Up and away early the next day to get to Kaikoura, we’d read about a whale watching trip and decided we’d go for it. We left in bright sunshine but it didn’t take long before the rain set in and once it had, it was there for the day, grey miserable skies, mist hanging low completely hiding vast mountains !!!
We stopped in Geraldine to look at the worlds biggest jumper, seriously it’s in the Guinness book of records, just a bit if a laugh and something to do.
Now we took our photos of the jumper and were about to leave when we noticed the sign that led you to the back room and one of the most astonishing things I’ve seen in ages.
In the back room is the result of 30 years of dedication, research, skill and sheer bloody mindedness !! The owner, forgive me but I can’t recall his name, has produced a copy of the Bayeux Tapestry or at least it’s contents. His version is made up of 3,000,000 pieces of metal (there actually teeth of a knitting machine wheel ). He snaps them of, lays them in a tray until they fill it, them he places strips of tape over them to produce a 4ft long piece of “metal cloth”. Next step is to coat it in black shoe polish to get rid of the white tape, then polish it, then paint the scene, seal it and frame it.
Not only did he reproduce the Tapestry but he researched the “missing bits” and did those as well. The finished piece has 35 panels and is about 150 foot long. It truly is a remarkable piece and has been recognised by the Bayeux people.
Well after that we needed a coffee, and a slice of cake, don’t really need an excuse…..just like coffee and cake !!
We did stop a few more times on our journey north, once to photograph a gorge, again to photograph a statue dedicated to James McKenzie and his faithful dog Friday (a bit of a rouge to be honest) and finally to stop and eat lunch. The rain just managed to hold of long enough to make a few sandwiches which we then ate on a huge river bank under a very tall bridge, quite a spot !!
The route, once you hit the coast just above Christchurch would have been stunning but what with the rain and all you couldn’t see anything. When we got to the holiday park we got a cabin as we were told there was a storm coming and it was already raining and very windy.
We stashed our kit and popped in to the whale watch place to check what time we needed to be there in the morning and to see what we’d need to bring. That done it was time for food and beer, nice little tavern with some character, sometimes so sadly lacking in New Zealand pubs !
Anyway here are a few photos from our day…
A wet day weather wise but an interesting one !!
In the morning the weather now seemed so much better, no wind and blue skies, we were looking forward to our whale watch 😉
On our way to Kaikoura the weather was so bad that I had no idea just how close the southern alps are here, we couldn’t actually see them when we arrived so it was quite a shock to see them now !!
We didn’t have time for breakfast so headed straight to the whale watch, disappointment looks to be the order of the day though. There’s another storm brewing out at sea and the captains cancelled the trip. We were warned this could happen so we collected our money and headed back to camp for breakfast.
We packed up and decided to take a steady drive to Christchurch where we would be flying out of in a few days. We were lucky enough to have a house to use, it belongs to our good friend Anne Cook, lovely place, full of charm 😉
Any way we didn’t find much to interest us on the way home but we did stop a few times to photograph the rugged coast line just south of Kaikoura.
As we hadn’t stopped we were back in Christchurch early but decided to return the car anyway then we could get on with cleaning and packing our bikes and tents !! Jobs all complete we made dinner then headed out for a couple of beers before bed.
So, more photos then….
Amazing to think we couldn’t see any of this on our way up, it was such miserable weather !!
The following morning we walked into town and did as most tourists do in Christchurch, we took pictures of scenes of devastation. It’s been quite a while since the earthquake flattened and destroyed so much of this city. They are slowly rebuilding it stronger and better than before and if it’s anything like the plans it’ll be stunning. In the meantime the city has built shopping malls from sea containers, shops, cafés and bars now flourish as they wait for more permanent structures for there businesses. Sadly the cathedral was badly damaged and has lost an entire end wall, the roof now hangs like a lopsided grin. I’m no engineer so I couldn’t say whether it can be saved but I’d bet on New Zealand ingenuity !!
We mooched about, had our usual coffees and cakes, browsed in the shops but sadly we can’t buy anymore as the panniers are already overflowing !!
Back at Anne’s we sat and chilled out waiting for her arrival, she’d been on a cycle ride with a small group of people raising money. Her new man John joined her and about a dozen others to cycle from Greymouth back to Christchurch via Arthur’s Pass. Three tough days but they both looked great when they arrived. We’d booked a little place for dinner and John Faulkner and his lovely wife Robyn and Phil Kissel would be joining us. Sadly Daniel Wood missed this reunion as his company sent him to Sydney at short notice. Another great evening with good company, great conversation and to finish we went to a fantastic place called Strawberry Fare for the best desserts in town !!
What a great end to our New Zealand adventure, surrounded by fantastic, like minded lovely people 😉
All that’s left is to show you some photos…….