Thursday, 25 November 2010

Last day in NZ

Sunday saw us riding a Ford Territory (lots of room to spread ourselves out and take our luggage!) from Blenheim to Picton via the scenic route.
The road is tarmac as far as Cloudy Bay, but climb the S bend hill heading north and the road soon changes to gravel and sand with huge drops into the sea on the right hand side. Enough to send vertigo sufferers lurching for the left hand side door handle screaming ‘Let me out!’
Wonderful vistas for the camera-mad among us, and the driver (Mr Black Junior) enjoyed himself so much we had to beg him to slow down.

At Picton we got on board the Tranzcoastal train and set off south for Christchurch. I‘m told you can drive the distance by car in 3 hours, but the train takes five. It hugs the coast most of the way and the black sandy grit we’d found at Cloudy Bay continued all the way south, but the scenery was wonderful, and so very different to what we’d experienced during our morning ride on the roller-coaster north east corner of the island.
We spotted lots of black fur seals lolling about on rocks, and scanned the blue ocean for signs of whales near Kaikoura. Herds of deer, cattle and sheep scattered as the train rolled by, and always the mountains marched along our right hand windows. The trip may have been a short three days, but it was a wonderful introduction to New Zealand. The trip of a lifetime.

We rose at 3am to get to the airport for a flight back to Sydney, and flew over the white, snow-capped mountains before heading out over the Tasman Sea. Once we landed, we used our Express cards to speed through the queues, oh and I forgot to report that we had a calm, cool and peaceful breakfast in the Jet Star lounge in Christchurch. First class is so-o-o much nicer…..

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