Friday, March 06, 2015

Road Trip (Part I)

We used to take these expensive tandeming vacations to far off and exotic places, most recently (if you can call 2009 recent) to New Zealand. Since we are now on a Kiwi budget, we tend to do our cycling closer to home, and wait for tandems to come to us. This time around, we decided it would be a good opportunity to see a little bit more of the South Island.

Waikawa Bay boat sheds
A rare moment of sisterly solidarity on the Queen Charlotte Sound
After an early, early wakeup, a cross country drive, and an uneventful ferry through the Cook Strait, we found ourselves at Waikawa Bay. The next day, we bicycled 65 km from Picton to Marlborough wine country.

I seem to not have any photos, at least on the Pentax. In our prime, I did not mind carrying four pounds of camera on the bicycle. Although it probably matters less now that we are towing a hundred pounds of girls, the camera still seemed like too much work.

The following day found us on a cruise/very short hike around the Queen Charlotte Sound, and lunch at the historic Furneaux Lodge. The beauty of the Marlborough Sounds is impossible to believe. I had wanted to do a much longer walk on the Queen Charlotte Track, but tramping with little girls is even harder than bicycling with them.
Ohau seal colony --a giant seal bathtub

Shipping containers propping up buildings
As the tandem tour headed North, we drove in the opposite direction to Kaikoura, home to just about every type of whale imaginable. Unfortunately, Zooey is too young to get on the one whale watching boat, so we had to settle for alternate sea life. During seal season, there's a short walk up a stream to a waterfall to see baby seals playing in a waterfall. There were no seals in early March; the waterfall is pretty, but I won't bore you with a photo since we saw so many more waterfalls over the next few days.

In 2009, we started to drive to Akaroa. The road was very, very windy, so we turned around and went back to Christchurch. Though I had regretted not going for years, I was happy that we spent a little extra time in Christchurch before the city was destroyed. Four years after the earthquake, very little has been rebuilt. Lonely Planet called Christchurch the city to visit in 2013. They were way, way early. While some of the rebuild is interesting, most of it is just dirt lots.

What most of the Christchurch CBD looks like today
If you ever find yourself in Christchurch around dinner time, I highly recommend St. Germain. We ate there on our first trip to New Zealand, and it was one of the better meals we had ever had. In a new, post-earthquake location (a mile, or so from the old location), I can't say I was as impressed this time, but it was still very, very good. Try the chef's surprise (5 or 8 courses that the chef feels like making). I wish I could still say that I've never eaten snails. 

On the descent into Akaroa
The view from somewhere near our low cost accommodation
Back to Akaroa; it is hard to imagine a place more stunning. I had to stop the car at least once to take pictures on the way in. I see this entry is now turning into mostly pictures, so it must be time to stop writing.
Standing on a not too dangerous cliff above the lighthouse

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