Taking advantage of a very cheap Qantas fare, we decided to spend this week predominantly in the Marlborough area of the South Island of New Zealand.
We flew from home via Auckland and then found that cur flight to Christchurch was delayed for at least three hours. We we were very grateful for being transferred over to an Air New Zealand flight that left much earlier. We arrived in Christchurch at 9.45 pm and with the help of our GPS, we were able to drive straight to the door of our hotel. Too late for dinner, we were very grateful for the 24 hour room service menu. We fell into bed, quite tired after a day of travel.
We spent our first day here in Akoroa, a little town on the Banks Peninsular near Christchurch, which was originally settled by the French. They got displaced because between the time when they had gone back to France to register their claim and return, the British had signed the treaty of Waitanngi with the Maori. Eventually, the French decided to stay and this little town still has French street names and the French flag flies in the street. It is a cute little town with a very attractive harbour. Our dinner at the famous little French restaurant ‘C’est La Vie’,was superb.
Akoroa and Harbour
On our second day, we drove across the island, over Arthur’s Pass, to Greymouth. At first, the drive took us over the very flat area of the Canterbury Plains, and then the road started to climb through the mountains. We saw some spectacular alpine scenery, and needless to say, I took a lot of photos. We reached the little village of Arthur’s Pass by 2.00 pm for a very late lunch. After another 90 minutes or so, we reached Greymouth, just as it was beginning to rain. On the two or three previous occasions that I have visited this place, it has always been grey, cloudy, or wet. On one occasion, we even experienced an earthquake. I don’t really believe that the sun ever shines here. We went to the local hotel across the road from our motel at night for dinner, and we met some of the the locals – a very interesting experience indeed! The serves on each plate were big enough to feed an entire family.
Mountain scenery near Arthur’s Pass
When we woke up this morning, it had been raining all night and it was still raining continuously. The locals tell us that they have a ‘sugneffikent wither diprussian’ that is affecting the whole country. It rained all day as we drove through Reefton & Murchison,then up the Buller Gorge to Nelson, where we plan to stop for a couple of days. Not drizzle or a few drops in this rainfall – it was heavy, continuous rain all day. Coming from dry old drought-ridden Melbourne, we had forgotten what this type of weather was like! Not many photos today. We hope that the weather will begin to clear from tomorrow. We walked through the rain to visit the ships in the city and to buy something to drink to bring back to our motel.
Rain (in case you have forgotten what it looks like) outside our motel room
We’ve found a nice motel for a couple of nights and we’ll now start to explore some of that area that is famous for those lovely Sauvignon Blanc wines that NZ produces so well.