Christchurch – Canterbury
After the beautiful emotions in Kaikoura, we arrive in Christchurch with a strange feeling. Our heads still high in the clouds, we don’t lose sight that the arrival at this point indicates a final turning in our journey. Indeed it’s this city that will mark the end of our New Zealand travel, but even knowing this, we intend to enjoy this beautiful country until the last minute.
The Banks peninsula
We will start by discovering the beautiful Banks peninsula, with the only intention to visit it in one day. After taking the precaution of refueling our car we engage ourselves on the winding roads of these ancient volcanoes. First by the main road, then we took the decision to embark on the “summit road” ‘s big loop which rallies Akaroa by dominating the valleys plunging towards the sea. We stopped by twice, to take advantage of the landscape, and take a trail to a peak where we enjoyed views on the peninsula’s both sides.
Arrived at Akaroa, the charm of this small town will make its effect since we finally decided to spend the night there. The local and seasonal atmosphere will seduce us and after finding one of the rare places in free-camp, we will go to bathe on the small beach and walk in the city, before taking a picnic on the edge of water at sunset. The next day we returned to Christchurch, this time by the main road.
It was in Christchurch that we took the decision to prepare the van for the sale before finishing our New Zealand days on the North Island. So we started by finding a “woofing” place, and until we could be welcomed, we decided to enjoy the city. We couldn’t have done better because at this time the “World Buskers Festival” was held, that is to say, every day during 10 days some of the city keys points came alive with street performances each one more impressive than the past ones . We took advantage a lot of it, combining visits and itinerant shows for almost 3 days. It was really great.
We took the time to appreciate the city, which, despite its sad history, gets back up with brillo and modernity, from the past earthquakes remnants. So it was also with some surprise that we discovered the new modern and chic buildings downtown, a complete paradox with some abandoned buildings and the famous Christchurch cathedral half devastated. We took the time to get impregnate about the city by visiting some places, the Canterbury Museum, the Botanical Garden, the ephemeral containerized shopping center, the new state-of-the-art stores. All of this with, in the background, an happy and lively festival, this city turned out, for us, in the image of a phoenix rising from its ashes gently but with determination, looking towards the future.
Another remarkable moment of our stay in Christchurch was that we had to be there on a specific date to attend the concert that Bastien received as a birthday present. So we were delighted to be able to spend a moment like this after almost a year of van life. So we went to see the “Rise against” band and we feasted.
Christchurch also represented the end of an adventure.
Even though we still had few weeks to spend in New Zealand, we chose to put our tiny house on sale soon enough to not create any difficulties on this travel ending. After having done the necessary work for the good passage of the WOF (local technical control), we took advantage of the kindness of our woofing hosts to prepare, clean, tidy, sort our baby elephant van. The ad posted, we had 6 answers from interested people, the first couple to visit our house on wheels will be the last because it became the new owner, to our delight and dismay haha. So it was with a mixed feeling and a twinge that we watched our little van go off the road for the last time.
We will end our New Zealand days from woofing to woofing in past hosts plaes with whom we had a special relationship. So we flew to Whangarei and spend 2 weeks there before returning to Auckland for a few days and finally leave this beautiful country which has, so to speak, filled us.