Happy Sunday! If you were not aware already, I am currently in New Zealand on holiday with one of my closest friends Annalise! We have been planning this trip since about December 2018, so it feels a bit surreal that it is finally here. The trip we have planned is a 13 day trip to the South Island of New Zealand. We begin our travels in Christchurch, where we are staying for four nights exploring, drinking and eating out. We then travel down to Queenstown by plane on the 26th of June. After we get down to Queenstown we have lots of plans including day trips to Wanaka, Milford Sound and Glenorchy and also exploring Queenstown itself. Finally after six nights there, we travel by plane again to Dunedin (located the furtherest south) for the remaining three nights! We then fly home back to Brisbane on the 5th July! Hope you enjoy reading about the details of my trip to New Zealand. I wanted to document the trip in detail every 2 days. Not only so I have a detailed memory of my trip stored in my blog for future reference but also to update my family and friends of what I am doing and how (and every reason why there jealously was well-founded). Enjoy!
We arrived at the airport between 7-7:30am where we checked in our bags at the check-in-zone. Unfortunately and shockingly my bag was 23.2kg. Ask me how it was over the limit and I honestly wouldn’t be able to give you an answer. I clearly overpacked and underestimated how much jackets and jumpers actually weigh when compressed in the suitcase. Annalise on the other hand, was a couple of kilograms still under the weight limit so her suitcase was completely fine. It ended up being fine with my suitcase too and I checked in fine without having to pay any extra cost for luggage (thank the lord). However, we shall see how this pans out as it comes to the closure of the trip. I know I will manage and it really isn’t a major deal as I will just stash some of the heavier items within my carry on for the flight home (just to be safe).
We finally began to board, later than expected due to the captain being late, but we did eventually get on. I am just glad we weren’t the flight expected to board before us, travelling to Bali or Auckland (cannot exactly remember) that got delayed until 6:00pm that night. In fact, we were in the first ten people to board as it was decided that we would change out our seats for the emergency exit seats, to allow a family to sit together. No complaints here. Especially considering the leg room in the exit seats is very spacious in comparison to the rest of the economy seating, which worked out perfectly for Annalise, who is much taller than me.
As we transfer to NZST, which for those who do not know, is because New Zealand is ahead of Australia. For NSW (and QLD at the moment), there is roughly a two hour time difference. We arrived, scanned the passports, collected our luggage, passed through customs without any hassles and then made it out of the airport. As the glass doors slid open, Annalise and I did both agree the temperature, while still very cold, was definitely more mild in comparison to what we had expected. Our Uber then took as to our apartment (which I have to say was really comfortable and was in a great location), where we dropped off our bags after a few minor issues with the room.
It wasn’t long before food became the priority. So, we just did a short walk to the nearest supermarket to grab some snacks to eat, as opposed to eating out. After all, we were tired and hungry and COLD. When I say the temperature felt as if it had dropped a solid 5+ degrees from when we exited that airport to when we left the apartment for food, I mean it. I actually didn’t check the temperature change, but feeling the drop was enough (it would of been just because it got much darker by the time we headed to the shops). Now; the temperature wouldn’t have been an issue for me anyway as I am pretty well used to the cold now from my job and from bring European-born. The issue struck the moment I said “I don’t need my beanie or any sort of extra layering, what I have on is fine”. My mistake, which I ultimately suffered for (well, not really, considering the walk was honestly only like 3 mines there and back). Either way, the walk was lovely and the air, while cold, refreshing and clean.
A few reality TV shows, a re-watch of Toy Story 1 and some snacks later, it was time for bed. I was yawning at pretty much every stage of the trip. From the morning before we left for the airport until we were walking to the shops. Annalise was shattered, I was shattered and sleep was needed!
So we slept through the alarms (go figure) and so were a little late getting out of our apartment. Although it didn’t really matter as our plans were more just to explore the town and the shops and see what was on offer! We originally walked to this nearby gluten free bakery which we had seen on our arrival here, but it ended up disappointing. Either way though, we figured it was best to find food in the city instead. We walked for a few streets before the freezing cold air set in and well, the rest was history (our uber travel history moreso).
First stop was the Christchurch Memorial Wall. The wall is a remembrance stone wall with the names of the 185 victims who died in the Christchurch 2011 earthquakes. A sober note to start but it felt incredibly necessary to pay our respects and read those names. I believe it’s a must-do. Afterwards, we headed along the high street and noted some of the shops, found a souvenir shop (I brought a key ring for my collection and Annalise brought sheep skin shoe insoles), and made our way to Wendys. Yes, Wendy’s! I can say with confidence that we were both shocked to discover that Wendy’s was in Christchurch. Nonetheless, we went in and grabbed a frosty (which according to Annalise is an iconic Wendy’s product in America). We did our taste test and well it was average. Nice flavour for what you pay though. However it basically just had an ice cream consistency with an ice cream taste – just without the label.
Next on the agenda was the famous Empty white chairs, which also act as a Denver ace shrine to those who lost their lives in the earthquakes. The artist Peter Majendie placed 185 chairs (including all different forms e.g. wheelchair, high chair) together to represent this tragedy. While the installation was originally temporary and in a different location, it now sits permanently diagonally opposite to the CTV Building site (the site which claimed the lives of 115 people). It’s a beautiful reminder, according to the artist himself that life is temporary. While a dull outlook maybe, I found a lot of comfort and relief in the words written to accompany the chairs. There was also a small book which the public are able to write comments in to pay their respects. I chose to write in the book, which turned out to be beautifully cathartic.
As we ventured further around the city, we decided to start taking more notice of the many incredible street art installations that enveloped the city. It really added a creative and personal touch to the city, which a lot of other cities just don’t have.
After exploring the city and high street some more, we made our way to our pre booked Xtreme Screen showing of Toy Story 4 at the Christchurch Hoyts. The movie was absolutely fantastic. 5/5 (I will be discussing my thoughts in my movie wrap up for the month too). Nothing compares to the nostalgia of the Toy Story series for me. It was always such a great part of my youth and remains today, one of my favourite (top 3) Disney/Pixar movie/s. They are creative, humorous and suitable for all ages. This particular Toy Story instalment was emotional and beautifully written and created (I cried). Pixar should be very proud of the movie they created.
We headed back to the apartment after the movie to rest, edit some photos and videos and just have a bit of a break from walking around before dinner later on.
It was finally time for dinner. We headed to a restaurant/bar called Boo Radley’s. After we sat down and picked up our drink menu, we were asked for ID in the form of our passports, which we had forgotten to bring. That was the last time we would enter that bar. We had to uber back to the apartment, pick up the passports and then uber back to the same area, just a different restaurant/bar across the road, which we saw quite a few people enter into before we left. Turns out it was a Mexican style bar that ended up being delightful. Great food, cocktails and staff. Highly recommend.
After we arrived back it was time to unwind. We got settled back into our apartment. I decided to watch Lord of the Rings, which was on TV at the time, as it is one of my favourite movie series of all time (and New Zealand was where a majority of the scenery for the movies was shot). We both ended the night on that note.