Got up early today, had some breakfast and took a taxi to the Interislander Ferry terminal. I made sure we left early, but when we got to the terminal it was so quick to check in, that we really needn’t have rushed at all!! Never mind, it’s better to be there too early than too late (^^)>
The ferry crossing was quite smooth even though it was still extremely windy outside. The scenery passing through the Cook Straits was beautiful – lush greens and deep blue hues everywhere you looked.
The journey from Wellington to Picton took about 3 hours altogether. We managed to check our baggage in not just for the ferry journey but also for the connecting train journey as well, so we didn’t need to worry about our suitcases until we reached Christchurch – very handy!
When we arrived at the Picton ferry terminal, we disembarked and headed for the train station …at first we couldn’t find it – in fact nobody could – it was so well disguised as a Subway Sandwich shop!! The front served fast food, whilst the back office had all the tickets!!
Anwyay, we joined the queue at the station ticket office, only to find out that there had been a derailment of a freight train over the weekend and some of the points on the track had been damaged and not yet fixed. We were told that buses had been organized to take us to the next stop, Blenheim, where we could catch the train. Seio and I both had a flashback to the San Diego Amtrak nightmare…not again surely?! Actually we had no problems at all, the buses turned up on time and took us all to Blenheim station where the Tranz Coastal train picked us up and delivered us in Christchurch on time and in one piece!
The train journey was very scenic, with the Kaikoura mountains on one side of the train and the Pacific Ocean running along the other side. The conductor was like a proper tour guide, giving us a little bit of the history about the rivers and locations we were passing through on our journey to Christchurch. The journey took about 5 hours altogether and we arrived at Christchurch Station at about 6:30pm ish.
From the station we hopped on a shared shuttle bus and made our way to the hotel – a funky techno boutique hotel just down the road from Christchurch Cathedral.
First impressions of Christchurch are very nice indeed – it’s the ‘garden city’ apparently and I can understand that. It has a very pretty river running through the middle of town, with parks and flowers dotted here and there. It almost feels like we are back in Welwyn Garden City…almost!!
Our room is fairly small, and seeing as we are only staying here for 2 nights, we decided not to unpack here as we wouldn’t be able to move!! After we freshened up a bit, we headed into town to have a look around and get some food. This really is a pretty town, and fairly quiet as well.
Tomorrow we are going to explore a bit more…perhaps go punting down the river Avon, who knows??