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Published: November 26th 2005
Expect anything with a 6:00 a.m. arrival in Christchurch, New Zealand. The hotel clerk really did greet us in her teddy bear flannel PJs when we arrived at the hotel. Just one more charming aspect of this delightful city. It is spring here and the trees and flowers are beautiful. The weather has been unpredictable - sunny, hot, windy, rainy, cold, and as the Kiwis love to say "Fine!".
The free intercity bus system is a great way to get around the city and see all the sights. The city is user friendly and very clean. The Santa Claus parade was last Sun. and seemed strange amidst all the spring flowers. Tomorrow, 11/28, we plan to attend the John Fogerty concert at their Convention Center Concert Hall.
Last Wed, 11/23, we took the scenic train across the Southern Alps and through Arthur's Pass to visit the western coast. There were 3 main destinations on our itinerary. In Greymouth we rented a car and drove north up the coast to Punakaiki where we visited the Pancake Rocks. This area of the coast has unusual eroded rock formations that look like tall stacks of pancakes. They are very unique with blowholes
and all sorts of abstract formations.
From there we drove south to the village of Franz Josef to hike around the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. On Thanksgiving day (New Zealand time) we did the glacier hikes. The day was cold, windy, and at times rainy so our hikes were a bit shorter than planned. At the Franz Josef we were able to hike up to the base and even witnessed a small avalanche at the base of the glacier. The hike at the Fox was much shorter since it started to pour half way up the trail.
After our Thanksgiving dinner of roast pork and roast lamb we went to the opening night of the Harry Potter movie, "The Goblet of Fire". Unlike the U.S., we were able to walk right up, get a ticket, and walk in the theater which was only half full. Plus, we really saw it before everyone in the States!!!!
We will be leaving for the Queenstown area on Tue., 11/29. It looks like we will be doing the 7 hour bus trip. There is LOTS to do there and so we plan to stay for a week or more.
View from the Cathedral Tower
The climb to the top of the tower included 134 narrow steps on a spiral staircase.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Keep sending those emails!!!
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