Christchurch, Kaikoura, Nelson, Westport, Mahinapua
Firstly a word of advice. Dont ever oversleep and wake up 10 mins before your plane is due to leave – its not a good feeling. Apart from having to phone the airline to get a new flight, you need to rearrange accomodation in where you are then and where youre going to. However, managed to get a flight the next day and sorted all accomodation. Left me with an empty day in Cairns, which I filled doing nothing!
Flew into New Zealand, which with a population of 4 million is less than that of London. Aukland on the North Island has a larger population than the whole of the South Island. Landed in Christchurch, the largest city on the South Island, and the second largest in the country. Spent the next day looking round the centre. Saw the Cathedral, the Christchurch Museum and the Botanical Gardens.
Next day, I decided to go up the Gondola – a cable car up a mountain about 15mins drive out of town. Was quite cloudy, but looked like it had cleared when we were stood at the bottom. However, from the top you could not see much. Walked from the top out and down a bit and managed to get under some of the cloud so could get slightly better views, but they were still nowhere near as spectacular as you see in photos.
Left the next day to join up with Kiwi Experience. Arrived in Kaikoura at midday so that we could get out and do some activities. Went out on the whale watch boat. Saw Sperm Whales lying on the surface then diving down. On the way back also had a pod of dolphins swimming round the boat.
From there, the next day we drove to Picton where the bus spearated into 2 groups. Those going to the north island and those carrying on round the south. We were in the latter. Met new people coming over from the north island and drove onto Nelson, stopping to do a couple of walks. Nelson is the second largest town onthe south island but even on a saturday night it is absolutely dead!
Left Nelson early to go to the Able Tasman National Park. Here there were various options. I decided to do some of the walks and from the lookouts you could get some amazing views over the coastline of the park. Spent half a day there before carrying on to Westport, our final destination for the night.
Had a bit of a lay in the next day as we didnt have far to travel. Also broke the day up by stopping off to do a variety of walks along the coastline. Spent the night in Mahinapua, a place in the middle of nowhere with a lake and a pub. Because of the remoteness, it is the perfect place to have a party. That night was fancy dress under the theme of ‘the letter P’ ie turn up in something beginning with P such as Pirate, Priest, Princess (a popular choice for the boys!). Much fun all round.