Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by warpus, Mar 21, 2013.
Nice piece of work.
Day 16 (part 3) - Christchurch
The hostel felt authentically jail-like - the door to my room was heavy, it creaked slightly, there were bars in the windows... One of the cells served as a bit of an art display - featuring art that one of the inmates who made that cell his home drew over the years.
There are a couple pictures I can't show here, but this is a demon making out with a lady
"Only God can judge me"
Feel lucky, punk?
Time-wise I was about half-way into my trip: 15 days gone and about 16 to go. The plan at this point was rough and flexible. I knew I wanted to head to Kaikoura next, but after that now I also really wanted to have enough room for Abel Tasman National Park, which I did not initially budget time for. Then I had to take a ferry to the north island, figure out what to do there, and make sure that on the 29th day I'm in Auckland for the flight home.
The good news was that I realized I wanted to stop by Abel Tasman fairly early on in the trip - people travelling south wouldn't stop raving about it. So I powered ahead a bit and didn't use any extra days anywhere, essentially arriving in Christchurch 1 or 2 days early, depending on how you look at it. Not that anything really caught my eye in terms of being worthy a longer stop anyway except maybe the pancake rocks near Greymouth or an Arthur's Pass hike or two.. or maybe a hike on a glacier back at Franz Josef. But then again my legs were tired at the time anyway and both things would have been 2+ day commitments, ruling either Abel Tasman or parts of the northern island out.
I contemplated potential itineraries as I made my way downtown. Along the way I passed the Christchurch Art Gallery
And the Christchurch City Council
And of course the giant shuttlecock
Day 16 (part 4) - Christchurch
I didn't really have much on my list as far as Christchurch was concerned; my first and only objective in the city was the main plaza, where the cathedral and shuttlecock were located.
There was a decently sized adjoining plaza, statues, plaza-like things, and large containers filled with symbolic rocks. One sad thing to note here is that the cathedral is currently half-destroyed. An earthquake messed it up and the church decided to finish the job.. but the government's intervened and put an end to the destruction for now.
The excitement in the country about the then upcoming Rugby World Cup was everywhere
The first Christmas related decoration I saw in the country - still looks out of place in the summer-like weather, but mind you it's the 2nd week of December.
Christchurch isn't that large, but its downtown is decent enough
I explored downtown, ate some stroganoff at a German restaurant, then some Satay stirfry at a vietnamese place I think.. I must've been hungry. By the time I made it back to the hostel it was already getting dark. On the way back I came across the Cantenbury brewery
Back at the hostel I went online and booked a scenic train ride north along the eastern coast to Kaikoura, where I was hoping to see some whales. I felt like I didn't really give Christchurch a chance, but there just wasn't anything else that I wanted to see there more than Kaikoura or Abel Tasman so I figured I should move on.
O.K. Thanks for the tips I will probably do just that or part of it. Regarded Christchurch centre the pictures are history. The cathedral is down and say some 50% of the buildings are down or damaged. It was made accesible - the centre of the city- just short time ago I was told.
Don't forget that we can rate this thread. Top quality stuff here.
This is a dream trip warpus! Thank you kindly for sharing.
I guess I'm lucky to have went when I did...
It must be crappy for locals, their city is "wounded", and they're probably losing out on some tourism $$ too, which I think is vital to their economy. Sucks all around, hope everything gets rebuilt and/or fixed soon so that people can enjoy the public space again properly.
Np about the tips. How much longer are you there for? If you have any questions on the road just ask, but as you can see I zoomed through some parts of the country..
Thank you, very kind of you sir! One day maybe you'll find yourself reading through an Australia-themed one - it's still on my list, I just don't know when I'll be able to go.
You're welcome! I need to write it all out before I forget, thanks for coming along for the ride.
I like the pictures.
Day 17 - Kaikoura
Kaikoura is fairly small (pop. 2,200) and lies about 180km north-east of Christchurch. What's interesting about it is that it's right beside the end of the Hikurangi Trench. The depths of the trench and the prevailing winds and currents in the area make the waters around Kaikoura particularly abundant with deep-sea life, which tends to attract other species of animals, including dolphins and whales.
The town is famous for whale watching, which is why I was stopping there. It's also conveniently located right on the train route from Christchurch to Picton, the place you need to get to if you want to take a ferry over to the north island, which is where I was ultimately headed. So I figured.. might as well stop and see some whales.
I checked out of my hostel, jumped on a scenic train heading north, didn't bother with any photography, and sat back and enjoyed the sights of the pacific ocean on the right and mountains on the left as we rode along towards Kaikoura. It was a relatively short ride and in almost no time I was in Kaikoura at my new hostel.
I checked in, asked about food options, and set off for the local iSite, the one place that was almost everywhere I went that I knew I could rely on for reliable information and advice.
I devoured a large plate of Pad Thai for lunch. The next photo has nothing to do with that meal.
Another option for something to do in Kaikoura: swim with the dolphins
Inside I talked to a nice lady who convinced me not to go see any whales.. not directly mind you, but all the information she gave me seemed to suggest that I would likely spend a lot of money and probably only get to see their butts. So that was a no go - and honestly I wasn't too disappointed. There seemed to be a ton of other things to do in the area, even though the town was so small... And to be honest again I was actually kind of happy about the relaxed feel of the whole day, now that boating, helicopters, and whales were out of the picture.
The Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway was something that came up that I remembered from my research. It was a 4-6 hour long hike that took you around the entire Kaikoura Peninsula, right by the water. It seemed exactly like the sort of low key thing that I was in the mood for.
Here's a map of the trail, with some weird crap going on just to the left of the iSite, which is in the top-left corner of the map. My plan was to walk the trail clockwise.
I do not remember much about the Garden of Memories.
Came across this memorial erected for those who fought in the 2 world wars. (Notice how they refer to them as the great war and the world war)
I had with me a bottle of water and some snacks.. that would have to do for the next 4-6 hours!
Day 17 - Kaikoura part 2
Civilization and nature clash in Kaikoura in the most pleasant way: perfectly mowed lawns and evenly planted trees with epic natural vistas as backdrops.
Let us remember Thomas Brent Smith
A much more relaxing hike than the other ones I did on this trip.
The weather conditions helped make some of my photos look a bit like paintings.
Interesting rocks and the seals that sit on them
The rock formations in the ocean were interesting. I bet that has something to do with the fact that this place is right overtop a fault and sees a lot of geologic activity, but I really have no idea
Geological activity, and then the ocean washing away all the softer parts. Leaving behind the interesting shapes you see.
No wonder erosion has the word eros in it; It can be incredibly sexy.
Day 17 - Kaikoura part 3
My first stop on the walk was Point Kean and the seal colony.
The sign made me laugh. As if I would walk up to a seal to try to move it, there's no way I could pick one up. Don't they weigh hundreds of kilograms? Aren't they extremely slippery? Is this Kiwi humour again?
Seals smell. It was really fun walking among them though, of course making sure not to get too close.
They can kill you and can move surprisingly fast if they want to. The key is not to threaten their space or get in between them and the water. If you follow those simple rules, you will (probably) be fine.
I lounged around with the seals for an appropriate amount of time, then moved onwards and upwards towards the first lookout point.
This wasn't supposed to be one of the higlights from my trip, but it was quickly turning into one.
Compared to the other hikes I'd done so far this one was by far the most relaxed. I mean, I had nowhere to be that day. I didn't have to worry about work. I didn't have to carry a giant bag on my back. I didn't have to climb an alpine pass. Relationships and problems back home were far away. There were no responsibilities, no complications, nothing to worry or think about, just me and the peninsula.. and the mountains in the distance.. and the ocean. and the seals and birds and other animals and I guess some Japanese tourists.
Either way it was exactly what I needed.
Day 17 - Kaikoura part 4
On the walk up to the lookout point. I was at the north-eastern tip of the Kaikoura peninsula now. Down below, to the right, you can see the car park and the edge of the seal colony. In the distance you can see the main coastline of the south island.
The lookout point was truly spectacular. Well worth the hike from my hostel.
The trail now turned south. There was another one right by the beach. I considered heading down there.. but in the end the higher altitudes won out.
Eventually you reach the largest seagull colony on the south island. It's sort of noisy there.
Another shot of the seagull colony.
Are those white rocks chalk?
Greetings from Queenstown! This place is fun. Not sure I am going to do banji jump though. For that you have my sincere admiration, Warpus.
I did a bunch of digging and came up with this:
Another benefit of going through my trip day by day like this and writing about it - I learn interesting stuff I didn't know before. This helps answer a whole bunch of questions I had, and it actually comes from a copy of a pamphlet that I should have picked up at that iSite but never did.
Go jump off something! You're in Queenstown, you might as well.
And don't forget to eat a fergburger
Day 17 - Kaikoura part 5
Parts of the trail were very well maintained.
This guy.. was red
The rest of the hike was fairly soothing, but then again most of it kind of was.
I ate an overpriced porterhouse steak and drank an overpriced beer at a decently classy looking restaurant.. basically the first or second place I ran into after completing the loop. It felt touristy and forced, which at the time seemed unexpected. Not even Queenstown felt like that!
No matter though, it was a good day and perhaps even a great day! I did not experience any dolphins or whales, but I did feel like I experienced the essence of Kaikoura in perhaps an even more satisfying way than that.
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