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Monday, April 18, 2016

New Zealand Adventure Part 1 (Christchurch, Tekapo Lake, Mount Cook and Moeraki)

Easter Sunday we left bright and early for the airport. We were feeling pretty good as we were all packed the night before, our prepaid longterm parking had been updated and the airport was fairly smooth sailing all the way to the gate.  Air New Zealand yet again provided some first rate service and we landed in Christchurch ready to go at 3:00 in the afternoon with plenty of daylight left.

That's about where our luck ran out. 

Arriving at the airport, we discovered that as the motorhome we had booked was in for repairs, and our new home was going to instead look like this for the next 13 days.  It's a wee bit smaller than we had intended. 

The very helpful and ever so slightly skeezy salesman offered to come and exchange vehicles with us a few days into our journey, however when the time came we decided it just wasn't worth the hassle of transferring all of our belongings now that we were settled, and the thought of starting again and working out all the new start-up issues just seemed like too much work. So in the clown-camper we stayed.

Getting back to our arrival, we plugged in Stella (our notoriously bossy GPS) and drove away in search of a supermarket. Big was Easter Sunday. We managed to scrounge up a loaf of bread at a bakery, a jar of peanut butter and chicken noodle cup-a-soup at a corner store and tah-dah! Dinner is served!

I'm choosing to take it as a sign that my cooking has obviously been too good for to long, as after the kids accused us of sheltering them from cup-a-soup all their lives, they were pretty sure this was the best camping style meal they had ever seen. I reckon I'm going to have to up my game in the kitchen.

The next day we were up bright and early and on our way. It was a long day of driving, but we were rewarded with so many different landscape changes and amazing views.  

Leaving Christchurch there were endless rolling green hills of farmland and sheep.

As we turned inland towards Twizel, the landscape changed fairly quickly to include the mountains that we were headed for that night.

The best scenic stop along the way was Tekapo Lake. Actually it made for several stops. With a blue hue I've only ever seen at Lake Louise, this glacier fed lake amongst the mountains and the Tasman Glacier made was a great surprise as we came around the corner.

Our day ended on a chilly note at sunset in Mount Cook National Park with this view from our motorhome.

Before we continued on the next morning, we packed up and rugged up for a hike up towards Mount Cook for a view of the Tasman glacier terminus, New Zealands' longest glacier.

 Deep vallies flat and wide from the receding of glaciers are common here.

After the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, huge pieces of the glacier calved off of the terminus and so we were able to get a look at the few remaining icebergs. 

We continued on our way to Dunedin with a brief stop to see the prehistoric Moeraki Boulders. It was pouring rain when we pulled into the carpark, but by the time we had made our way down to the beach, the rain had cleared, the sun came out and we were treated to a rainbow!

If there was any indication that we were standing on an ocean coastline, the massive seaweed that was washed up on shore was a good clue. It was absolutely massive!

The boulders are both simple and pretty cool. Said to be 4 to 5.5 million years old they are formed out of mudstone and have eroded in the shape of large spherical boulders scattered along the beach.

The tide was just starting to come in so we were able to wade out and check them out a bit closer.

We continued on down the coast to Dunedin for the night where our holiday park had not only an indoor swimming pool, but a spa too! Woo Hoo! We'll take a break here to rejuvenate before continuing with another post of our wild adventures.

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