Christchurch and Wanaka, South Island

**Please post on our blog if you get a chance!  I would love to know that someone is reading it!


Finding a car in Christchurch started out difficult.  We saw some really crappy ones.  Some were so dirty, had dents, or were just not trustworthy.   Then we upped our price range a bit.  We figured we would rather have a reliable car that wouldn’t break down on us that we could resell not just to backpackers, but to anyone in NZ.  So that is what we did.  We bought a decent car.  Hopefully, we will be able to sell it when it is time to head to SE Asia.  Heck, I would take it to the States but the steering wheel is on the other side!  😉

In Christchurch, we found a very nice house to stay in.  We were only there for three nights, but the house was quite comfortable, and was a nice place to come back to after we searched for cars or went out exploring Christchurch.  Here is the place we stayed:

Our Vacation Rental in Christchurch

Christchurch was an interesting city; it is still rebuilding after the 2011 earthquake.  And yes, this part of New Zealand had another earthquake quite recently (while we were sailing to Australia), but Kaikoura (north of Christchurch) suffered the most damage in the most recent one.  Christchurch, while still showing the signs of the earlier quake, was spared during this one.  The city is rebuilding in a very artsy way, with shipping container shopping malls, a “dance area” in the middle of the city, and unique buildings being constructed.  At the same time, some buildings are now gone, or in significant disrepair, so the sights are both enlightening and sad at the same time.

While in Christchurch, we went to this amazing free museum there and we also joined a walking tour of the city.  Christchurch also has a beautiful botanical gardens that we walked through while we were there.  Below are some pics:

“The Chalice”

Canterbury Museum.  This couple turned their whole house into a gigantic seashell display.  They became quite famous in the country.

The Christchurch Cathedral–its fate is still undecided.

A Memorial for the People who were Killed when an Entire Building Collapsed During the 2011 Earthquake.  Each white chair represents a person who lost his or her life…

The Restaurant at the Botanical Gardens


A Staircase to Nowhere in the Botanical Gardens

Tired Children?

I love this photo. I love all of the flower petals and the bench.  

“Rock” Climbing at the Botanical Gardens


We drove for about 5 hours to go to Wanaka, towards the center of the southern part of the South Island.  On the way to Wanaka, we stopped in Lake Tekapo as well, which was quite beautiful.

Wanaka was amazing!  We stayed in a small, two bedroom apartment that was just a few streets walking distance to the center of the town.

In Wanaka, we went for a hike, visited “Puzzling World” which was a cool museum of illusions, puzzles, etc., we had a “date night” while the kids went to the movies, we went paddleboarding, set out for a day hike outside of town about an hour, and generally just enjoyed the scenery. Wanaka reminded me a bit of Lake Tahoe, and I love Tahoe!

Lake Tekapo Area


The View from Rippon Winery, Wanaka

    Rippon Winery Tasting Room, Wanaka

   Our View on Our Wanaka Hike (Overlooking the Town)

      The Lake in the Morning (Paddleboarding Time!)

    Ariana on her Paddleboard

    Apparently, this is a famous tree in Wanaka…

Puzzling World Museum and Maze

The Puzzle Ariana was Able to Solve (and Later Dan)

The Puzzle I finally Solved…

Dan in a Medieval Bathroom

The Super Difficult Maze at Puzzling World.  I think it took us a couple of hours but Dan and I did finish before the kids!

Illusions are Fun.  Or maybe I had a tipple too many…

Even the bathrooms there are unique.

The Beautiful Scenery on our Day Hike.  Car Bridge.

Why does my family always make me cross suspension bridges?

“Blue Pools”  They really are this blue (below).

Next up:  Dunedin!  We are currently still in Dunedin pet sitting for a woman named Lindsay who is back in the U.K. visiting family.  We are taking care of Libby, a very sweet dog…