Our trip from Queenscliff to Christchurch was a relatively uneventful 6 hour drive through small towns and beautiful scenery. A stop at ‘Fairlie’ produced many quips:
It was a ‘Fairlie nice town’
It had a ‘Fairlie nice bakery with Fairlie nice meat pies’
and so on…
In actual fact, Dad announced that the pie was in his top 5 pies and that is really saying something!
Colin and Dad have travelled NZ sampling meat pies, vanilla slice (custard squares in NZ language) and chocolate icecreams. Dad has hunted high and low for Charcoal chicken and is seriously hoping to open his own business in the future, introducing NZ to the novelty.
We arrived at Christchurch feeling pretty weary but went out expoloring the city nonetheless.
The next day was met with an early start as we had pre-booked a much anticipated train journey from Christchurch to Greymouth. Dad being a train lover, was really looking forward to the trip and after getting up early and following the instructions of the hotel staff in the wrong direction, we arrived at the station. Our arrival was met with some disappointment as there had been a train derailment and we were told we could only go part way and would have to take a coach for the remainder.
The train journey lived up to expectation, with spectacular scenery and a great commentary on the way. I hung out in the open carriage for quite a while and got wind swept and bruised ribs from leaning on the bar trying to steady myself while taking photos. Dad, of course, was in his element and Col wore a path to the buffet cart. Dad discovered several railways for sale, as well as very cheap accommodation out in the middle of nowhere. If they had charcoal chicken he would definitely move there.
The coach section of the journey was fine… on the way THERE… but our return journey was most uncomfortable. We were travelling on an old school bus with poor suspension and no air con. Dad almost passed out from the heat and had to move from his seat. We were glad to get back on the train after that! The journey finished at 6.30pm. Col and I purchased burgers for dinner (good healthy stuff) and fell into bed after 2 very hectic days.
We had decided for our last day, that we would try to find the seaside in Christchurch. While asking directions at reception upon checkout, we were also informed that there was a tsunami warning for NZ. Colin was not to be put off and it was decided that we would still go. Both of the blokes were making jokes about it. As per usual, the directions were vague and incorrect but Tomtom did his usual good job of getting us there without getting flustered or frustrated with us. We arrived at ‘New Brighton’ beach to observe the surfers out on the waves, parents taking small children onto the sand to play and TV film crew waiting to film themselves being swept away by the big one. All this and the lifesaving crew warning people to get off the beach and blocking the pier so no-one could get on.
We observed the goings on from afar, keeping a close eye on the sea and planning how far we could run if we saw a big wave coming. We escaped within an inch of our lives, dry, unharmed and unruffled. Whew!
We drove from here straight to the airport (I am typing this on the plane) ready for our first class (not) journey with ‘Jet’. What a contrast from Emirites, who we travelled with on our journey to NZ. Still… it seems to be getting us there unscathed and that’s what counts. After surviving a Tsunami, we can cope with anything.
Travelling with Dad was such a joy. We have been thrilled to share the joy of such a beautiful country and great experiences with such a special person. I know it has been tiring for him at times and our little quirks have worn thin but it really was a pleaurable experience which we will never forget. We love you Dad!