Wednesday, December 9, 2015

9 Dec 15 – Day 10 (Lake Tekapo and Christchurch)

Today we left the beautiful Lake Tekapo for Christchurch. Made a photo stop at the Fairlie Basin and then went to the Manuka honey shop called Farmers Corner recommended by Cynthia to get our honey. Like all other tourist shops, the staff round us up for an introduction to their products and informed us of the available promotions before we were left to do our shopping. Browsed around the shop quickly and picked up the things that I want. NZ is well-known for producing Manuka honey and only those labelled with UMF or MGO are the real-deal. Before my trip, BIL told me to buy royal jelly back in cartons and he said it with such ease. I was, on the other hand, appalled by his suggestion. I did not buy in cartons but I did buy two-years’ worth of royal jelly, three bottles 250g of UMF 20+ and two bottles 500g of UMF 10+ Manuka honey for little big sis. Also bought a pack of propolis lozenges for her side and a sheep soft toy for Lyn. For myself, I bought two bottles 500g of UMF 10+ Manuka honey.

Made payment at the casher and then the staff helped to pack the items into a small carton box. Wrote my name and other contactable details before leaving the box with Cynthia so I could go out to take more photos of the alpacas. There were quite a few of them and they were standing very near the fence because the other kids from the group were feeding them with feeds. One of the members passed SWT some feeds so that she could feed the alpacas while I helped to take photos of her. Collected my box of honey and loaded onto the coach before boarding to continue our journey into Christchurch. Travelled for around 1+ hour and we reached the bottom of Cashmere Hill. Alighted from the coach ahead of others, SWT and I quickly made our climb up the hill where it overlooked the landscape of Christchurch. Snapped some photos before the rest of the group reached the top. After we were done, SWT and I slowly made our way down, snapping photos along the way. 

Got back to the coach and we were brought to a shopping mall where we had lunch and an opportunity to do some shopping. As usual, we avoided eating at the food court and since today was considered the last day that we can lunch in NZ, we decided to eat something a little bit better. Hence, we popped into this café called Theobroma where I had a smoke salmon sandwich and a cup of hot dark chocolate. Lunch was good and satisfying. We then proceeded to the Pak’nSave to do our shopping. Bought a big pack of afghans biscuits and a pack of pineapple lumps for office since they were hailed as the must-eat items by the Kiwis. I bought a small pack of the afghans biscuits for myself. On top of that, I also bought some biscuits by the brand Griffins, a small bottle of easy-to-make pavlova mix and last but not least, my favorite, lamingtons. Searched for the avocado oil but could not find. Checked with the staff and turned out that the item was out of stock. Very disappointed and scolded myself silently for not getting it when I had the chance earlier on during the trip. Made payment and then saw a candy stall outside the supermarket. Bought two Chupa Chups fairy floss bubble gums for Ry and Lyn and a box of jelly beans for BIL.

Returned to the coach and we moved on to the next destination, the International Antarctic Centre, where we saw the feeding of the little blue penguins. Then we experienced the 4D extreme theater before moving on to experience the Antarctic storm. We had to put on plastic gloves over our shoes, put on long jackets before going into the room where temperature went down gradually to minus 18 degree Celsius with strong winds. It was a fun experience. Finally, we moved on to the hagglund ride. The ride was very bumpy but fun, just like roller coaster at some point in time. Done with all the activities and we still had some time to relook at the exhibits and take more photos.

Done with the International Antarctic Centre, we did a brief city tour of Christchurch where we saw many buildings were still in ruins after the 2011 big earthquake. The driver said that roads are slowly opening up after deemed safe for use. Some still remained close and hence traffic had to detour. He showed us where the Re:Start Container Mall was and some of the better graffiti in the city. Finally, we were brought to see the Transitional (Cardboard) Cathedral and along the way, passed by the place where the 185 empty white chairs were in memory of those who lost their lives during the earthquake. Stayed for a while to take some photos before going to the hotel which we were to stay for the night. The Re:Start Container Mall was actually near to our hotel but after eating dinner at the restaurant and returned to the room, we were too lazy to go out again. Besides, the mall was already closed so all the more we didn’t see the point of going just to take photos. Stayed in the room to do major packing and also tried to clear the food we had left such as the kiwi fruits and cherries

Thoughts: Didn’t really do much sightseeing today. Christchurch would have been a nice city to explore if not for the earthquake that destroyed most part of it back in 2011. It is a pity that they have not rebuilt much of the place yet. From what I know, they only settled on the insurance payout recently. So hopefully with the money, the rebuilding can start and complete soon.

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