South Island here I come. We boarded the ferry at 8.00 am from Wellington and 3 hours later, via the very beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound, we were in the town of Picton on the South Island. I haven't got that much to say about Picton, nice enough place but I can sum the stay there up in my two highlights; Highlight one - a barmaid only charged me for one instead of two pints at one of the local bars - result. Highlight two - I had a very good curry there. On Easter Sunday morning we were up and out of there and on our way south on the bus to Kaikoura. In Kaikoura we met up with Darren and Kerry again, who we'd met in Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore, and spent most of Easter Sunday chatting and drinking with them. As with Good Friday you couldn't buy alcohol in any pubs unless you were dining, so the pub across the road from our hostel had a very clever way of getting round things by making us all sign a form to say that we were dining an this allowed us to drink all night - hurrah!
Kaikoura's famed for its whale watching and dolphin swimming trips so next morning we tried to get on a swim with dolphins trip, but unfortunately they only had 1 place left so we had to leave it. Instead we walked the long route up to the seal colony to see the seals instead. On the way back I stopped at a seafood BBQ shack and had the greatest barbecued garlic scallops. This was the highlight of my day and after an uneventful Tuesday night in Kaikoura, we were then off again and on our way to Christchurch. Christchurch is a nice town also and all the literature on the place says its the most British of the New Zealand cities. I spent the day there wandering around the city, the cathedral, the cultural precinct and the botanical gardens.
Okay at this stage you may think that this really isn't a very interesting blog and you'd be right. In all honesty I was slightly disillusioned with New Zealand after 10 days, I seemed to be having a lot of time where I didn't know what to do with myself and yes although the scenery was amazing it didn't compensate for the boredom I was feeling after a short while in most places. I had the feeling that traveling by bus may have been a big key to this as we were restricted in our movements and having to wait around in places because of it. So to fix this problem we decided to do the rest of the south island via a car, so we hired one and then road trip 3 was on the cards.
Oh and my other highlight of Christchurch - A McDonald's. For those who know me well, I always give up something for lent, more for challenging me physically and mentally rather than anything particularly religious. In the past I've given up alcohol, meat, coffee & chocolate, swearing and even forced myself to have 5 fruit and veg a day and this years challenge was to avoid all mainstream fast food. Harder to do than it sounds simply because fast foods often a good source of a cheap meal when you're on the road. Anyway that burger tasted divine and I was ready to hit the road.
P.S. I think I've nearly learnt how to speak kiwi. The trick is to replace the vowels e or ea with the letter i so for example 'bed' becomes 'bid' ...e.g. "aw I was in bid", 'dead' becomes 'did'.....e.g. "aw he was did in his bid" and 'already' becomes 'alridy'.....e.g. "Aw he was alridy did in his bid". And also say a lot that things are 'Sweet' and my personal favourite 'Choice Eh'.
P.P.S. They don't have vinegar on their fish and chips in here or in Australia. Whats all that about.