What idiot rented a car to Pip and I?!
11.08.2010 - 15.08.2010
Look how quick I am getting at this! Its like buses - none for weeks and now two in a matter of days! Thank Lizzy...
So, in response to popular demand, thought I better upload some pictures of The Rafting Incident! Needs pictures to do it justice I feel....
You will all be glad to hear that the nose seems to have healed. No great drama at all - didn't even get a decent bruise. Gutted. Still convinced it sits slightly to one side but maybe I overestimate how good it was in the first place....
After a bit of nifty fitwork, we wangled another night with the group, free breakfast, city tour and a lift to the airport. After a rather large final night, we were surprisingly chirpy as we waved goodbye to the group! Things were all a bit less sad because it looks like we might overlap with the group in Queenstown in a couple of days.... We flew Air NZ to Christchurch - free food and everything. Ryanair could learn a thing or two from these guys! Impressed.com.
Arrived in Christchurch and Pip's sister and brother in law were waiting for us when we got off the plane which was rather nice :-). Kim and Brian have been travelling around for over a year now so they were able to show us the ropes. So off we set to the car hire and paid up for maximum insurance. Lizzy says you can never be too careful.... Ye of little faith. Pip drove, as she continued to do for the rest of the trip. I nominated myself as Chief Navigator, handy considering the whole 4 days involved one road.
Stopped for some lunch and then off to Kaikoura where we checked into a nice little unit for the night where the four of stayed. Went into the town for some dinner but things were pretty low key considering the sleep levels for the night before!
Us, NUTTERS, had signed up for an 8.30am swim with dolphins off the Kaikoura coast. Bloody hard core I tell ya. We got horribly lost (in this tiny town with about 100 people) but got there eventually and dressed up in our wet suits, jackets, boats, gloves, flippers, hoods and snorkels. At the time, it all seemed a little superflouous to requirement. Little did we know.... So we took our ginger tablets and headed out to find the dolpins. Cue the start of the vomming. Before long there were people throwing up, left right and centre. It was chronic. At that stage, I was pretty sure this dolhin shizzle couldnt be worth it. But I was quickly proven wrong. When the dolphins were spotted, out we all piled and it was AMAZING. Swimming around in a pod of 500 wild dolphins. It was almost so good that we forgot the 10 degrees water. Almost. The way back was pretty similar - vom central - but it was bit of an 'experience of a lifetime'. Definitely finding myself on this gap yah!
That afternoon we headed up the coast to Nelson and stopped in to take some pics of some baby seals at their nursery pool. They were gorgeous and so brave! There were hundreds of them - I had my moments where I thought they would get aggressive but it seemed they were just nosy. Anyway, these little things now compete for Most Favourite Animal Breed of All Time. Cuteness epitomized.
Finished up the day at the top of the South Island in Nelson where we went for dinner and checked into a very friendly hostel.
Up bright and early to head to Blenheim and the Marlborough wine region. We had organized a 'Bubbly Grape Wine tour' at midday so pedal to the metal. Although obviously always keeping well within any speed limits.... The wine tour was really good. Although we were warned in advance that we could drink up to a bottle on a half days tour (was this supposed to concern us?!) and that she would be unable to take us into the winery if we were intoxicated.... Apparently, at that stage, you are unable to truly appreciate the palate of the wine. And that would never do....
Went round Wither Hills, Cloudy Bay, Boldervines, Grove Mill - some labels I recognised, some I just drank anyway. Felt like it was a little wasted on me at times - couldn't always pick up the taste of Turkish Delight and snow peas that we were supposed to....
Had a chilled evening in Blenheim - went for dinner and then 'Killers' at the cinema.
Final full day of our road trip involved our longest trip to Hanmer Springs. This was definitely a 'flash packing' day as we stayed in a 5 star motel (thanks Lizzy) and went for a massge before hitting the Hot Springs that Hanmer Springs is so famous for.... All in all, not a bad day!
Went for thai in the evening which was very authentic. We sat at a garden table which was pushed into the corner of this tiny restaurant. All very eclectic. And not in a 'Made In Belfast' sort of way - more like, we don't have any matching furniture sort of way. Dinner was excellento tho. Bloody cold tho...
Bit of a lie in this morning (9.30) and back to Christchurch for us. Stopped at a rather nice winery on the way back up the road which we had spotted on the way down.... Stopped for a 'pie' lunch at 11 am and then did a bit of cheeky tasting as a goodbye to Marlborough. We felt a bit guilty for not buying anything so bought 2 bottles to bring as a 'welcome' gift for Jennifer, Andrea and Kirsty who arrived today. One of them had only been bottled this week and we were the first people to buy a bottle of it - needless to say, it's already drunk!
Met the girls at the airport after leaving our little car back. Feels very surreal seeing them this far from home - but now our wolf pack has increased to 5 which is nice...! The girls seem really well. Great tans all round and lots of exciting Tonga stories.
Went for a little dander round Christchurch and then came back to laid into our wine! Mudhouse gets the thumbs up from us...
Went for dinner in the restaurant at the hotel and the Contiki crowd were eating in the room beside - they seem like a big group so it will be interesting to see what tomorrow brings.
Anyway, I will try and update again after our next tour before we head to Australia.
Missing you all - lots of love! xxxxxxx