Today is my last day in New Zealand. I've had an amazing visit with Abby and Matt over the last couple of days in Christchurch. From the moment I got in the car, Abby and I picked right up where we left off 2 years ago in Ireland; not giving poor Matt a breath to get in the conversation.
On my way to Christchurch from Lake Tekapo, we were given the option to go Whitewater Rafting for the day on the Rangitato River. WAY too much fun. After meeting our crew who had various hair styles of mullets and dreadlocks with incredibly attractive cookie dusters, we were shown the wonderful array of coloured layers we were to try and squeeze into...under our wetsuits. It was great fun as we all looked completely ridiculous topping it off with wildly coloured helmets. When we finally made our way to the river, we were told we would face Class 2 and 3 rapids then class 5. What happened to class 4 you may wonder? I was wondering the same thing. We did great through the first few rapids, and then when we came to "Tsunami" the class 5, we were given the chance to get on shore for a minute and have a look at the fierce beast before we faced it. We were told to paddle as fast and as hard towards the rapid and then everyone was to jump down into the bottom of the boat. This worked for all but the poor girl on the back who was quickly ricocheted into the water as we went through the second stage of rapids. (No, this wasn't me.) She was fine, everyone cheered as we hauled her into the boat and the best part is we got it all on film. Stay tuned for pictures.
Since I've been in Chch, Abby has cooked me the most amazing meals, I was beginning to think I was on death row and each night was my last supper. I think this may also be due to the fact that all I've eaten is pasta, rice and bread since I was staying with Matt's parents house.
On Sunday, Abby and I took out their electric bikes which are the neatest things, and checked out Christchurch stopping off for a beer along the river of course. Monday I met up with my crazy Swedish friend, Amanda, went to the art gallery, and wandered around a bit more before the rain came in. Today, I made my way out to the Gondola, took it to the top of a mountain and mountain biked down. The loop was a total of 20 km which I didn't think was too bad considering the first 6 km were down hill. Now, the thing about New Zealand is when a guide, or info-man tells you something in passing, this piece of advice should be acknowledged and held onto for dear life. The bike rental man happened to mention how steep the road got at points, the fact that the brakes were a little tricky, and oh yes, the road curves around the mountainside...with traffic at times. Hm. This was a moment where I could have REALLY used Reid or Quinnie's guidance.
So, I quickly pulled together some courage, tried to think of a way to attach my camera to my helmet thinking it would make an awesome video to show Quinnie how fast I could go on the decline, quickly dismissing this when I couldn't see and there are no guard rails, and began to pedal my heart out up the first incline. Once I made it down the mountain and was riding along the beachfront I began to think I was going at a good click keeping up with the traffic when a guy with thighs the width of my shoulders blew by me. I may not have a future in cycling, but it was good fun while it lasted.
It has been an amazing experience to travel through New Zealand and I feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity. Everyone has been incredibly friendly and kind, and the scenery has brought me to tears more than I'd like to admit. This is definitely one country that is beautiful throughout.