Ok, I know I was going to jump into the North Island of New Zealand but I found a few more pictures and stories that I forgot to include on the South Island.  I guess that’s what happens when you are writing about a trip that was ten years ago!  So let me back up here and return to where I left off in the Milford Sound.  To read the last post on exploring the Milford Sound click here.

We rose early to the morning sun coming over the serene Milford Sound.  It was yet another glorious day and not a soul was in sight.  Paul and I enjoyed our last hour of solitude while we sailed back to shore where we would be boarding the oddly shaped Real Journeys bus back to Christchurch.

Everyone was tired and quiet on our long ride back to Queenstown.  I for one looked awful, like I’d been punched in the eye.  Actually I had an unfortunate encounter with a sand fly (that nasty thing bit me hard!) the day before while I was kayaking in the Sound and my left eyelid had swollen up like a balloon!  That was a fun one to explain to a bunch of strangers!

We arrived in Queenstown by late afternoon and headed straightaway to the tourist office.   We had one more thing to accomplish in Queenstown:  Our very last adrenaline-pumping activity, Jet-boating.  Luckily there was one last ride of the day.  If we hustled, we would be able to catch the 5:30 pm jet-boat on the Shotover River just outside town.  I should have been scared when I met our driver, a twentysomething Kiwi with a dangerous grin on his boyish face.  But “no worries” as they love to say in New Zealand.

Paul and I put on our life jackets, boarded our testosterone-loaded jet boat and were in for the next thirty minutes, were in for the ride of our life.  Our roller coaster ride down the Shotover River was perhaps too adrenaline pumping for me.  We screamed down the river at breakneck speed, barely escaping the rocky edges of the canyon.  I thought for sure we were going to crash and could see the headlines now “Rookie jet boat driver looses control of his rig and crashes into rocky canyon, flattening all unknowing tourists aboard”.  But we didn’t crash and we survived.  I calmed down a little when our driver did a 360 turn and came to an abrupt stop, with a shit-eating grin on his face.  It was all too much.  There were no helmets or seat belts aboard.  I wondered how on earth this could possibly be safe or even legal?  Only in New Zealand.

We were completely wiped out after our day and had an early dinner before bed.  What I had noticed about New Zealand is that there is always way too much to do and see.  No matter how hard we tried, it wasn’t possible to do it all.  In an ideal world, having three weeks to cover everything would have been much better than ten days.  Lesson learned.

The next morning we were up and off early for our long drive back to Christchurch.  The twists and turns in the New Zealand roads continued to wreak havoc on my stomach as I continually experienced some serious motion sickness.    Yet driving is the best way to see the majestic New Zealand countryside and I wouldn’t trade it for a thing.

There are sheep everywhere in New Zealand.  They are fluffy and cute, especially the innocent little lambs, yet they can get in the way and block the road like in the picture above. 

We passed this sign and I thought it was funny.  It made us realize how far away from everywhere New Zealand truly is. 

We finally got back to Christchurch with a little time to spare.  Paul and I settled into a different B&B, not as wonderful as the Orari, but still quite nice.  It was a beautiful day in Christchurch for once (it had rained our entire stay before departing South) so we took advantage of the weather and ate outside at Annie’s Cafe in the park.  There we were greeted by the owner Jennifer Anderson which made me laugh as that is my sister’s name!

We slept soundly with the windows open and awoke to one final day of adventure before heading to the North Island.  For of course there were still things left undone.   The weather remained spectacular,  a far cry from the wet and rainy junk we had days earlier.   We took full advantage of our day and opted to take the gondola up for an overview of the city.  I was so happy because I was finally able to see the ocean!

We hiked down for a little exercise and marveled at the beauty of Christchurch, uncovered  by the fog and rain from our last visit.  Along the hike down, I took this photo of Paul.  I love the color of the ocean….it is surreal!

The sun didn’t set until ten o’clock giving us plenty of time to shop and explore the lovely, quaint town.  We headed over to Oxford Terrace, a lovely outdoor venue along the river, for dinner and people-watching.  Both Paul and I agreed that Christchurch would be the perfect place to live….ahhh but of course only in another life!

Stay tuned….more New Zealand adventures coming up.  Hope you enjoy! 

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