Friday, December 30, 2011


Leaving Fairlie we took the alternative route towards the east, which wound down through several valleys onto the Canterbury plain where we turned north onto Highway 1. At Ashburton we stopped at Annie’s Country Quilt Shop (friendly, good range of material, good prices, according to Laetitia). Once we were out of the hills, the roads became long, straight and flat - and thus a constant challenge to stay awake!

When we reached Christchurch we returned to the Welcome Vegetarian Chinese Café for lunch. We chose different meals and enjoyed them just as much as our first dinner in New Zealand.

We then continued driving north through increasing drizzle and reached Amberley around 4pm and checked in to Delhaven Motels & Caravan Park. We were in a “standard motel unit”, which was large, well lit by the many windows and had a full kitchen. No wifi on site (but the library down the road provides free wifi). However the shower (as we discovered later) suffered somewhat from a lack of water pressure; it was a very thin stream of variable temperature, and we’re glad we didn’t have to be use it in cold weather. Not recommended, especially if you’re going to be there in winter!

Given the dreary rain Laetitia decided to stay in while Ian went to check out the library’s free wifi and Amberley Beach. The beach was almost deserted, only one person walking their dog - hardly surprising in that weather - cold and grey, a mix of stones and dark sand.

After our filling lunch we just snacked in our room for dinner.

The next morning we decided to take the inland route to Kaikoura, along two legs of the “Alpine Scenic Triangle”. We had originally intended to check out Lewis Pass but all we would have seen would have been the inside of a cloud. However the second half of the drive, northeast from Waiau down to Kaikoura was indeed very scenic, a beautiful road winding around and along the sides of wide, steep-sided valleys, down into several gorges and across old one-lane bridges before climbing up again, surrounded by green hills and flowering trees and sheep and cattle farms. Highly recommended!

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