Captains Log... Star Date 57/34A
02.12.2005 20 °C
So Kiakoura... the land of the motel and back packer. The morning dawned bright and fresh... we missed that bit... but by the time we awoke the sun was up... and yes.. there in the distance snow on the peaks... its about 23oC out and its almost summer here... and there is snow on the tops! Go figure.
We headed out from Kiakoura... getting our first glance at the local train... a daily service from Christchurch to Picton and back... 1 a day each way. No chance of popping down for an afternoon of shopping then!
We drove and drove... through more fields of lush grass and vines, cows and sheep, and along the coast some more. The road and rail line intertwining. Theres very little more to say about the route south along this way. Even the Guide Books say stop only if you need to... there is very little here to detain you. Full stop... so we didn't stop.
Lunch was had at a quiet beach... Amberley Beach... just an expanse of black sand, with salt spray settling over it. We lunched and then headed out back onto the road to Christchurch.
Our journey into Christchurch was flat, along the Canturbury Plane. ChCh (as the locals abreviate it) is build along the lines of a grid, so its hardly very difficult to negoiate... just point yourself in the right direction. We headed into town and parked up at the car park in the local park. Hagley park is the biggest urban park in the south island... and probably the whole of NZ. We took the tram ride into town, and sat on an empty street sipping long blacks and devouring muffins... this is the way to live. Strange... another large city... with about a dozen folk in. We just had to keep reminding ourselves it was real.
Chch is very reminisent of old english cities like Oxford, Cambridge and York... but you always have to keep in mind that the buildings here are based on those back in England... and were built about 80 years ago. The tram tours round the city, with a comentary from the driver pointing out the old buildings and the history behind them. For us though, living in a 300 year old house it all seems a bit new.
We took in the cathedral, the TIC... and then made our excuses and left... aonther 70km to Akaroa was called for before we could set up camp for the night. So we made the dash for it. We have now clocked over 1798km.
Our pitch for the night overlooked the bay at Akaroa. This is the very end of the Banks Peninsula... named after James Cook's botanist. Sadly the French got there before the English had time to build Barratt houses, so the place has a very New England / Canadian feel to it. Much more appealing than the blocks of Wellington. We wandered out to the light house... now moved from its most useful position, inland a bit to stop it from rotting away! Lovely smells of cooking met our nostrils.. reminding me it was time for beer. After a brush with the local pub and a 200meter climb up the hill to the campsite food was all that mattered... and oxgyen. Then once more to bed.
What will happen tommorrow... well you will just have to wait. Nettie is stood behind me... and i can feel her eyes messing with my brain telling me its time to cook some more food... oh well... I suppose I have to keep the Bongo Captain happy and well fed.