From Wellington, it was time to journey to the South Island of New Zealand. Both islands are beautiful but very different in landscape. The South Island is more rugged and wild. We boarded a ferry in Wellington to the town of Picton on the north border of the South Island.
The ferry journey took about 3 hours, so we had time to get food and wander around the boat. It was a foggy day, so we didn’t see much as we pulled into Picton. Then we hopped on a new bus and started driving south toward Christchurch.
The landscapes on this drive were amazing, like everywhere else in New Zealand so far. We got great views of the landscape north of Christchurch on our drive. We also stopped along the road to see a seal colony chilling on the rocks below. It was fun to watch them frolic, especially the seal pups.
We stopped for a break in the town of Kaikoura, which is bordered on one side by the ocean and on the other by a ridge of mountains. It’s a beautiful little spot.
By the time we pulled into Christchurch, the rain was really pouring down, so we just had dinner at a local place with a clever name: Tequila Mockingbird. The Mexican fusion food was delicious.
Christchurch was hit by a series of major earthquakes in 2010-12, and there was construction everywhere. You can tell the rebuilding effort will take some time, but it seems the local people have a positive attitude about the rebuilding, dubbing themselves the City that Rocks. They have also instituted some urban regeneration initiatives like Gap Filler, Life in Vacant Spaces and Greening the Rubble.
Title quote: J.R.R. Tolkien as Treebeard in The Two Towers