Back in Christchurch on the way home. I got to spend 2.5 more days in New Zealand and once again, I LOVED IT! Here is another shot of Cathedral Square.
Here is yet another picture of the Avon River and its beauty. Remember, this flows right through Christchurch and it is lined with parks along the entire way...beautiful. When the sun comes out, locals and tourists all lounge along the grassy banks...sooo cool.
I figured I would give the hostel life a try while I was there (and get a taste of what to look forward to with the round the world). This was Base Backpackers right accross from the Cathedral in Cathedral square. I am SO glad I decided to spend a night here! In the lounge, I met Jordan from Saskatchewan, Canada (yea go Canada!), Nina from Denmark, and Mike from England. We all hit it off right away and ended up wandering around town looking for a fish and chips joint, hitting up an Irish pub (Nina had NEVER been to one!) and talking about our travels and homes the entire time! We then went back to Base where some of the Kiwis that worked at the hostel invited us to a party they were having. The party was awesome as it was comprised mostly of people from the hostel and everyone had great stories about their travels and places seen. My Everglades endeavour went over very well with everyone there. They had a sweet karaoke system that hooked up to the Playstation allowing people to have "sing off's" against each other...and trust me, EVERY party should have this as it got everyone to shake off any worries and just have fun! We also found out that the house we were partying in used to be a brothel! It was wild, and they even had the old warning to client stickers on the walls informing "clients" of the brothel about how to avoid STD's and sharing drug paraphernalia...crazy night!
So the next day I woke up early to catch a shuttle bus out of town to the Akaroa Peninsula. Yes, New Zealand is this beautiful, and the picture BARELY does justice. The peninsula was formed millions of years ago by three volcanoes that are now very dead. They left behind this amazing hills and harbours that make up the peninsula that juts out of the otherwise amazingly flat Canterbury Plains. The harbours in the peninsula are teaming with wildlife and small fishing towns amongst a beautiful landscape...in other words, my form of Heaven on Earth.
Looking at the fishing/tourist town of Akaroa. Very quaint, and small town, despite the busy summer-tourist season going on. I wandered around town for the first half of the day before my wildlife boat tour. The views here are indescribable...I loved the grassy hills coming right down to the harbour all around. I also ate what is definately the best fish I have ever tasted for lunch.
Looking away from town out towards the harbour. I walked up to the lighthouse as well...and I know I am going to be returning to Akaroa at a later time in my life. I really loved the place. My wildlife cruise went well. We saw plenty of birds (but no penguins which is why I signed up for it in the first place!). We also saw A LOT of Hector's dolphins, the world's rarest and smallest dolphins. They are only 4' 6" max size and are really cool. None of my pics turned out too nice as they were too fast for my shutter! But I did get to see quite a good bit of them as they were not at all afraid of coming up to the boat. It was almost as if they knew we were getting a kick out of seeing them and were playing up for the show!
Good bye Christchurch! Christchurch and the start of the plains as seen from my plane. You can see the Pacific Ocean to the left back and the start of the Akaroa Peninsula to the center and right back, with Christchurch in the middle, and the farmers fields that make up the majority of the Canterbury Plains at the bottom. I love New Zealand.