“I always like going South; somehow, it feels like going downhill.”

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Ferry to the South Island
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View of Wellington Harbour from the ferry

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.

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View of Wellington Harbour from the ferry

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.

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The view in Picton, New Zealand, as we arrived on the ferry

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.

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Seals!
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Seals!
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Seals!

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.

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Lovely little stream in Kaikoura
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Beach in Kaikoura
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Beach in Kaikoura
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Detail of the Beach in Kaikoura

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.

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Tequila Mockingbird in Christchurch
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Another of the few shots I took of Christchurch
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My view of Christchurch

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

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The road on the South Island – near the seal colony
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The road on the South Island – near the seal colony
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Rolling hills north of Christchurch
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Rolling hills north of Christchurch
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Rolling hills north of Christchurch
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View north of Christchurch
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The sea from the South Island

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