I managed to hobble through Christchurch at a snails pace while recovering from Abel Tasman blisters. Although Christchurch is one of New Zealand’s larger cities, the pace suited the city and we managed to find lots of things to do within a few blocks radius from where we were staying.
Speaking of where we were staying, urged by many of our Couch Surfing friends in Vancouver, Miranda and I decided to give it a shot. What is couch surfing? I think Wikipedia describes it well:
“The CouchSurfing Project is the largest hospitality exchange network, with approximately 1.4 million members in 231 countries and territories…read more.”
We connected with Dada, currently studying circus and performing arts, on Couchsurfing and had a great time. Luckily he had a whole bedroom available to share, so we didn’t even need to stay on a couch! He and his school mates rent two next door houses, and people seem to flow freely between them. Everyone was very friendly and interested to hear about where we were from and where we are going. Couchsurfing is huge in Europe and getting very popular in North America, but Australia and New Zealand are a little slower on the uptake, so we were happy to find such an awesome host.
Close to downtown, we were able to walk everywhere we wanted to go – the park, farmers’ markets, museums, and Cathedral Square. The river that flows through town is really beautiful, so we couldn’t help but stop to go punting.
While we were punting we learnt that the reason there are no building higher then 12 stories because of the high water table caused by the river that runs through town. So Christchurch will always have a quaint old town feel leaving the sky scrapers for Wellington and Auckland.
While in Nelson, Miranda did some research on renting a car and found an AWESOME deal with Quality Car Rental – $20/day for a station wagon! Now we’re cruising the South Island in style for one month. We’re headed down the east coast from Christchurch to Invercargill at the southern tip, then we’ll dip into Fiordland and Milford Sound, stop in Queenstown before heading back up the west coast, and across Aurthur’s Pass back into Christchurch. Looking forward to it!