Geraldine, Christchurch and Kaikoura
02.04.2013 - 05.04.2013
After leaving Queenstown we had the choice of either continuing onto Christchurch or hopping off early at the Rangitata River in Geraldine for some white water rafting. The rapids there ranged from grade 1 to 5, grade 5 being the strongest and most dangerous grade available to the public to raft in. We decided we'd hop off....
There was two rafts that went out and I have to say things did get a bit competitive!! It was pretty tough at times but the key was to keep paddling no matter what. EXCEPT now and then when the instructor tells you to sit down on the floor of the raft with all arms, legs and oars inside. Now to be fair you do feel quite safe in this position so one time I stayed down there for a little bit longer than I was supposed to! ..The other team leader sitting next to me was screaming 'GET THE F**K UP!!''GET THE F**K UP!! ...so I did eventually have to get back up and start paddling again! Thankfully we were celebrating at the end as no one in our team fell out. Unfortunately though some people on the other raft fell overboard! (LOL)
The following day we headed back to Christchurch. It was to be a nostalgic night as most people were leaving New Zealand and heading off in different directions around the world. So we all re-grouped and had a bit of a last supper. It was actually quite an eventful night as myself and Di managed to get lost in a park on the way to the restaurant. (Just an hour detour!) To be fair it was pitch black and we weren't from the area ....
So after saying our goodbyes it was back to the hostel to make our plans for our last day in New Zealand. There was 1 more activity that we REALLY wanted to do ...dolphin swimming! Kaikoura is known as one of the best places in the world to swim with dolphins so we knew we couldn't miss it! Our only issue was that in order to make our flight from Christchurch we would have to do a round-trip to Kaikoura in 1 day. The problem we faced here was that buses stopped in the afternoon so we'd have to take a chance and hitchhike back that night. We decided to go on ahead and cross our fingers that someone would be kind enough to bring us back to Christchurch. (only a few hours drive sure!!)
Well I have to say swimming with the dolphins in Kaikoura was one of my favourite things that I did in New Zealand. I especially liked that your boat sails out to the ocean so that you're swimming with the dolphins in their natural habitat. I'd much rather that than in a small confined area where the dolphins are trained to do tricks etc. I actually couldn't believe how many dolphins there were ...these dolphins can swim in pods of a few hundred so your actually just swimming along with dolphins under you, beside you , jumping around you...it's unreal! We decided not to take an underwater camera out with us and I'm glad we didn't. Sometimes you can get caught up in trying to get a good photo rather than embracing what was such an amazing experience.
...I took a few from the boat though!
So after a successful day swimming with Dolphins all we needed was to somehow find a lift back to Christchurch. So we walked to the nearest main road and stuck the thumbs out. Now I'd hold back if there was a dodgy looking car/van or if it was one of those giant container trucks in horror films that pick people up from the side of the road and kill them. But no no Diana doesn't ...so next thing you know are bags are in and I'm hopping into the back of a 9 tonne waste container truck with Wayne. (not scared at all I swear ...)
Well Wayne ended up being quite the tour guide .... after arriving back in Christchurch he brought us around on a tour of his beloved city. He also showed us the devastating effects of the earthquake in 2011. When he realised we were faced with sleeping in the airport he kindly suggested we come back and stay with him and his family! Not wanting to take any more advantage of his hospitality we got dropped of at the airport. So we put ourselves on standby and tried to get a few hours kip. The following morning we got on the 6am flight to Auckland which gave us plenty of time to then catch our round the world flight to Bangkok.