Leaving Mt Cook, I got on the bus with Lantern, my fave driver so far! Back in the Loveshack we went to Lake Tekapo for the famous church and then on to Geraldine and Rangitata for the Peel Forest Horsetrekking and the rafting. Guess what I chose? Exactly, the horses! Once again I was the only one, but Freya, the German girl leading the trek and me had a great time 🙂 We went through forest, water, fields and more forest for about 2 hours in perfect sunshine!
When I got dropped off at the accommodation afterwards, it was the first time I saw triple dorm beds! Those were high, but thankfully no one had to actually sleep in the top bunks 🙂 When the rafters came back, they got their BBQ and afterwards we could get ours too, my first steak in NZ and it was all so good – might be because we were really hungry at that point 😉 After that, we went inside where a fire was warming us up and we had a rather drunk, but very fun game of Monopoly 😉 It got cut short though because we were getting up really early the next day – the Rugby World Cup final was on at 5 a.m. between the All Blacks and the Wallabies (for non-rugby speakers: between New Zealand and Australia).
So we did get up just in time for the haka and the game, which was really tight for a long time, but the All Blacks did it in the end 🙂 Breakfast was during the game as we were leaving right after it to make it to Christchurch in time for the pick-ups and drop-offs. The bus has never been so quiet as on that particular trip 😉 In Christchurch we said goodbye and hello and then we were off to Kaikoura. This was the bit of my trip that was a bit unplanned – as I had done that stretch already, I could not be confirmed as a passenger and had to hope for a space on the bus. Thankfully, there were plenty!
Kaikoura was therefore a quiet one, we got fish and chips at what is to be the best place in all of NZ (it was very good!) and took these up to a viewpoint before going to the seal colony. They are just too cute and silly, in my next life I want to be a seal 🙂 You get a fur, nobody calls you fat and all you have to do is look cute and move funny 😉 In the evening, we just sat out on the grass, having a great time!
From Kaikoura it was off to Picton for the ferry – only 4 of us and Lantern were actually taking it, the others were just starting their South Island trip. It was a very sunny, but also extremely windy day – the ferry moved A LOT! So much that the horizon line was no longer visible in the window at times… I got through it quite well though, though I hope it will be a bit calmer on the way back in December 😉
After the ferry it was off to the hostel and goodbye to the others, only Tabea, a German girl, and me were staying in the same hostel and for 3 nights – the others were off the next morning. We got into an all German-speaking 6-bed-dorm and got to relax a bit, very useful to have Domino’s pizza and the supermarket just around the corner 🙂
One day we took the cable car up the hill and walked back down through the Botanic Gardens, then around the city and finally back to the hostel – 13 km that day! The day after Tabea wanted to do Te Papa – which needs at least one full day because there is so much to see in that museum. I stayed in the hostel, catching up with my pictures (which aren’t up on flickr yet due to bad internet) and relaxing.
We met up for coffee at Te Papa in the afternoon and I wanted to make a start on it at least, so I went to see the special exhibition about the Anzac (Australia and New Zealand) troops at Gallipoli. Having just seen the TV series Anzac girls on Netflix while I was in Queenstown, I had a vague idea about the events. But the exhibition really made everything come to life, using huge statues of people to make them tell their personal story and a lot of interactive material. It said that Weta Workshop had been involved in making this and it was visible everywhere – the details on the statues were incredible, the wounded soldier was so realistic that I expected the blood to drop from his knee wound… It was a very good example of what war means and why we should never let it happen again! Lest we forget!
Today, we spent about 10 hours in the bus, going all the way from Wellington to Auckland. At least we stopped at National Park and saw the snow-capped Mt Doom 😉 My hostel is on the steepest street in all of Auckland (I thought the driver was joking…) and of course I came the wrong way, so I did walk UP said street, with all my luggage. Had to take some breaks and was quite short of breath once I reached reception, but at least I got a nice room – and by the looks of it I’m alone in it for tonight 🙂 A female 2-bed-dorm for the same price that the 6-bed somewhere else would have been – happy me 🙂 Tomorrow we set off early to go to the Bay of Islands – beaches!!!!