A Travellerspoint blog

First Night in the MDot

sunny 12 °C

After last night, we both are swearing off hostels forever. There was a pub-crawl last night which resulted in the attendees arriving home quite drunkenly sometime around 3.30am. This of course means more slamming of doors combined with the drunken screams up and down the hallways. Tom had earplugs but still couldn’t sleep through it while Chrissy buried her head further under the pillow. On the flip side (and totally unrelated) the beds here have heating pads under them, which makes for a lovely sleep!!!!

Today is the day we pick up the van so that means so sleeping in unfortunately. After a quick takeaway brekkie from the Honey Pot (mmmm breakfast bagel with avocado!) and an ever so delicious hot chocolate with marshmallow, we hauled our bags downstairs & bid a “fond” farewell to the hostel. We caught the shuttle to Pacific Horizon where our gleaming new Mercedes campervan was waiting for us. Yes that’s right, MERCEDES!!!! We are both pretty pumped, as this will be the first and last time in our life that we will drive a sexy Mercedes. Piling all our belongings in we headed off to the International Antarctica Centre. AKA PENGUINS!!!

The entire facility was quite well done and well worth the admission price. We played around in the simulated winter storm area but were not the slightest bit fazed by the -30 wind-chill factor. Sad really. We then meandered through all the Antarctic displays until we came to the most beloved of them all; the Blue Penguin colony. Chrissy snapped almost an entire memory card full of these cute little guys and then almost filled Tom’s memory card too! Luckily, we decided to partake in the Penguin Encounter, which gave us a backstage tour of the penguins and even had a slightly terrifying moment in which the one penguin nearly attacked Chrissy’s foot. But alas, the situation was diverted as the penguin instead conducted its business a short distance away. After spending close to 3 hours, Tom decided to drag Chrissy away and to the grocery store. We ended up at the Pak N’ Save which is similar to Extra Foods with the exception that its like a Costco on a Saturday and designed very similar to a maze. Frustrating to get around as well but eventually with our goodies ready we checked out. They also just throw your food into a cart, chuck some bags on top and make you pack them yourselves. It was interesting…

NOW we are ready to hit the road….We start driving and driving, spot the first sheep of the trip. Eventually we end up at a DOC site (like a provincial park), which is right next to a deer farm. We got in pretty late so we just had a quick supper and settled in for the night…it smells so good outside; words can’t even begin to describe it!!!

Posted by tc2009 02:21 Archived in New Zealand Tagged lodging Comments (1)

Christchurch - Day Two

all seasons in one day 10 °C

After a fitful sleep thanks in part to the constant slamming of room doors last night and the neighbours having a very late shower, we started the day off rather groggy. After a VERY expensive breakfast ($34 - although in Canadian dollars it is only about $24) we continued our exploring. The sun was out and it was beautiful albeit rather nippy. We meandered around Cathedral Square and decided that because it was gorgeous, we should make our way up to the Gondola. After consulting bus schedules, we set off on the public transit adventure...As most of you know, Chrissy adores public transit (for some very strange reason) so she was thrilled. Tom was more excited for the gondola ride.

Once at the gondola, we hopped aboard and took the 10min ride to the top. The views were spectacular!!! We wandered around the top for a bit and then took the 'Banks Peninsula Tour Ride’, which was a little bit Disney style with moving carts but kind of neat. Had a coffee break and then hopped back on the gondola for the ride down. Luckily, we managed to catch the bus to Rapika (?) which is a little village on the Lyttleton Harbour and very similar to St.John's Nfld. Took a ton of pictures (which will soon follow....) and then meandered back to town on the bus.

Once back in CHC, we wandered through Ballyentines (the equivalent of a more expensive Bay), debated buying some possum socks and then went in search of the botanical gardens. The colour of the leaves meant tons of pictures and even more goofing off. Tom had to drag Chrissy away from the freshly raked piles of leaves on more than one occasion. After spending a good portion of the afternoon wandering around, lunchtime called. Chrissy insisted on REAL meat pies (none of those prepackaged ones at 7-11) that meant more searching Luckily, fate was with them and lead us to a delicious little shop.

Chrissy had been testing out her new pedometer but given her technical ability, the stupid thing reset itself so she has no clue as to how many steps/kms were taken during the day. Rough estimate would be that we were at 6km and 9,000 (+/-) steps. After briefly deciding on the next day's activities, Chrissy had a nap and Tom caught up on some work emails. Oops well time is running out quite quickly so we must sign off for now...Tomorrow we pick up the campervan and its time to a) test our hand at driving and b) SEE THE PENGUINS!!!!! Until then...

Posted by tc2009 02:19 Archived in New Zealand Tagged events Comments (0)

Christchurch

overcast 8 °C

Whew, we made it! After the uneventful Air Canada flight to LA we hung around for quite some time in the crazy busy terminal of LAX. There was a group of mini cheerleaders practicing so we escaped to a quiet area on the second level which was a relief. Bonus was that Dog the Bounty Hunter walked right by us to go to one of the airline lounges. When we finally got to board our flight (the super wicked two story 747) it was a relief. We lucked out and had the double seat (instead of the triple) at the back of the plane. Surprisingly there was a lot of leg room plus the food was delicious! Chrissy spent a large portion of the 13h flight napping while Tom caught up on some movies and also napped. Landed in Auckland to a beautiful sunny day......The swine flu outbreak meant that our original connecting flight was cancelled and replaced with a later flight. Customs and Quarantine was efficient & quick -- no problems there! Oh and did we mention all the bags came through?!!

Rechecked our bags through to Christchurch and began yet another airport wait. The quick flight over meant that we landed in Christchurch around 10am local time. After checking into our hostel, we had a quick nap and are now ready to go off & explore. Well actually get something to eat......Will speak soon :)

Posted by tc2009 18:15 Archived in New Zealand Tagged air_travel Comments (2)

En-Route

sunny 9 °C

Well life certainly is not dull with the two of us! Last night, Chrissy's mom held an aussie BBQ in honour of our departure. Good food and good company it was a recipe for an excellent final night in Canada. However, we have discovered Tom is allergic to shellfish. Better know than in NZ where seafood reigns supreme....He's fine now after spending some time in the ER last night and is now equipped to attack the dreaded prawns.

After allowing the neighbours the cheap thrills from the ambulance last night, we both settled in for some last minute packing. Chrissy bailed at 11.30pm and Tom abandoned all efforts around 12.30am. Of course, if Tom hadn't woken up Chrissy this morning at 5.30am there might have been a scramble to get the airport. But its all good and we got to see the new add-on at Kelowna.

The flight went well to Vancouver with the exception of the screaming child at the front of the plane. There always has to be one and hopefully that will be the only one. We are now just hanging out at Vancouver waiting for the flight to LA. On a side note, Chrissy will be able to identify her bag not by the lovely 'Take my bag, do my laundry' luggage tag but by the copious amounts of dog fur all over it. Thank you Quincy & Molly for your lovely parting gift. Tom, ever the theater technician, has attached red electricians tape to everything.

Off for a walk now, will post later.

Posted by tc2009 09:26 Archived in Canada Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

Packing

overcast 9 °C

We have two days left and are only JUST getting started packing today!! Eeeks!!! But Tom's patience will balance Chrissy's stress so it will be a-ok! Its hard to believe that in just over 48h we will be leaving Kelowna for NZ (and testing out the airport's new security checkpoint - exciting!). Keep finding new things we want to do and are working on balancing needs and wants. For example, Chrissy wants to take more shoes but Tom needs to be able to at least carry her bag when she abandons it in Christchurch (CHC). :oP The weather is looking good in CHC with overcast and highs of 17/18! WHOOO!! Alright, we need to get packing and find out what we need. Talk soon :)

Posted by tc2009 10:55 Archived in Canada Tagged packing Comments (0)

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