Plan A was to leave Hamner Springs at 9am and arrive in Christchurch at around 11:30am or noon at the latest. However, my car had other plans. Dead battery. Hmm. How did that happen? While reflecting on what I was going to do, I glanced in the rear view mirror and saw a light illuminated above my head. Ahh ha! Interior light and the door wasn’t open – meaning that was the cause of the dead battery.
Anywho, after completing my investigation of the cause, I started looking for someone who had jumper cables. The first person I asked spoke some sort of Germanic language and we were doing a comedy satire of the Prison warden from Cool Hand Luke, as in “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” I asked a couple of more people at the motel, but they were renting cars like I was and they didn’t have jumper cables either. I finally went back to the reception desk and asked them if they had cables and they did, but they were being used. Nevertheless, this demonstrates how helpful New Zealanders are . . . The hotel proprietor made it his numero uno mission to get me jumper cables. Fast forward 15 minutes later, a buddy of his in the Township of Hamner Springs drove to the motel and helped me start my car. A complete stranger. Wow! I asked him how much money I owed him and I think he was a bit offended. Double Wow! I was floored. I thanked him and the motel proprietor profusely and continued my journey to Christchurch.
The drive to Christchurch was quite relaxful, with rolling hills and relatively straight roads. I enjoyed the scenic, twisting coast and mountain drives I had become accumstomed to the last 4-5 days, but you really have to be focused on driving and not get too distracted by the beautiful views. I appreciated the rest I was getting from not having to make too many driving decisions every few seconds. As a result, even though I arrived in Christchurch relatively late in the day, I was well rested.
I decided that it would be a good idea to do a bit of “recon” in regard to the location of the airport and car rental agency. Finding the airport was easy . . . The car rental agency less so. It took me about 45 minutes, but I finally found it, hidden away in a seedy warehouse section of the airport.
Next stop was finding a motel near by, which was relatively easy compared to finding the rental car agency. I visited two motels that were a bit too expensive for my tastes, but hit paydirt on the 3rd place. Angie and Mac, the proprietors, were willing to negotiate, probably because it was a Tuesday and not too many cars were in their parking lot. Coupled with the fact that I was going to stay for two days, we negotiated the price down to $110 NZ per night. Quite a deal when you consider I had a two bedroom suite, with kitchen and living room. Internet was free (they get the concept. Ha.) and more important the router connection was excellent. Sold.
I decided I needed to walk and after unloading my gear, I did just that. The Ilam Motel is located on Riccarton road, a major throughfare in Christchurch. It actually leads into the city, so I decided I would walk as far as I could go and see where it led me. I ended up walking about 3 miles and then decided to turn back due to the intermittent rain and wind. I was getting a bit cold and shorts, t-shirt, and Keens weren’t exactly the smartest choice to go venturing about in this type of weather. I had gotten about as far as Hagley Park and I decided to return tomorrow. The Botanical Gardens and Canterbury Museum were located near here and I thought that was a perfect end to my New Zealand journey.
These are the photos I took today (below). I will definitely miss New Zealand. I have thoroughly enjoyed my 3 weeks here. With out a doubt, this is one of the most stunning countries I have ever seen. Equally important, I will never forget the wonderful people who live in this beautiful country.
Tomorrow, I leave for Australia, the next chapter of my round the world trip . . .