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Published: January 5th 2007
New Years Day went for a walk round Dundedin botanic gardens, As its supposed to be summer here everythings in bloom (otherwise it wiould pass for a dull November day back home. Aprt from the flowers more huge trees both native and foreign and the usual plethora of birds. Saw a family of fantails (a little grey bird about the size of a chaffinch but with this ridiculously extravagant white fannned tail). Spent the evening watching part 2 of Lord of the Rings on TV.
Tuesday headed up east coast intending to stop somewhere by the coast but weather still pretty dull so only made a brief stop to see Moeraki Boulders. Numerous huge near perfectly spherical boulders up to 5 or 6ft in diameter (concretions according to the information board) which have been loosened from the area behind the beach and left stranded as the sea gradually erodes the coastline. Continued northward stopping briefly in Ashburton to check out their botanics (even smallish towns here have impressive parks. Eventually decided to head for Port Hills just south of Christchurch and found nice old (by NZ standards hotel with huge veranda and great views over bay (30 pounds for double
Moeraki Boulders - east coast
A strange geological formation - they'r concretions whatever they are
room). Had a nice meal and a couple of beers but as weathe rwas still crap retired to our room to watch last part of LotR.
Wednesday up early (7:30) then went for walk along crater idge at top of Port Hills the whole area is the result of a huge volcanic explosion way back. Fantastic views over Christchurch to the north, the Pacific to the east and Diamond Bay to the south. Then headed in to Christchurch to meet up with our Woofing host Christine who had offered to put us up for a couple of days before we flu out to Oz. Good to be back in Christchurch it really is a nice small city (also the weather had picked up somewhat which always helps. Returned car and booked tickets for train trip to Arthur's Pass in Southern Alps for Thursaday then out to see Christine. Great to see Christine again, it was kind of like coming home she made us very welcome. She was leaving for the west coast for a couple of days camoing and canoeing on the Thursday but left us her spare keys and the run of the house. (Christine should you read
this thanks yet again for everything).
Up at 6.30 to get to station. Train trip was terrific Christchurch sits on the eastern edge of the Canterbury Plain - a huge expanse of flatness and in the distance on a clear day you can just make out the mountains (still snowcapped). As the train crosses the plain the mountains loom ever closer. Dropped off in pass arout 11 am to be picked up again around 3.30 when the train makes its return trip from Greymouth on west coast. Did a couple of good walks into surrounding mountains - didn't have time to do any of the peaks as they were all 5 hours or more for return trip. Best day weatherwise since Christmas so morale has recovered.
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