Dec 1, 2015

We were up early to catch the bus to Christchurch, which was to leave at 7:45 am. We walked down the hill to the station and then out into the industrial area, where the intercity buses had been banished to. As we were walking there one of the locals noticed us and came over to apologize for the bus terminal’s location!

As we left Dunedin it was sunny, but once we got out onto the highway a marine layer of cloud quickly covered the sky. The countryside started out as pasture land, then changed to grain fields, then back to pastures again. We stopped in Timaru for a half-hour coffee and bathroom stop and finally arrived in Christchurch at about 2 pm. From Christchurch’s brand new bus terminal we tried to figure out which direction to go. Initially we went the wrong way, but very quickly found a map with “You Are Here” marked on it and turned ourselves around.

The downtown area is still a mess, five years after the earthquake which devastated it. There are several buildings under construction, but still many lots where nothing is happening. In a few places we saw bits of 19th-century stonework still standing, with stacks of shipping containers next to them to protect passers-by. It looks like it might take another decade to get the area back into shape. We’ll be back later for a couple of days so we didn’t spend much time looking around, and we didn’t take any photographs either.

The hostel wasn’t too far away, so it wasn’t long before we were checked in and having a cup of tea in the kitchen. The closest supermarket was a ten-minute walk away so after we finished our tea we set off to do some shopping. We needed food for tonight and also for the Banks Peninsula walk, which is four days long. The walk was kind of a mystery—there are shops at some of the huts and we were told they are “well stocked”, but we didn’t know what they are stocked with. So we bought some freeze-dried food for the walk and also a roast chicken for tonight, which would give us leftovers for tomorrow.

As we were repacking our bags for the walk we discovered that our hostel didn’t have luggage storage. The other nearby hostel did, but it charged by the hour. But we discovered that our hostel in Akaroa would store our gear while we were walking the track, so that solved the problem. We packed the gear which we didn’t need into our duffle bags, and we would take them to Akaroa tomorrow and leave them there. Once all of the repacking was done we wrote up our journals and went to bed.

Next: Banks Peninsula, part 1