Fresh breeze from the Southpole
Our flight from Melbourne to Christchurch was really pleasant, it was an Airbus A320 which took us round about 3.5 hrs with Air New Zealand. On board they had a nice entertainment system and we get a small hot meal as well. When we arrived in Christchurch we were checked by sniffer dogs, they were looking for food and I guess for drugs as well. The custom officers are really strict that people do not carry any food, seeds or anything that might harm their flora and fauna, also our shoes were checked. In Christchurch we stayed for two nights, the accommodations in New Zealand are quite expensive, but food seems to be a bit cheaper than Australia, especially when you go out for lunch or dinner. Unfortunately Christchurch is still affected by the earthquake from 2011. The whole city is still under construction, lots of streets are close or there are detours, many buildings are still under repair work and new buildings are being build. In the city centre where they used to be the shopping area, they put temporarily containers for the shops, banks, post office, etc. Actually the containers look quite nice, they are colourful and have their charms. I guess it still will need time until all the damages are eliminated. Mery bought here a new cap against the cold wind which you have here. During daytime we had nice sunshine weather at around 25°C, but when the artic wind blows it really gets cold.
From Christchurch we made a trip to Akaroa, it´s a lovely little place at a bay where we did a 2 hrs boat trip to see the bay surroundings and of course the smallest dolphin in the world, the Hector´s dolphin. Akaroa itself is a small French village, the original settler came from French and stayed here, a really lovely place. The boat trip was really nice, we did enjoy it, it was calm, not overcrowded, lovely atmosphere and the captain explained a lot about the history of this area and the wildlife of this bay. We saw plenty of the Hector´s dolphins, they played around our boat and followed our boat for a while, and we could saw them quite close. We also saw some seals, Cormorants, some other birds and the little blue penguins. These penguins are the same kind which we already saw in Australia at the Phillip Island.
From Akaroa we drove to the Mount Cook area and made a short stopover at Lake Tekapo. At Mount Cook we also stayed in a hostel. Unfortunately the weather was not nice when we were there, it was raining the whole day, and we couldn´t went for a hike or walk. The Mount Cook was completely cloud-covered, no clear view to see this giant, what a pity. Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand with a height of over 3700m.
After Mount Cook we drove to Queenstown with small stopovers on our route. In Queenstown we booked through Airbnb for our stay. Our tenant Diana is from Peru and she was really nice, she also gave us some tips for our next visit in South America. In Queenstown we went a few time into the city, went hiking to the city´s cable car station on the mountain and visited a bird park to see the New Zealand´s Kiwi. Because the Kiwis are night active, the whole building where they are kept was darkened, it was not easy to see them, and also taking pictures was not allowed to not stress these birds. Queenstown reminds us somehow to Switzerland, nice cities or villages at a lake and surrounded by beautiful mountains, very idyllic.
The landscape we saw between Christchurch, Akaroa, Mount Cook and Queenstown were quite similar. On the flat region there are cows and agriculture, at the hill site the area is covered by grassland, sheep everywhere. Now I can imagine that people use to say that in New Zealand there are more sheep than resident. Around Queenstown we first realised some more coniferous woodland.
Culinary it didn´t change that much compare to Australia. Most of the time you can get here Fish & Chips and steaks. We used to cook on our own or also eat some Asian food outside.
My digital camera started the numbering of the pictures I took again from no.1. After 9999 pictures which I already took from the beginning of this journey, the internal counter of the camera started again from the beginning…that´s already a lot of pictures ;-)