I arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand around 1am on the 26th, after getting through immigration, duty free and customs I was able to catch a door-to-door shuttle to my hostel. By the time I arrived at the hostel it was 2am, not only was I extremely exhausted but I also could barely talk due to the fact that I had lost my voice. (Probably from too much partying in Sydney…oh well). Finally, I found my room and went to bed, sleep wasn’t long enough as I was packed and checked out by 9:30am the next morning. I was catching a bus at 4pm to Kaikoura where my parents friends live so I had basically the whole day to kill before getting on the bus. Grabbing a map from the hostel I decided to venture to a spot where there was free wifi (I realize how pathetic that is but I was alone and my hostels internet didn’t work plus I needed food anyways so why not find something with free wifi). I walked to part of a town called Re:Start Quake City. I think in 2011 Christchurch suffered a big earthquake that really tore down major parts of the city. This part of town, called Quake City had an exhibit that explained what happened (I believe…I only walked by and didn’t actually go in to check it out). Anyways, this part of town was really neat because all the stores, coffee shops, etc resembled freight containers that were painted in a variety of bright colours. On top of that there was a little market going on at the edge of this part of town, plus a buskers festival. I ended sitting down at a cafe and enjoyed a latte along with a bacon, egg and tomato sandwich. I then walked around a little bit and bought some souvenirs. On my way back to my hostel to grab my backpack I walked through cathedral square where I saw a lot of the damage done by the earthquakes, it sucks that the majority of the buildings I encountered had made no progress of repair, most buildings were just fenced off and deemed dangerous by safety signs.
At 4pm I hopped on the bus that headed toward Kaikoura, I passed by many farms and hilly mountain-like landforms on the way, I also fell asleep. When I arrived and found my parents friends we walked down toward the water, tide was low so we were able to walk on the rocks that would usually be covered by water in high-tide. I was absolutely blown away by the view. The sea was a bright blue and glistened as the sun beamed down on the and the maintains fell perfectly in the background, the clouds appeared to be sitting on the tops of the mountains and they were giant and white. The view is absolutely breathtaking and every time I look outside I’m blown away time and time again. The mountains never look the same because of the different formations of clouds that surround it, the pictures don’t even do it justice.
Today, I had a late start to the day and got some much needed sleep. Around noon we headed north of Kaikoura to Picton, which is a harbour town with ferries taking people to the north island of New Zealand. It is one of the northern parts of the South Island. The drive was about 2.5 hours and once we got there we had some lunch and sat by the water to eat them. Before grabbing lunch we went to the public washroom, I know that no one wants to hear about washrooms but you HAVE to hear about these ones. To enter the bathroom you push a button on the outside, the door opens and you step inside, the door automatically closes and a voice begins to talk, it basically welcomes you into the toilet and tells you that your maximum time in there is 10 mins (yes, 10 mins so if you gotta go, like really go, you better do it in 10 mins or less. One the automated voice stopped talking, fancy elevator music filled the room, maybe it was to help you relax so you could get er done in 10 mins or less, who know but it was weird. After you’re done the toilet doesn’t flush until you’ve washed your hands and once you’ve dried them the door opens automatically so be sure to pull your pants up before washing your hands. For lunch we grabbed a couple burgers and sat by the water and after lunch we drove up to the top of the hill so we got a great view of Picton from above. One our way home we stopped at a seal colony and my goodness were they ever cute. Pups are born usually in November or December so these pups were still quite young. Many of them were lying on the rocks sunning, along with most of the adults but most of the pups were playing in the water, splashing about and yapping away with fellow pups. They were so adorable I wanted to take one home!! For dinner we had fish and chips which has apparently been reported as the second best fish and chips in all of New Zealand, it was very good.
I have about a day and a half left in Kaikoura before heading back to Christchurch for another night and flying back to Singapore for Chinese New Year. Also I was totally unprepared for the weather in New Zealand….today it was 13 degrees and I know, I know I shouldn’t domain because home is way colder but to be fair it is freezing compared to Sydney.