It was time to head away from the water for a day, and into the mountains. Our little hire car (a Getz) struggled to get up to Arthur’s Pass but it was well worth the scenery.
We got to the village with the plan to spend the day hiking. I tried to convince J to climb Avalanche Peak but he wasn’t interested. We decided on a hike that was listed as 2 hours in our information brochure, so that we could potentially walk some of the other short hikes after lunch.
The weather was quite warm, and the Bealey Spur Trail started climbing right from the start. We normally finish hikes a bit quicker than the suggested time, so when we we still heading in the same direction 90 minutes later we knew something was amiss. I’ve since found information online describing it as taking 4-6 hours return, so I don’t know why our brochure was dodgy! The views over the Waimakariri River Valley were pretty awesome but we could have turned around earlier and still had the same experience.
We went back into the village and checked in to our motel (old, run down but clean), then demolished a gigantic pizza as a late lunch/early dinner. This fortified us enough to go on another walk, and this time it really was just a short walk out of town to see a waterfall.
From Arthur’s Pass we headed back to the east coast to stay a couple nights in Akaroa. This is one of my favourite places to visit – the harbour is beautiful and the town itself is very pretty. When we arrived on the Monday it was crazy busy thanks to the 4 cruise ships that were visiting. We checked into our hotel early, and decided to do a scenic drive away from town. It was quite lovely, but I spent the whole time stressing that we’d run out of petrol, and that our little Getz wouldn’t be able to get back up the hills!
We spent a bit of time out on the water in Akaroa – first sailing, then kayaking. We were the youngest people on the sailing trip (by about 30 years – they were all talking about retirement)) but it was a lovely way to spend the afternoon. The worlds smallest and rarest dolphins live in Akaroa Harbour, and they like playing with sail boats. We spent most of the trip going in circles, following small groups of the dolphins. The dolphins were even more amazing when we went kayaking the next day, because we were so much closer to them.
We had one night left in NZ so it was time to head back to Christchurch. It was really intense seeing the devastation still present from the 2 earthquakes that literally rocked the city. Our motel was great, and the owner gave us a map of the city and marked the areas that are still no go zones, told us how to get to the cathedral and told us where we could get food. For a city that no longer has a centre they’re doing an amazing job – the container mall is really interesting, and the gardens are still beautiful.
J and I had a great trip. We’re lucky that we both like to travel, and we both like the same sort of holiday. I spent way less time on the internet than normal, and I didn’t run at all – it was really relaxing. Since we’ve been home I’ve been trying to remember to switch off a bit more! Which is probably a good cue to get off the computer now.
Any suggestions where we should head next? I want to do Camino de Santiago but that’s really just a dream.