjoyed a splendid two days in Christchurch, staying in a place called New Brighton. We spent one of our days exploring the centre, it was a real surreal feeling entering into the city. The whole of the main city area is cordoned off and is known as the 'Red Zone'. It's almost eerie as the shops lay full and abandoned and have not been touched since the fateful day of the huge earthquake that hit the city back in 2011. The weather was beautiful, a crisp autumn day so we opted to stroll around the wonderful Botanical Gardens. It was a great place to reflect on what had occurred in this city and how the people have dealt with the event of earthquakes and constant aftershocks even happening to this day. As our two days passed, we became even more excited and this was to go and see and pick up our new 'home' for the next 6 weeks. We would be travelling around the whole of New Zealand in our own Jucy Campervan. 

Once we collected our beauty, the Jucy was a great camper...kitted our with a pull together bed, a mini fridge, cooker and sink. We had drop down curtains and the luxury item for me was the built in dvd player. So with all the food stocked up and everything we needed, we called in at my long lost auntie's, Marion for a quick cuppa to say hello and catchup. This was nice to have good chat and she noted straight away that I looked the spit of my dad...must have them 'Beautiful Newman Genes'!!ha! We then departed late afternoon and headed to the Banks Peninsula, to a quaint town called Akaroa, which is a French colonial town. All the street names are written in French and the whole architecture and vibe of the place is very French style. As it is illegal to Freedom Camp anywhere here, as it is all private land, we had to hide ourselves down a dirt track. Driving down bending roads in the darkness was slightly scary but then we found an old boat landing area so opted to stay the night there. The morning air greeted us with freshness and a new day, we slept really well and I was so happy to start our adventure on the road. We had decided to try and meet up with our friends who where themselves travelling around New Zealand. They are a great couple called Sam and Steve, they are from just outside Portsmouth and we first met them back in December in Thailand. Steve completed his PADI Diving Course with John and we had all experienced great nights out in Koh Tao. So, we decided to head North along the East Coast first, then do a loop on ourselves and travel South around the Island anti clockwise in couple of days time. 

So, after a pleasant couple of hours driving, we reached our destination of Kaikoura. This is a beautiful place, its the home to marine life. There are plenty of dolphins, whales and seals that not only visit this Coast but live here all year round. Kaikooura is a special place that makes you instantly smile when you look around, admiring the vast Kaikoura Ranges and what beauty this place holds. After spending a couple of days resting up here, I feel fresh and so happy to be in New Zealand. Next stop is down to Hamner Springs where hot smelly bubbly baths await me...

Enjoying 'New Brighton' beach in Christchurch

Enjoying the Kaikoura Range Mountains

Admiring a seal chilling in the crisp air

Enjoying a walk in the fresh New Zealand air

The lush countryside of Kaikoura

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