02.03.2014 - 03.03.2014
We got the ferry to Picton, after a choppy start we watched dolphins playing as the beautiful south island rolled in. We jumped onto a bus Dan had prebooked when I was ill in Australia. He told me it would be 3 hrs long to Christchurch. 2 1/2hrs in we stopped for a 45 minute toilet break and I began to question the journey and how we'd make it to the rental office in time. A quick check of the emails revealed that it was actually a 5 hr bus and he'd booked our camper for the following day. So we arrived in Christchurch at 7pm with no where to stay. With a weekend flower show on the I-site was able to offer us either a twin room in a b&b for $140 or two out of town dorm beds for $60 in a 'not recommended' hostel. Having braved some beds in Asia we of course went for the cheaper hostel option... it was a room in a sticky pub with live music till 1am (very loud). The bed sheets were stamped with 'HOSPITAL', the dorm room door locked from the inside and there was no keys. Walking through the stale beer smelling dance floor to get to the room meant a drunk man in a xxxxl hi-vis jacket dance-following me across the room. Wanting to escape we walked to McDonald's for food where we sat opposite Honey Boo Boo and her mum sat in front of two large big mac meals with an extra cheeseburger and sundae each. When Honey Boo Boo couldn't fit anymore in her mum slipped the burger scraps in her handbag. It was a strange evening.
You'll be surprised to hear I wasn't angry with Dan and found it all quite funny. We'd planned everything in a rushed afternoon a while back. The hostel dorm room and bathroom was clean so what more does a girl on the road need!
Our luck didn't improve when we went to pick up the rental, forgetting to get any money out in the way, and having to wait 2 1/2hrs for it to be returned and cleaned. That's after we turned up 2 hrs late preemptive of this happening. A few complaints later we got a days discount from JUCY but were a day down on our next adventure.
First nights holiday park location
The next day we drove down to quaint Victorian / Steampunk Omarau and treated ourselves to long johns, wolly hats, gloves and had hot drinks in a cafe as we poured over the guide book to plan the next few days.
In the evening we braved the wind and cold to visit the Albatross Centre at 8:15pm near Dunedin to watch the blue penguins swim in. It was so windy that I had to hold onto the rail or be blown away. We patiently waited as a few swam in and waddled up the rocks to the jetty underneath our feet. A good 45 minutes later we were both ready to retreat to the camper when all of a sudden 30 little blue penguins swam ashore at once. They were falling over each other, jumping up the rocks and shaking their butts dry. Yes it was adorable. As it was dark and we were under orange lights to hide ourselves we have no pictures but a few video selfies of us freezing. There will be a long 'holiday' video, it will feature mainly monkeys from Asia and penguins from NZ and we will make friends and family watch it. Get your popcorn ready.
That night we freedom camped at Macandrew bay and settled into the back of the car for one very windy nights sleep. Our alarm clock was a security man knocking on the window to let us know it was time to move on. The weather was horrific so we headed to the library to frantically check the weather forecast for the next two weeks- we should be okay for our walks and outdoor stove cooking phew!