09.08.2014 - 11.08.2014
It was an early start to make sure we managed to get on the 7am ferry. They warned us that the bad weather was going to make it a rough crossing and they certainly didn't lie! Lauren spent most of the journey with head in hands eating ice cubes! As soon as we stepped foot on the South Island we knew it had been worth it, the views were incredible and the weather cleared up to give us a lovely sunny day. We drove through the Marlborough region, which is famous for its wine, and we managed to stop at a huge vineyard, called Yealands, where we learnt about wine making in the area and got a free wine tasting. As it was such a nice day we drove down to the coast for some epic views and got some good photos. Next we drove on to Kaikura. There's a huge population of New Zealand fur seals in this area and we stopped by the roadside to see some of the colonies. Then we went for a surprise walk up a stream to a waterfall. The pool at the bottom of the waterfall had an amazing treat - the baby seals use it to practice their swimming and learn their social skills, so we got up really close to watch them swimming and jumping around. Even with the rocky ferry journey it was a really brilliant day, and we were all excited to see what the rest of the South Island has to offer.
Kaikura sits on a big peninsula, so this morning we got up and walked along the coastline. With the snowy mountains on one side and the ocean on the other the views were breathtaking. The weather was finally on our side, so by the end we were all down to our t-shirts! We passed by another seal colony, some of the seals were even basking in the sunshine on the boardwalk! Then it was back in the bus to drive to Christchurch. We stayed in Haka lodge, which was a welcome homely break from all the big hostels, with comfy sofas and comfier beds. We decided to stay I and cook dinner, and when everyone else heard they all wanted on the bandwagon too! Lauren, Carla and Kate cooked Singapore noodles for 10 people - we've never seen such a big pot of noodles before! Dinner was very tasty and everyone was very impressed with Lauren's skills! Then we all sat down on the giant sofas to watch The Hangover 3 and drink the wine we'd got from the vineyard! Lauren and Kate seem to be a magnet for medics as they got chatting to a Cambridge medical student who was staying at the lodge while he was on his elective in New Zealand. A nice relaxing evening to recharge the batteries before Lake Tekapo.
The next morning we had a quick tour round Christchurch to have a look at the rebuild following the 2011/12 earthquakes. We went down to the beach which was beautiful on such a nice day, but overall Christchurch resembles a huge construction site. The container mall is quite cool, but there didn't seem to be much else going on in the city centre so we soon got back on the road to Lake Tekapo.