My Queens Birthday Weekend plans were set when friends Caitlin and Laura bought a Christchurch-located car and mapped out a three day Christchurch to Picton road trip to bring it back to Wellington. Kirsty and I came along for the ride.
We flew into Christchurch on the Friday night for some touristing there before hitting the road and driving to Hanmer Springs, Kaikoura and finally Picton to catch the Interislander ferry back to Wellington.
Here are the highlights.
More than four years since I wrote this post I couldn’t believe the mess Christchurch’s CBD was still in.
Caitlin, who spent the first 20 or so years of her life in Christchurch finds it challenging to navigate without the buildings she knew.
Amongst the building sites, funky street art, food trucks, rubble and empty lots there are gems like C1 Espresso, 185 Empty Chairs (a memorial to those lost in the February 2011 earthquake), RE:START Mall, The Cardboard Cathedral and the remains of the Christchurch Cathedral and square.
We also took the Gondola up to the top of the Port Hills and drove around Littleton trying to find a park to visit the popular Saturday market there.
The highlight of Hanmer Springs is the Hot Pools. It was busy even at opening time on a crisp June morning where it was still only 2 degrees at 10am out of the pools. Freezing if you’re stuck in the line for the lockers.
The 38-40 degree pools were gorgeous to relax in with the views of the snow capped mountains.
Pro tip: take jandals (aka thongs or flip flops). Your feet will freeze as you walk from pool to pool without them!
I opted to stay in bed on Sunday morning instead of climbing Colonial Hill but the Snapchats I received proved it was worth the climb in the -1 degree chill.
Marble Point Winery
We stopped at Marble Point Winery on the route out for wine tasting and a platter and each ended up buying at least one bottle of the product.
On our final morning we watched the sun rise (at the very reasonable winter time of 7:30am) over Kaikaura.
Around 26km up State Highway 1 is a colony of baby seals. There are heaps of them, somehow amounting to only 10-20% of their original population due to poaching. They’re friendly, playful and very cool.
Are you a fan of road trips? Have you taken a Christchurch to Picton road trip in New Zealand?