We spent our first night in Hanmer Springs. It's a beautiful small town two hours north of Christchurch and known for Thermal Pools. I booked a night in a lovely hostel, Jack in the Green. I can honestly recommend that backpackers to anyone, it's so beautiful and peaceful. Very good facilities and friendly staff. We both were tired so we had a really good sleep there. In the morning we visited the Thermal Pools before starting the drive back to Blenheim.
Next day we went for a wine tour, as I promised for my aunt. We visited Makana Chocolate Factory, Saint Clair, Brancott Estate (they remember me there already), Hunter's and Dryland's. At the end of the day we took a beer tasting at Moa Brewery. We also visited my workmates Tomas, Seongyoung, Elisa, Yuka and Jack at the PH hostel.
We reserved the next day for sun. Ella wanted to get a tan and I can tell, we sure got some color! My legs got so sunburnt! It was really too painful to sit and of course we decided to travel to Queenstown the next day! So on Thursday I drove ten hours to Queenstown with my burnt legs... I can tell I was swearing so much every time I got out from the car or moved my legs. We picked up some hitchhikers from Kaikoura and took them to Lake Tekapo. After dropping them off we found more guys who were hitchhiking from Lake Tekapo to Queenstown. We arrived in Queenstown at 8pm and checked in to Base Backpackers. We had a really nice room with one Finnish guy (first Finnish backpacker I've met in NZ! Pretty good after 4.5 months travelling...) and three girls from California. We went to bed quite early, after a few beers downstairs.
Friday was exciting! We were supposed to take the gondola up to the hill and just do some souvenir shopping but somehow we got an idea to do a bungy jump! I didn't have enough money to do it so we booked a jump for Ella and the swing for both of us for the same day. I got so nervous! But it was great! Even though I didn't jump, the atmosphere was so awesome! After Ella's jump we did the swing. I would love to describe that all here but it's just impossible by words. Check out a video of the swing. It was incredible.
|Ella ready for her bungy!|
After great bungy jumping day we had a great night out in Queenstown. On the last day Ella did some souvenir shopping. We picked up the hitchhikers from two days before and started to drive towards Dunedin. We got to Cromwell when Molly (my car) broke down. After a few hours sorting stuff out we got a room in a hostel and bus tickets for the next day. Molly stayed in Cromwell.
When your car breaks down in Finland, you are screwed. Everything costs so much, not many people stop and help you. You are worrying and stressing about everything. What is going to happen to my car? How much is Laakkonen gonna charge you this time? How about towing? How do you get to work from the middle of nowhere?
When it happens in New Zealand, don't worry. It's all sorted. Of course if you have some money and time. Everyone stopped and helped us. Even a girl with a broken leg helped us to push the car on to the verge. Everyone was so nice. One guy gave us a ride to the closest petrol station where we called help from. Steven, the mechanic who came to help us was the nicest guy in the world. He was so calm and explained everything and even me, who doesn't know anything about cars understood what was happening. Thank you CR Motors in Cromwell, you made my Molly's break-down a pleasant experience.
Our last stop was Dunedin before my aunt flew back to Finland. I visited Dunedin a month before with May and I really liked the city. We spent the last day having dinner with my friend Brandon and his friends. Next day it was time to say our goodbyes; I stayed in Dunedin and Ella went to Christchurch by bus. After Ella left, I was a bit sad of course. But it was hard to stay sad because I have such good memories in my mind of the last ten days. And the beautiful city of Dunedin was smiling to me, so I smiled back and I've kept smiling ever since.
Thank you Ella for an amazing visit here! I had such a good time with you and it was so lovely to see someone from home after a long, long time!
"If you're tired of starting over,
stop giving up."