New Zealand Day 5: Picton to Christchurch

March 29, 2015

Day 5 started early.  We set off from Picton rather quick as it’s a small town and we have much to see.

We jumped onto Highway 1 and headed south.

338km to Christchurch

338km to Christchurch

First stop was Blenheim where we had a very early lunch at Burger King.

Bellys full we hit the road again.  I’ve learned the hard way that just cause it says 338km doesn’t mean its 3.5 hours drive.

About 45 minutes past Blenheim we saw some salt lakes in the distance.  We decided to detour off the highway to 5 minutes to take a closer look.  We found a salt plant down the end of an unsealed road that was quite interesting.

Back on the highway and heading south we soon realised there wasn’t much to see but mountainous areas and farm land.

A couple of hours in we turned a curve at the top of a hill and saw the most amazing view of the Pacific ocean.  The highway followed the ocean quite close from here on in nearly the whole way to Christchurch and the views were often amazing.

At one stage we stopped on the side of the highway to see why so many cars had pulled over.  We found a pebbly beach covered with seals.

A couple of hours more and a lot more ocean view followed by some inland driving we arrived in Christchurch.

We’d booked a hotel close to the CBD and went straight there to check in.

Our room was upstairs and was quite retro and modern at the same time.

After check in we drove in to the Christchurch CBD so Crystal could have Chinese Hot Pot at a famous restaurant she’d heard about.

Much of the city is being rebuilt following the 2011 earthquake that caused extensive damage.  Streets are closed off still and some are re-routed around construction areas.

Dinner was at a shop inside Cathedral Junction which is an inside strip mall with a tram line running down the middle.

While we were there the Restaurant Tram arrived to pickup passengers.  There’s still a lot of construction around outside.

After dinner we found a supermarket to stock up on supplies and went back to the hotel to settle in for the night.

Tomorrow we will spend some time exploring Christchurch before driving south to Dunedin.

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