2007-11-28 Christchurch


Headed down to Coolangatta to hop the plane over to Christchurch. It was an Air New Zealand aircraft but a Freedom Air flight, which meant no freebies. I almost wanted something, since it is a surprisingly long flight. Over three hours. Arrived in Christchurch later in the day and took the shuttle into town. The centre of town just sneaks up on you, since the South Island’s largest city doesn’t have many large buildings. There is the Cathedral that makes Christchurch, Christchurch. I did some wandering around the city. Saw the last of the tourist trams roll by. Went to vespers at the Cathedral. Checked into the fine old hostel. Stumbled upon a very no frillsy supermarket. Cooked up a feast in the hostel (no one else seemed to put much effort into it).


2007-11-29 Greymouth


Got up early to take the train out to the other coast of the island. Surely the shortest coast to coast journey I’ll ever take. The train was all tourist and no transport. A fancy class and a normal schmo class. We (the schmoes) had an open air carriage where you could take unobstructed photos and inhale diesel soot at the same time. When we arrived at the first stop where one was allowed to get out, Japanese tourists (and me) streamed to the front of the train. The train puttered along merrily and the weather got misty and I fell asleep. So did the person across from me, and when we woke up an hour later, I think we were both miffed at having missed so much of our tourist train. Whereas an hour on an Oz train is nothing at all.


Arrived at Greymouth and hung about in the cold until my bus came. The New Zealand railway had run out of rails


2007-11-29 Franz Josef


Arrived at the Franz Josef Glacier and its hostel. Didn’t really see anything aside from the hostel because it was raining sooo soo much. I don’t think I’ve seen so much rain.  Made another hostel feast, thankfully with the food that I had brought with me. It was a nice hostel and quite busy, because no one could go anywhere else.


2007-11-30 Wanaka


Had a good trip to Wanaka. Although I took the standard commercial bus line, the driver would slow down and describe sights, make the occasional tourist stop and then bring us to various places for lunch and bathroom breaks. It was full service and good for everyone who isn’t in a rush. Like me!


Arrived in Wanaka and thought how surprisingly B.C. it was. Not to give it due credit, mind you. The flora is very different. There was snow on the higher peaks (despite it being summer) and it sat on the trees so differently than at home.  The frosty weather helped me get in the Christmas mood, even if everyone else was annoyed.


I had some time to kill before Merryn was done work. I stopped at a hippy café for tea and dessert…and they had never heard of orange pekoe…and the proprietors were Dutch, the original orange! Oh well.


It was great to see Merryn and fiancé Mike. They live a grand and fit life and we went for hikes, and tours, and ate good food, and just talked and it was an awfully good visit. Hard to believe I hadn’t seen Merryn in over 10 years!


2007-11-02 Christchurch


Whereas my approach to Wanaka was via the New Zealand Alps and the West Coast, my return was over the open fields. The bus still took us close enough to see Mt. Cook and other spectacular sights. Christchurch was a repeat of the same hostel and sights, but everything was a little bit warmer and a little bit Christmassier.