Day 4...,.We took a beautiful train ride from Christchurch west towards the middle of the island to Arthur's Pass. Gorgeous scenery along the way with views of the winding and "braided" river and huge mountains.
We did 2 hikes at Arthur's Pass. One to Devil's Punchbowl Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. Both were forested trails, or "tracks" as they call them in NZ. And then rode the train back.
After a full day, we walked around Christchurch that evening. The main city center is still struggling to rebuild after their earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. Their historic Christchurch Cathedral was badly damaged and slowly being repaired. Many large buildings are covered in scaffolding or just sitting empty with boarded up street level windows and entry ways.
Day 5... We continued our trip north towards the coastal town of Kaikoura. A mix of rural farmland, hilly and lush countryside, small coastal towns, and sections of the rocky eastern coastline.,, and very curvy and winding roads!
We took a coastal walk in Kaikoura, starting high on the ridge, then making our way down a steep (and a bit scary) embankment to walk back along the shore.. There were seals laying out on the rocks. That evening...We came in third place in a trivia contest at a local pub and got some good sightseeing suggestions from a woman who was from that area.
Our 2nd day in Queenstown started with breakfast at a local cafe, and " the couch" was the only seating available when we arrived. This turned out to be a comfy couch next to a fireplace.
Next up, was our shuttled mountain bike ride. Diane and I rented bikes and Chip brought his bike with him, in his awesome bike box. There were 5 of us on this ride and our driver took us to the top of the "Rude rock" trail.
The mountain bike trails were amazing! A smooth and flowy trail to start, then a longer trail with some fun features and 2 creek crossings. The final trail was "fast and rowdy with rock drops" according to Chip. We had a "bonus" adventure during the shuttle back to the bike shop... Being driven back on very narrow and winding dirt roads...on the side of a cliff.
Sadly, one of our 5 riders fell at the beginning of the very first trail and gingerly walked his way down the trail and had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance.
After a very fun afternoon of mountain biking, we met up with one of Chip's teammates for dinner, who lives in Queenstown.
Day 3... We are headed north today towards the city of Christchurch... And along the way, we stopped to watch some bungy jumpers!
The next amazing site was Lake Pukaki... And what do you do when you see a lake like this? You jump in!!
After several hours of driving on curvy and winding roads, seeing huge herds of sheep everywhere, and lots of rural landscape...we arrived in Christchurch this evening.
We arrived! My friends, Chip and Diane and I arrived safely, after 16 hours of flight time, 24 hours total travel time, and many less-than-desirable airport meals. However, this place is already amazing... And we just got here! Chip has a 7 day adventure race with his team of 4, and the three of us are exploring the south island until race day. And I get to re-connect with a friend and former roommate from my Florida days who actually lives here now.
The next order of business was to get "our heads around" the fact that they drive on the left side of the road here and the driver side of the car is on the right.
We got to eat lunch at a beautiful lakeside restaurant, ride the gondola up for the views, and take a Luge ride!
Tomorrow we rent mountain bikes! Can't wait!
I did it! My first half marathon!! I chose this half marathon in Maple Ridge, BC because the timing worked well with my upcoming trip to New Zealand. This course was half road and half trail. To start the weekend out - we ate at a local Italian restaurant where I had my pre-race pasta meal Saturday evening with Kelsey and Ian -and they gave each of us ladies a carnation after dinner. How sweet is that?
For the start of the race... the weather was temperate with only light sprinkles throughout, as I started on the road section to the Golden Ears bridge. This was the first out and back section and it was definitely a lot steeper on foot than the previous night when we drove over it!
After the bridge section, came my favorite section, the trees! This was a sweet section of trail with trees all around.
Then came the very long, and never ending gravel section - this led to the final turnaround - which seemed to take forever! The last 3-4 miles of this race were the longest!
And then..the sweetest sight of all - the FINISH!!! 13.1 miles! Woot Woot!