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.