We touched down at Christchurch international airport as schedule at about 6.30pm yesterday after a whole day of flying. As instructed, we keyed in no "25" at the phone just before the exit of the airport. We were told to wait for the van to send us to depot to collect our car. With no hassle at all, we collected the car which we were quite happy with.
We then drove directly to Airways motel and had our dinner which was prepared by Tess. At night, we drove downtown to the city center. To our disappointment, the city was still very much in a state of "after-quake" with reconstruction work in progress everywhere. The area was deserted and the weather was very cold.
|The six of us in the deserted street in front of the damaged church!|
In the morning, after our breakfast in the comfortable motel, our journey started with everyone feeling really excited.
|Airways Motel, 2 bedrooms + 1 single bed + 1 sofa bed in the living room. Very comfortable.|
As agreed, Tess and Lai lead the way with their GPS which was already uploaded with the route. Pa only needed to follow behind. So we just sat back and relax.
Once we were out of the city, we were immediately greeted with vast greenery with clear blue sky and pure white cloud, and of course SHEEPS!
|Yeah, this is New Zealand!|
Shortly, the Red Ford Focus signaled to stop and of course we followed suit. There was a lake with mountains as backdrop. It was beautiful!
|So peaceful and calm and NEAT.|
|Just a random spot by the road and it's beautiful!|
The journey continued, about 1 1/2 hour later, we reached out first itinerary, the Castle Hill. Along the State Highway 37, Castle Hill is a hill of about 700m high scattered with dark grey rocks of all sizes. We had a good time there.
|Tess and I at the top of the hill. Look how small the lane we walked down there!|
After that, about 1/2 hour journey, we arrived at Arthur's Pass where we stopped for photo and had our first glimpse of snow-capped mountain of NZ.
We then had our lunch of pizza in a small restaurant.
After lunch, we continued our journey to our last itinerary of the day, The Pancake Rock. On the way, we passed by Greymouth which is on the west coast. We had already crossed from West coast to the East coast by now, facing the Tasman sea.
|The Tasman sea.|
We drove another 35 mins to the North and we were at Punaikaki for the Pancake Rock. The pancake-like rock formation is the result of limestone being compressed because of erosion.
Unfortunately we missed the high tide and hence missed the spectacular sight of the sea water gushed through the hole.
|It's supposed to look like this when the tide is high!|
|Sadly, this is what we saw.|
|Neat layers of rocks overlapping !|
|Beautiful Tasman Sea.|
After that, we drove to Greymouth, stopped for groceries. Then we proceeded to Hokitika and checked into the 252 Beach Motel where our 2 chefs prepared dinner and Mi and I had our showers.
|Dinner of Roast Chicken and pastas and veges, nice!|
|Beautiful Tasman Sunset!|
So this is our first day in NZ. Looking forward to our 2nd day, Fox Glacier, here we come!