New Zealand: Christchurch, Gondola and Lyttleton!

One consequence of living the campervan experience is that access to the Internet is slightly tricky to come by. At the minute we’re limited to using the free Wi-Fi in certain supermarkets and libraries so the rate at which we post for the next nine weeks will probably be quite inconsistent. We will try our best to get a post or two up per week though and we’re optimistic that will be possible!


We both keep experiencing little thrills of excitement that we’re actually here now on the other side of the world! Little things like listening to the Christchurch news on telly are far more exciting than they should be just because well… it’s Christchurch!


So anyway, onwards and upwards…


After we checked out of the hostel we picked up our campervan (photos and video tour to come!) and whilst on route to the campervan depot we were unexpectedly regaled by our taxi driver of a tale involving his arrest for growing weed! So an excellent introduction to the New Zealand people there 😉 we then did various essential chores like grabbing a sat-nav, stocking up the van with food and buying ourselves some New Zealand sim cards so we can actually use our phones.


Saturday evening we visited some of Jess’ relatives who live in Christchurch and had a lovely time with them. They were nice enough to let us use their shower so we’ve practically been living the life of luxury so far (there is however very little in this world that will test a person as much as attempting to operate an unfamiliar shower). We have no doubt though that our luxurious circumstances will change once we start using cheap campsites after we leave Christchurch.


Our first night in the camper was spent parked up on our hosts’ driveway and was actually pretty successful. We were slightly worried that we would wake up in a campervan-sized fridge freezer given the sub-zero temperatures outside at night but we actually managed to stay surprisingly warm.


We were given the counter intuitive tip to keep the windows slightly open at night as the best way to keep warm. The logic is that if there is no air flow then the two warm bodies inside the van will cause a lot of condensation which then freezes and literally turns the inside of the van into a freezer! We’ve taken this advice and thankfully have so far avoided freezing to death at night.


Moving into Sunday we decided the weather was perfect to take a ride on the gondolas that run up to the top of Mount Cavendish just outside Christchurch centre. The ride up the mountain was quite fun in itself but the real pleasure was the view from the top; it was far too beautiful to be described in words so we’ll see if some photos can do a better job.










The word ‘breathtaking’ took on new meaning for both of us as we looked out over Christchurch and the Canterbury plains towards the snow capped mountain ranges to the west. The sun, the sea to the east and the mist over the plains came together to make an absolutely stunning view that we could quite happily have gazed at for days on end.


Later the same day we drove out to a small town called Lyttleton just outside of Christchurch centre because we’d heard it was a quirky little town with some cool stuff to do. Unfortunately we didn’t time our trip overly well and ended up arriving as it started to get dark and extremely cold so all we did was go and have a quick drink at a unique bar called Wunderbar.






So many damaged buildings from the earthquake fenced off.


The site of a pre-school before the earthquake.


Stone henge graffiti.


The bar was decorated with a strange combination of obscure paintings, doll heads and various other strange and interesting objects. We managed to take a few pictures that we think captured its vibe quite well. We finished off Sunday with a nice dinner at Jess’ relatives house again and an early night as we were still suffering slightly from our 2 days without sleep on the way here!







The lamp shade was made out of old film!



That’s it for our first couple of days in New Zealand, we’ll update you as and when we can.


Ben and Jess 🙂

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