Arriving in Christchurch at 5am we decided to start the day straight away to help fight the jet lag. Once the sun came up we set off in what is to be our car for the next 2 weeks and drove through the wide, clean streets of Fendalton. We started an incline up through the hills and upon reaching the peak I was pleasantly surprised with a beautiful view of the sea.
The rest of the day was spent walking through beautiful botanical gardens & into the city where I first witnessed some of the damage caused by the major earthquake which hit Christchurch in 2011. Although parts of the city are being rebuilt, the Cathedral still stands surrounded by scaffolding & fallen bricks. Only a tiny insight into the damage that was caused.
📍Christchurch to Blenheim📍
After loading the car with all the necessities, we set off through the rolling hills, along the coast, spotting seals to our next destination, Blenheim. Blenheim is known as ‘the gateway to wineries’ and when all you can see for miles is vineyards it’s easy to understand why. Obviously it would be rude not to taste the famous wine and so a lunch stop at Brancott Estate with lovely food and tasty wine whilst looking out over the vineyards was a simple decision. A great way to see Blenheim is a morning walk up Wither Hills. From here you can see the little town nestled in between the vineyards.
📍Blenheim to Nelson 📍
As the drive to our next destination was a bit shorter, following our morning climb up Wither Hills we headed for the quaint port town of Picton, the entrance to the beautiful Marlborough Sounds, an area of sea-drowned valleys.
We carried on driving through the picturesque hills into Pelorus, where the sun was shining and we parked the car and headed down to Pelorus Bridge. A short walk down some rocks and I could see the clear river glistening. It looked so inviting in the heat that I jumped in from the rocks only to discover, after finding my breath, that it was the coldest water I have ever been in! After warming up, I found the courage for another jump and then it was time for a New Zealand treat; goody goody gum drops ice cream. Delicious ice cream with jelly sweets mixed in.
Today was in fact Waitangi Day, (a public holiday). The 6th February 1840 is when the Maori signed a treaty with the British and became part of the commonwealth. A lot of shops and restaurants where therefore closed and a lot of people were out enjoying the sunshine.
The rest of the drive into Nelson was through the hills and it was my turn to take the wheel. Some of the tight turns with steep cliff drops were quite scary, but all in all it was a very pleasant drive. Nelson is a much busier town, with homes in the hills with beautiful views of the beach. It was here we spent our last comfortable night before sleeping bags and camp cookers.
We were very fortunate that my boyfriend’s family and friends were happy to accommodate us for the first few days of our trip. Such lovely and welcoming people. We were truly spoilt with good food, comfortable beds and great company. We made the most of it all before our next adventure…