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A Wet and Windy Day En-route to Christchurch

Tuesday 27th October 2015

rain 15 °C

We had set our alarms for just after six just in case the weather had improved enough for us to go whale watching. However it was every bit as bad as the weather forecasts had predicted with winds of 40 kilometres an hour with gusts more than double that. To make matters worse it was also raining hard. On that basis we were pretty sure that the whale watching tours would be off. I didn't even bother to get up and dressed but decided to lie in instead. We both felt that even if the boats were running we didn't want to go out, expecting that it would be very choppy indeed. Once it got to 7 o'clock Nigel was able to ring the office and although they hadn't got the captains definitive decision they were sure that no boats would be going out that day. It was so disappointing as whale watching was the sole reason that we had stopped off for two nights in Kaikoura.

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In the end the apartment had proved to be very good and the town had some very nice stores so we had got lots of shopping done. Resigned to not being able to do much at all, we packed up most of our things and then went to the cafe a couple of doors down for hearty breakfast knowing that this would be our main meal of the day. We were very lucky in that the owner of our apartment had said that we could stay all morning if we wanted to as they had no one else due in that day. I think this was done in part as compensation for the confusion caused by a very recent change over in ownership and some obstructiveness by the previous owner. Whatever the politics of the situation we were glad to have somewhere we could stay with our bags until it was time to leave for our train. Marie at the apartment had very kindly said that she would get someone to take us to the station and she was as good as her word. When we arrived there laden with our bags the weather was still looking as miserable as it had done first thing in the morning although the wind had dropped quite considerably.

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This leg of our train journey was a little longer than the one from Picton the Kaikoura but it started as the other one had finished with the line running alongside the ocean. It looked pretty inhospitable as we looked out to sea and although I have quite good sea legs I was pretty pleased that the whale watching trip hadn't gone ahead.

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After about an hour or so the track turned inland and we started to climb up into the hills. The scenery was very pretty with lots of gorse covering the hillside in yellow. My understanding is that this plant is not native to New Zealand and is a bit of a pest in that it crowds out some of the native species, however it does make for a pretty spectacular backdrop.

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We also passed a number of farms, mostly with sheep and cattle grazing and we saw a lot of somewhat outdated looking farm vehicles.

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At one point we had to stop for a while waiting for signals to change and there was a light aircraft buzzing directly overhead. I'm not quite sure what the pilot was doing but it provided us with some entertainment for a while. The land then flattened out as we started to pass over the Canterbury Plain and we crossed a number of wide moraine strewn rivers.

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All too soon we were entering the outskirts of Christchurch which was an indication that our very enjoyable journey was coming to an end. I must admit I was looking out for the inevitable remnants of the 2011 earthquake but as we were on the train none was evident. When we pulled up in the station we collected our bags and quickly found ourselves a taxi to take us to our accommodation which was just outside the city CBD. The apartment was quite small, and the bedroom had only a small high window which made the room seem quite dark, but it was nicely furnished and the lounge/ kitchen area though compact had everything we needed. The managers were very friendly and helpful and so we felt immediately relaxed. We settled into our room, ate a snack (we didn't want any more after our large and rather late breakfast) and spent the rest of the evening watching a film.

Posted by Gill's Travels 14:00 Archived in New Zealand Tagged landscapes trains rivers ocean new_zealand kaikoura

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