Discovering New Zealand: Christchurch

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December 1st 2018
Published: December 1st 2018
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We arrived in Christchurch at about 3.30am. Security in New Zealand is very strict about bringing food, especially fruit, because of certain diseases they can carry. You are therefore not allowed to enter the country with fruits. We had eaten bananas on the plane but, when we walked past the dog, he sniffed something in my bag. The border police checked my bag and it turned out the dog was smelling the banana bread (which I was allowed to have!) so they let us go.
We took an Uber to our hostel, Kiwi Basecamp. After a quick shower, we got into the cramped and smelly room that was to be our dormitory. By that time, it was about 5am and we got some sleep (although not much) before going for a walk through the park and in the city centre the next morning (which kind of was the same morning). We saw some of the marks left by the earthquake, including the cathedral - completely open as some walls fell. We had lunch at Wendy’s and went back to our hostel to sit down and plan the rest of our trip (it turns out we need to book things in advance here!). In the evening, we took an Uber to a nice restaurant in New Brighton, where we had planned to see the sunset. The sun set at about 9pm so we had lots of time. We had a lovely Indian dinner (thanks Peter and Tracy!) and started walking to the viewpoint for sunset. It was a bit late and a lot further away than we thought so by the time we got there, the sun had pretty much set already. Shaun wanted to go back to our hostel (about ten kilometers away) by using the E-scooters. We had downloaded the app to use them when we were in the restaurant. After reaching the sunset point, we followed the map on the app to find some e-scooters. They disappeared off the map soon before we made it, so we walked further to find some more. We found two in front of a house, on the pavement of a small street. We got our phones out and tried to unlock the scooters with the app but as soon as we tried to use them, they started beeping. We quickly realized that we needed internet to use the scooters. Unfortunately, we had no WiFi, and no credit with our Australian SIM cards so we had to walk all the way back. It was about a 5K walk but it seemed much longer as we were tired and the road seemed endless. I taught Shaun a French scout song to try and pass time! We ended up making it to where the restaurant was, but there was no WiFi anymore (and no e-scooters). At that stage, we were tired and cold and all I wanted was a bed. Shaun managed to buy 24 hours of WiFi for $3 and we ordered an Uber. We waited near a karaoke pub for the Uber and finally got back to the hostel just before midnight.
On the next day, we slept until 11am and walked to the city centre to have lunch in a food court. We both had souvlaki, which we quite enjoyed! Then we took the bus 28 to the Christchurch Gondolas. The Christchurch gondolas are cable cars traversing the slopes of Mount Cavendish in Heathcote. Not wanting to pay the $30 return journey, we decided to hike our way up the mount. Instead of taking Bridle path, we chose to take a steep shortcut by following the oil pipe (doubling as a handrail for hikers!). The view at the top, on the other side of the mount, was amazing. We had a drink (coffee for Shaun and smoothie for myself) in the coffee shop at the top and slowly made our way down on the other side, towards Lyttelton. After a half hour bus ride, we were back at the hostel. It was 7.30pm and we quickly heat up the leftovers from the Indian and had a quick but lovely dinner!
On the next morning, we had an early start as we were taking a 7am bus to Picton.


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