Two rainy days in Christchurch, New Zealand

We landed in Christchurch a little before noon and I found it peculiar to be setting my watch ahead twenty-one hours.  For me, flying long distance is one of the most surreal experiences ever.  To pass through so many time zones and to see the sun’s confusion of setting and rising is startling.  I always am amazed and bewildered when I finally step foot off the airplane that transported me miles away from home, across continents and oceans and into a new, unexplored place.

As I mentioned in my last post, I was feeling like a deflated balloon when we finally stepped foot into the Christchurch airport. The gray skies and pelts of rain were effecting my mood.  Thankfully our luggage had made it through three different flights and two airlines (that is always a bonus!).  Yet we had a little mishap with the car rental agency that took an hour to square away.  It was my first encounter with a native Kiwi, and I instantly realized that New Zealanders are perhaps the most laid-back, fun-loving people on earth.

We were finally on our way, heading in our rental car towards Christchurch while driving on the “other” side of the road and trying not to get killed by forgetting to turn into the “other” lane at the roundabouts.  This proved to be a daunting challenge that would remain with us for the full two weeks of the trip.   For some reason driving on the left side of the road seemed against reason.  It also always proved a challenge to remember to not hit the windshield wipers as opposed to the turn signal when we were desperately trying to pass.  Countless times, in the heat of the moment, my husband inadvertently hit the windshield wipers instead of the turn signal while we were frantically trying to pass some unexpected soul along the curving New Zealand roads.  This should have made us panic but instead we burst out into laughing attacks which only made it worse.

Christchurch is the provincial capital of Canterbury and the largest city on New Zealand’s South Island.  Often viewed as a gateway into the South Island’s magical wonders, Christchurch is a fabulous launching off point and definitely requires a few days to visit this lovely, charming town with outrageously delicious food.

United States

New Zealand rain and the deflated balloon

We landed on the emerald-green South Island of New Zealand into sheets of rain.  After three flights and twenty plus hours of flying, we had finally made to Christchurch, New Zealand.  Middle Earth as it is known in the fictitious, yet sensational Lord of the Rings.

The initial relief and excitement of finally arriving in New Zealand after months and months of planning and anticipation, was instantly flattened like a popped balloon as the all too familiar disappointment and letdown set in.  I honestly have no idea why I experience this kind of traveler’s schizophrenia.  But it always happens and always on the first day of arrival.  Perhaps it is the fact that I typically spend months planning a trip, dreaming about it and getting my emotions all worked up.  Then when I finally get to that place I’d been dreaming about forever (in this case, over a year of planning was involved), my emotions collapse.  Or else it could be the complete exhaustion and jet lag of traveling across 19 time zones.  Seeing the sun set, and set, and rise once more.

It didn’t help that the weather was dreadful.  Here we were in the midst of springtime in New Zealand and the weather was equally as bad if not worse than the gray, cold November days we were trying desperately to escape in Minnesota.  It was a meager forty degrees farenheit and the rain was unending, bitter and cold.  I felt my spirits dwindling down like the pouring rain.   But I knew only too well that I couldn’t let poor weather spoil my fun.  My husband and I had waited over a year for this trip and we intended to have an unforgettable time.

Adventure Travel New Zealand TRAVEL BY REGION

My trip to Middle Earth

Me, before being a thirdeyemom, on the South Island of New Zealand, with Mount Cook across the aquamarine lake.

I always find it hard starting a new series of posts.   I find myself delaying that first step and sitting at my computer with that dreaded writer’s block trying to conjure up the enthusiasm for beginning anew.

My China posts were so easy and a pleasure to write for several reasons.  First of all, the trip was recent and fresh in my mind.  Second of all, I took over 800 pictures and kept meticulous pages of notes.  And last of all, I traveled with a blogger’s mindset and in particular, my “third-eye” approach.   I used my “third eye” to expand my horizon and search out things I wouldn’t normally see.  Thus, my trip to China was by far one of the most enriching trips I’ve taken and wound up being a pleasure to write about.

I thought long and hard about whether or not I could write a series of posts on a place I visited over ten years ago.  New Zealand.  It was a road trip my husband and I took in November 2002.  I don’t have 800 pictures.  The photos all had to be scanned.  And, it was a long time ago.  Hmmm…..would it possible?

Yes, I decided.  Why not?

What I do have is one ten-year-old handwritten journal, a photo album filled of memories and a passion for sharing my travels around the world, especially with my most favorite places like New Zealand. So why not?  I am going to give it a whirl and tell you about my two weeks of heaven in Middle Earth, the land of The Lord of the Rings.  A place that captured my heart and soul and ranked one of the top trips of all time.

After reading this series of posts you will agree that New Zealand is one of the loveliest places on earth.  And I can’t wait to share it with you!

Stay tuned….

Adventure Travel New Zealand TRAVEL BY REGION

Taking off: Getting a Remarkable View of the Remarkables

I don’t normally want to “double post” but I couldn’t help sharing my latest postcard from thethirdeyeworld on my blog.  Hope you enjoy!  To see more postcards, please go to


Greetings from Queenstown, New Zealand….wish you were here!

Photo taken in November 2001 in Queenstown, New Zealand.

I made him go first.   I had to.  I was so nervous, scared out of my mind and anxious about actually going through with this ride that I thought I’d make my loving, wonderful husband of one year take the first jump off the mountain.  All I could think of was how the booking agent told us that the other day there had been “a wee bit of drama”.  An accident occurred in which a woman and her “driver” fell a couple hundred feet and didn’t take off.  Instead of landing safely on the bottom, they wound up in the hospital with lots of broken bones.  But amazingly enough, they were ok.

I watched him and the driver run, and gracefully take off the edge of the mountain soaring like a bird through the stunning blue sky.  It looked crazy.  I still had time to change my mind.

Twenty minutes later they arrived back on top of the hill.  My husband wore a big, satisfied smile across his gentle face.  “How was it” I asked, terrified.  “Oh, it was awe-some!” he replied easily.  “Was it scary”? I asked skeptically.  “Not at all.  In fact, it was quite relaxing.  You’ll love it!” he replied encouragingly.

Ok.  I’m doing it, I decided confidently.  I got hooked up to all the protective gear next to Steve, our Canadian hang-gliding driver and off we went.  “Run, Run, Run” Steve hollered.  Clumsily, we ran as fast as we could and magically the giant wings of the hang-glider began to take off and up, up, up we went.

I screamed bloody murder, at the top of my lungs!  What in God’s name was my husband talking about?!  This was anything but relaxing!!!! It was the must frightening, exhilarating feeling I’ve ever experienced in my entire life.  I screamed for at least the next ten minutes until I finally was able to relax and realize that I wasn’t go to die.  Instead, I giggled and laughed at the realization that I was flying like a bird, taking in all the remarkable beauty of Queenstown and the towering Remarkables in the background.  The hang-glider had a camera tied to the wing and the pictures of my ride were priceless.

As we safely landed, circling like an airplane, I breathed a big sigh of relief and threw my arms in the air in triumph.  Steve informed me that I was the most enjoyable, fun passenger he has ever had.  I’m sure my screams and giggles were rather hysterical.  I was hysterical.  I’m glad I did it, but I wouldn’t do it again!  The things we do when we are young and free. As they always say:  CARPE DIEM!  Seize the day.

Written by thirdeyemom.