Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Dunedin, Lake Tekapo and Christchurch

After Queenstown we headed to Dunedin, meaning Edinburgh of the South, it's also the beer and chocolate capital of New Zealand, with a Speights brewery and Cadburys chocolate factory. The following morning, we walked up Baldwin street, which, according to the Guiness Book of Records, is the steepest street in the world. We then stopped off at the Moraki Boulders, huge spherical rocks scattered along the sea shore. We reached Lake Tekapo late afternoon and had a BBQ which was delicious, with homemade burgers, and hokey pokey icecream. Lake Tekapo is a good spot for star gazing and the night sky was wonderful, so many stars. I hiked up to Mount John summit, 1043m above sea level, the view was good but it was so windy, it took my breath away. My hostel is right by Lake Tekapo with views from my dorm room accross the lake, which is so beautiful. Lake Tekapo is home to two of New Zealands most photographed landmarks, the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Sheepdog statue. Not sure why!? After Queenstown, Lake Tekapo is a great spot to relax and take in the views.
We arrived in Christchurch early afternoon from Lake Tekapo, and took a short tour on the bus, it's a really pretty city, very English. The earthquake damage wasn't immediately visible, in the city centre, a few of the buildings have lost their roofs and the pavements are cordoned off to protect the public in case of falling tiles, but on the whole I wouldn't have known that an earthquake 7.1 on the Richter scale had happened here. I took a shower that evening, and felt the earth move! An aftershock rumbled through the building for several seconds and I started to wonder if I should get dressed and get under the door frame, no way was I running out naked! Luckily it stopped shortly after! It's quite a common occurence after a large quake. Christchurch is known as the English city, due to the gardens and buildings around the city, and the Avon river where you can go punting. I wandered round the Art gallery, the museum and the Botanic Gardens, with rose gardens and lily ponds, gorgeous. The following day I took a day trip to Akoroa, about an hour away from Christchurch by bus. It's a historic French and British settlement nestled in a beautiful harbour. It was a really hot sunny day and I strolled along the sea front to the lighthouse, stopping to browse in the local shops on the way, and then sunbathing in the park after lunch, a really great, lazy day.

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