MJ Live

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Chronicles of NZ: Going to Church (Written 1/8/07)

The day began with a 6am wakeup call because we had a very long day ahead of us. So I got up, took a shower and then had the breakfast of tramping – oatmeal! The amazing thing about oatmeal is that a small amount of oatmeal would be so filling – must be a result of the backpackers diet I am on (i.e. very little food). After breakfast we headed out to the Abel Tasman National Park which is more of a beach walk compared to the Tongariro Crossing. To walk the entire trail would have taken us 3-4 days and we obviously did not have that kind of time. So we opted to do the first part of the trail which only took about 50mins to walk – obviously not a big section of the track but it was a gorgeous walk. It was also a fairly easy mini-walk because the ground was flat and since it was along the coast, there was always a breeze. Basically it was a nice stroll along the beach and an opportunity to see another of NZ's gorgeous national parks.

Once we were done with our walk it was time to begin our next big drive to Christchurch. This was going to be a 5 hour drive but thankfully it took us through the interior of the Southern Island. Now you might say it's odd that we enjoyed the interior instead of the coastal road – well when the interior takes you through 3-4 different national parks you know it's going to be a beautiful drive. It was during this drive that I really got to see the natural beauty and understood why LOTR was taped here. You could really imagine this place as a middle-earth at certain spots. The drive was filled with so many great mountain shots that I literally had to restrain myself from taking photos.

The strangest thing happened once we got out of the mountains of the South Island (btw, these mountains are called the Southern Alps) when the landscape went from mountains to plains. You could easily believe we were in the Midwest – it was quite a contrast.

We arrived in Christchurch at about 4pm, so it took us 5.5hours to complete the trip but instead of checking into a hostel we headed to the house of a friend of mine. That's right, I knew yet another person in NZ who let us stay at their house. Unfortunately, that friend (Janita) wasn't at home but her mom and stepdad (Jill & Ian) still allowed us to stay at their house. They excitedly welcomed us into their home and hooked us up with our own rooms & beds. Not a bad setup and to make the deal even sweeter they made us a nice turkey and veggies meal that was awesome and filling after the oatmeal that started my day. There was even dessert and I think my stomach was going to explode – so you know the hospitality was good.

After dinner we took a little stroll around the neighborhood to walk the food off and enjoy the last bits of sunlight for the day (the further south we go, the more daylight we get). But it's good to be in another major city and not have to be driving the next day, instead I'll be taking my first real cross country train ride on the TranzAlpine. Should be fun if the weather cooperates otherwise the blog report will be about clouds. Let's hope for a good day!

*Side Notes*

-           Christchurch is known as 'The Garden City' and is the South Island's largest city and NZ's second largest city.

-           Christchurch is NZ's oldest established city.

No comments: