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April 26th 2013
Published: April 26th 2013
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Dear all,

After a very long and sleepless journey we arrived here on South Island New Zealand. We picked up our Campervan and drove round the corner to the nearest camp site. We are now 11 hours ahead of the UK and we were tired, confused and didn't know if we should eat breakfast or dinner. We put the bed down in the van and then slept for 13 hours!! I guess we needed it.

We woke up feeling refreshed and headed off to explore Christchurch, the biggest city on the South Island. Christchurch was hit by a bad earthquake in 2010 and then again in 2011 and so much of the city was flattened. We walked around re:start which is an area that local businesses have rebuilt. They have used old shipping containers to make shops and the area is beautiful and interesting. We sat in a cafe made from a container and had a great breakfast whilst soaking up the atmosphere. To me Christchurch doesn't feel like a city, it seems like a town.

Walking around Christchurch I felt quite guilty. Had the earthquake happened nearer to home then I probably would have known more about it, I guess it didn't make the news for long in the UK. Ash and I visited an exhibition about the earthquake and it was very interesting. We both came away feeling that Kiwis seem to make the best of bad situations. They saw the earthquake as a chance to make a fresh start and build a city.

Next day we drove up the coast for a couple of hours to Kaikoura. We have found a lovely campsite and even though its autumn the weather is warm. Yesterday we tried to go whale watching but it got cancelled as the whales had gone to a feeding ground that is too far away by boat. Today we tried again.

This morning we got up at six to try again. Being up that early was a bit of a shock but was worth it as we got to see a most amazing sunrise. We didn't see sperm whales but we did see a huge pod of dusky dolphins and then some Orcas/killer whales!! We were both amazed at how close they were and how beautiful they were! There were a couple of adults and they had their calf with them. We will just have to come back again to see the sperm whales.

After the whale watch we had a much needed cooked breakfast and now we are chilling in the sun at the campsite. Tomorrow we plan to drive further up the coast. Eventually we plan to get to the Abel Tasman national park with its golden beaches and amazing coastline.

So that's it for now folks, love and hugs to you all,

Wend and Ash xxxxxx

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