Getting off the plane in Christchurch (CHCH) and being met by my mum and Ray was truly bizarre and fantastic. Mum had the biggest grin ever despite flying for 24 hours from the UK.
the Kiwis are so far extremely friendly – as demonstrated by our taxi driver from the airport – a large elderly woman in a massive wide-brimmed pink hat that talked all the way to the hotel and tried to show us postcards of the mountains at the same time as driving – nevermind – we all had our eyes glued to the road even if she didn’t:)
To our delight we discovered our motel unit had an amazing bathroom with massive spa bath / jacuzzi type thing – just what we needed to ease the travel-tired bones.
CHCH is, as they say, very English. We passed a lovely few days exploring the nearby Banks Peninsula and the city – stunning views from the Gondola. Akaroa was lovely and sunny, and we promptly booked ourselves on a swim with the local Hector’s dolphins. Just as we were getting excited, a storm appeared in all of 60 seconds, whipped up the water like you wouldn’t believe – it was very entertaining whilst we ate our tea and cakes, but bye bye dolphin swimming! The squall was so bad that two yachts in the harbour at the time had their masts broken! Our first lesson in NZ weather -very changeable.
Anyway the sun came out and it hasn’t changed since:)
Onwards to Kaikoura for marine mammal tasticness! Even as we drove towards Kaikoura we could see a pod of 100s of dusky dolphins (from the road) doing acrobatics. They jump over and over again doing back flips and twists – this certain;y did bode well for our visit.
Surprise, surprise the dolphin swim trips were fully booked, but the whale watching wasn’t. We had a wonderful trip – late afternoon so the light of the setting sun was wonderful. We had 4 sightings of sperm whales not to mention the petrels, albatrosses and the dolphins
Next up, swimming with seals – need I say more.
This just about takes us up to the current photos available for you to see, so I won’t tell you how awe-inspiring the helicopter ride was over the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers – especially the bit where we landed on top of the glacier We will get more news up later or tomorrow – promise!