New Zealand: Arthur’s Pass and Christchurch

As much as I’m disappointed with this Bealey ‘hotel’, oh boy are we treated with some beautiful morning views!

Almost makes up for our awful room

We hit the road super early to fit in a couple local hikes before moving on to Christchurch. We’re trying to squeeze a lot in to these 5 days, and I wish we had more time, but you do whatcha gotta do.

We’ve heard about the “cheeky keas” which are a kind of bird. Well, the kea is s bird. The cheeky bit is a nickname. When we find some we learn why. They’re fearless and hopping all over our car, chewing at the rubber seal of the windows and screaming at us. One tries to square up with Chesney and then attack me, which I fortunately/unfortunately caught on camera. I think “cheeky” is an understatement, these birds are aggressive!! I assume it’s because people have been feeding them.

I survive the attack and we find the trail to Temple Basin to begin our 3 hour hike. As usual we have been incredibly lucky and there is not one other soul on this mountain. The hike is rocky and pretty steep in some sections but entirely worth it for the incredible view!

There’s another short walk to a place called the Devil’s Punchbowl. I don’t know what the devil has to do with this but let’s go. I’m not keen on the amount of stairs I have to climb, especially after having just climbed a mountain, but again, the view is worth it. Somehow whoever named this waterfall said to themselves, this is nice, it kinda reminds me of Satan. I bet he would drink a nice fruity party punch from here. And so it shall forever be named.

Totally resembles a punch bowl

After a quick pie for breakfast in “town”, ie. 2 cafes and a gift shop on either side of the highway, we begin yet another long stretch of driving to our final destination – Christchurch. Even though we missed out on a nice mountain drive yesterday, we get to enjoy the beautiful scenery of The Great Divide today.

The drive is honestly pretty painless (maybe because I’m not driving) and the next thing I know, we’re in Christchurch. After checking into our hostel, which has a nicer room than our previous accommodation and is $20 cheaper, we head out on a little culinary/craft beer tour of the city. We walk to various bars that have been recommended to us by friends who’ve either been to or are from Christchurch, and try as many different beers as we can. Christchurch is another major player on the craft scene and has some absolutely awesome bars. One of them is set up in an old bus and has a resident dog which is the size of a wolf. He’s just wandering around and hanging with the guests. Theres also a ton of street art around the city which I’m a big fan of. It’s such an easy way to liven up a place and give it some personality. Where is there next to none in Auckland??? That drives me nuts. I love Auckland but damn there’s no personality to it whatsoever.

I see why so many people come here for the University of Canterbury – it’s such a rad student city.

Christchurch is also interesting architecturally – it’s still recovering after the earthquake in 2008. Major buildings including their largest cathedral have been reduced to rubble and some seem to have been demolished entirely, leaving a lot of bare open spaces. Many derelict buildings are unsafe to use and have yet to be repaired, so they stand crumbling and vandalized all over the city.

The major cathedral still in need of repair

After a few pints and snacks at various bars we settle into an empty one around the corner from our hostel and play Trivial Pursuit. We’re in bed by 10 because we’re exhausted and old now.

One thought on “New Zealand: Arthur’s Pass and Christchurch

  1. Loved the Cheeky Birds! Would have been my highlight I’m sure:). Let’s do an interview with the two of you sometime on a blog… a little personal view of our travellers?

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