Up and Uber. It's as if the Uber was waiting outside our door - confirmed pick-up and Amriptal was 1 MIN away. Out we rush and we're on our way! 10 minutes from Gordon Park to BNE International - loving the Airport Link! Adrenalin is pumping and we're all excited about our trip together.
Check-in was a breeze and bag drop was quick as a flash. Waiting for take-off and Millsy isn't looking good. She's crashed and is lethargic and grumpy. I scored the seat by myself and am enjoying my film (The Death of Stalin - funnier than the title suggests) when I notice Deaks and Jules trying to get my attention from across the aisle. Milla has half filled the sick-bag and I'm on call to dump the paper bag of chuck in the cubicle of indignity at the rear of the plane. The hostess and I made small talk while we waited for the engaged sign to switch and she gave me a knowing smile when I returned with bag number 2 and the residual of the transit lounge banana bread.
Milla pepped up after her vomit and the remainder of the trip was smooth sailing.
Until we get to passport control and we only have 3 passports! A quick dash back to QF135 and we zig and zag through the cleaning team to row 19. The passport is found in Jules' seat pocket and we are awash with relief. There's no blame here. Just glad I'm in the clear. Jules and Deaks can sort out who's at fault.
Step out of ChristChurch Airport and the cool fresh air of the South Island hits us in the face. We locate the RAV 4 and navigate the mild traffic towards Route 1 south. Once I figure out how these keyless ignitions work. Just feels wrong!
Skimming through the FM stations and we settle on 96.1 Basement FM for a perfect mix for the road ahead. Not so fast! Milla emptied her guts on QF135 and she's showing some signs that she's hangry. With 3 hours driving ahead of us and not knowing what wilderness lies beyond the outskirts of Christchurch we opt for the sanctity of the McDs Happy Meal. Table service mind you! It's the little things...
10 minutes out of Christchurch and the kids are wondering "where are the sheep?" There's cows
and Llama but no sheep. Deaks is starting to doubt my fun fact that there are more sheep than people in NZ. I'm starting to doubt it and then it begins.
"SHEEP!" They shout at every sighting.
"Cows AND SHEEP!"
Deaks: "Those cows and sheep live in harmony."
Milla: "Holy SHEEP!"
They are going nuts over the sheep. Could be the happy meals, could be the hype. I don't mind, because we have a 3 hour drive and at least they aren't fighting.
Not half an hour south of Christchurch and it's farms everywhere. The main road south (Route 1) cuts through the green paddocks and crosses the grey rocked riverbeds - some bridges are single lane. The single lane highway is lined by rows of deciduous trees. Are they poplar, birch, firs or sycamores? I don't know, but they are stunning. All the way south we are aware of the mountains to our west and the setting sun casts long tree shadows across the highway. This highway is only two lanes but it's 100 km/h almost all the way. It's a wonderful drive and I'm so glad we opted to fly into to Christchurch and not straight to Queenstown. For a 3 hour drive it flies by. Once we turn south west at Geraldine the view of the snow capped "alps" is bewildering and it's a pleasure just to be in the place. Dwarfed by the size of these mountains really puts things in perspective.
Lake Tekapo sneaks up on me as I'm mesmerised by the surrounding scenery. 5pm and the sun is all but set. The light on the lake is pink and orange and it's time to layer up. Lake Tekapo Holiday Park has the "No Vacancy" signs out and is full of and staffed by backpackers. Our cabin is warm, roomy and has an en-suite. I love backpackers, wish I still was one - but I don't want to share facilities with them anymore.
The Aussie guy who checks us in warns us against the Chinese Restaurant and we settle on The Hummingbird Cafe. The Mackenzie had a hour long wait - Tekapo is pumping tonight. Looking at all those sheep today, how could I not have the lamb ribs? Milla is horrified and thinks I only chose it to upset her. I just love lamb and this stuff must be fresh. Jules has the beef cheek and we share a local pinot noir.
Stock up on breakfast supplies (and local sweets) at the Tekapo 4 Square and head back to the cabin for some The Project - NZ, Street Karaoke and an early night. Does every Maori have an amazing singing voice? This TV show would suggest it is so.
I think we'll be hiking around the lake tomorrow and I can't wait!
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