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Published: December 14th 2008
View from hotel room
Wednesday 19th April
Today would take us on the 2 hour drive down to Auckland airport for our flight to South Island and the city of Christchurch.
Decided to take the 'alternative route' from Wellsford down the West coast overlooking the Kaipara Harbour and in to Auckland.
We had set off quite early as we wanted to visit the Villa Maria winery near Auckand airport. Spent a couple of hours at the estate sampling half a dozen V.M varieties and nibbles. ( Needless to say a few bottles were purchased and smuggled onto our flight for later refreshments) .
After returning the hire car we checked in for our short flight down to south island.
Flight went very smooth, landed in evening sunshine at Christchurch, taxied to the Camelot Hotel in centre of town which has a great view overlooking the Cathedral Square and freshened up for the night.
Strolled around central Christchurch and went for a Chinese meal (Mandarin Restaurant) after which we headed back to the Hotel Bar (with welcoming log fire) for a few drinks before retiring.
Thursday 20th April
A leisurely day in Ch'Ch.
Mum went off on
her own to do some sightseeing, Jane and I had a wander round some shops, took a ride on the town tram and visited the Botanic Gardens / Museum.
Met up with Mum late afternoon and decided on Italian for tonight. Restaurant was lovely (Portofino).
Early night tonight as we have another long day tomorrow !!
Friday 21st April.
Packed and ready to move on again, this time via the Trans Alpine train over to Greymouth as we continue our journey through South Island.
It soon became obvious that the weather conditions vary greatly between the flat plains of Canterbury and the wilder, remote Westland ( nicknamed Wetland for obvious reasons ).
The train journey, climbing over the Southern Alps was a bit of an anti climax, not really the "scenic spectacle" we had imagined it to be, although the damp, miserable weather we encountered having left Canterbury behind, didnt help. Sadly we would need to get used to this for the next few days !
On arrival in wet and dismal Greymouth we collected our second hire car (another Toyota Previa) and started out on the long drive south, destination Fox Glacier.......
Lunch was in a small touristy town called Hokitika. Pleasant enough town, nothing special.
After a couple of "photo" stops we arrived late afternoon in the holiday towns of Franz Josef and Fox, staying in our self catering lodge room at Lake Matheson Motel in Fox Glacier.
Evening meal was in the very homely "Cook Saddle" bar/restaurant with lovely log fire.
After a long day we had a night in back at our lodge and prpeared for the following days travels.
Saturday 22nd April
A nice bright morning , we drove up to Fox Glacier to view the ice pack's - quite a sight !
Sadly the weather turned again and our planned visit to Lake Matheson was a bit of a wash out, very cloudy, hanging mist, so unable to get any nice photo's. Very nice walk around the lake though, despite the drizzle. Headed back to the lodge for a change of clothing and "plan B", a drive over to Franz Josef Glacier. More ice pack's but in the rain this time !
Evening was spent in the "Plateau" restaurant back in Fox Glacier.
Very stormy night ahead, thunder, lightning, heavy rain - thought the roof of our lodge was coming off, not much sleep tonight but exciting !!
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