8 January 2011


Cathedral Square
Arriving in Christchurch, New Zealand brought a tinge of nostalgia as the British-like surroundings transported us back home.

The beautiful Botanic Gardens
Our hostel was right in the middle of town, overlooking the beautiful Arts Centre and a stone's throw away from the Botanical Gardens. We had a relaxing four days in the South Island's most populated place - making us realise just how much of a­­­­­­ contrast this country would be to its rival neighbour.

Christchurch is nicknamed 'the City of Gardens' and we certainly took full advanta­­ge of the nearby Botanical Gardens, escaping every night away from our south facing room (which had no air con or fan) for a cooler spot outside, only returning back once James's stomach made the cry for food!

It's an oar, James, not a pummel stick!
We used our time in the Gardens to plan our South Island route, taking advice from friends, fellow travellers and the trusty Lonely Planet thrown in for good measure about where to go and what to see.

Although we are a little nervous about how to survive in our tiny campervan (which we pick up tomorrow and really is just a big car with a mattress), reminding ourselves that we'll have the freedom of being able to easily get to all the places we want to see puts us solidly back in the camping mood! I will get back to you on whether or not our optimism continues!

Baby ducklings
A highlight of our stay in Christchurch, apart from the perfect weather, was canoeing along the River Avon. It was good fun once we both managed to row in the same direction (completely not my fault) and was nice to take in the surroundings, especially all the baby ducklings swimming alongside us.

The next time we blog it will be from our teeny weeny (am I emphasising enough just how small it is?) green campervan, as our new toy - our internet dongle - will help keep us in touch with the world!



  1. Our Jonathan and his wife Morven lived for just over six months close to the Botanics, and Jon worked in the hospital overlooking the river! So we are quite familiar with where you have been. Did you visit Rutherford's den in the old Christchurch university? Memorable for me, because he went on to the Cavendish laboratory in Cambridge. Happy travelling!

  2. The camper van may be small but remember you will have the vast open countryside all around you - plenty of break out space!
    Drive safely! xx

  3. Your mum said some suggestions might be in order. I recommend the i-sites (tourist info places) in the small towns - much better than eg Christchurch. For example Geraldine recommended some excellent swimming holes in local streams! Try white water rafting on the Rangitata river (better we think than Queenstown). Take time to smell the roses in the small places. Try Akoroa - best fish and chips in the world, as well as lots of other attractions. When I know where you are going will make other comments!

  4. Thanks Paul. You're not going to believe it, but on our first day driving the campervan, we pulled into the side of the road to go online and work out exactly where we were and where we were going. We looked at your blog comment then realised we were parked about 50 metres from the i-site in Geraldine! We asked them about the swimming holes and went down there straight away - great recommendation!

    Your son was very lucky to live somewhere so beautiful. We both loved Christchurch. Unfortunately, we didn't go to Rutherford's den.

    Last night, we stayed in Lake Tekapo and are currently at a camping site (White Horse Hill) at the base of Mount Cook. It's truly stunning! From here, we are continuing onto Oamaru, Dunedin, The Catlins and Invercargill. If you have any more recommendations, we'd love to hear them!

    And Mum, don't worry, I'm driving safely!

  5. Christchurch is one of the most important destination to enjoy holiday. Lots of adventurous places to visit.


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