Rolling over as the alarm burst into life at 7am, I pulled the covers back over me in a bid to get back to sleep. It was far too early to be up to face another 9 hour bus journey and so snuggling back up seemed like a much better plan and although I didn’t manage to sleep again, I enjoyed just getting to stay nice and warm. By 7:30am, I was ready to get up and go so after getting dressed, shoving the rest of my things in my bag and making sure we hadn’t left anything, we left the hostel. I’d really enjoyed staying in Haka Lodge and I think it’s definitely one of the best places we’ve stayed in throughout our entire trip. Being able to shove the bags into the huge wooden drawers under the beds and having curtains around each bunk meant that it was just a nice, cosy place to stay after a busy day. It’s a shame we weren’t able to stay longer, that goes to the whole of Queenstown too, but we’ll just have to come back sometime in the future!
Once we finally got to the bus stop after a bit of confusion as to where it actually was, we dropped our bags down and waited for the Naked Bus to turn up. I was really hoping that with it being a 9 hour journey we’d have a decent bus so whilst watching the bus stop fill up with people, I kept my fingers crossed. Unfortunately, all my hoping didn’t work and we ended up on a bus with seats that felt as though they were made of wood and didn’t recline so we were stuck bolt up right the entire journey. Grrrrrr. To be honest, I’d been prepared for a bit of a rubbish one after reading reviews of the company so although it was incredibly annoying, it really wasn’t too much of a surprise at all and we just got on with things. Of course that would have been much easier to do had we not been accompanied with a screaming child and a very arrogant woman but what can you do? I suppose that’s what happens when you’re not on a bus focused entirely on young people like The Kiwi Experience. It’s at times like that that I kind of wish that we’d paid more to go with that company instead of doing it ourselves.
When everybody was onboard and we’d been told about what to expect on our bus trip we set off from Queenstown towards Christchurch. I really like it when we’re told what happens as it means that you can get ready to get off in certain places rather than having to scrabble around when the bus suddenly pulls up. A few times I’ve found myself searching for a missing shoe or having to just fling things off my knee to get off in time for the shortest toilet breaks ever so it’s a lovely change to be prepared. The journey itself, other than being horrendously long and really quite slow, was really quite beautiful as we passed mountain ranges, sparkling aquamarine lakes and pine forests. It was stunning. My favourite view was of Lake Pukaki which was an amazing blue colour and was lined with huge mountains, capped with snow. The blue colour comes from glaciers from very fine particles from rocks ground down and it gives it an almost mystical feel and I tried to get a few photos of it through the bus window. They’re not the best photos in the world as the glass was so murky and dirty but I hope they show the vivid colours of it so you can see it for yourselves.
After a couple of very quick 5 minute toilet breaks in Wanaka and another pretty little place called Twizel, by 1pm it was time for lunch and we pulled into a little cafe area at Lake Tekapo. I would have loved to have stayed here for a lot longer than half an hour as like Lake Pukaki it was stunning. Obviously we didn’t have the time to linger so had to quickly get off the bus and dash to the nearest cafe for some food. Well, I say the nearest cafe, everybody walked past one rather overpriced one and ended up in a nice little place which served yummy things for about half the price. We ended up with a big bag of chips and a huge rocky road slice for about £3 and then went and sat by the bus, admiring the views and enjoying our food. It was very tasty but we did have to really force it down in time to get back on the bus so were both feeling quite full and squashed into our seats. After that, the journey seemed to fly by fairly quickly and it wasn’t long until we joined the horrendous traffic into Christchurch. 9 hours later and we had arrived.
Upon reaching the city, we quickly grabbed our things off the back of the bus and set off on the short walk to the hostel. We’re staying in the YHA whilst we’re here and luckily for us, it wasn’t too far away and so it wasn’t long until we wandered into reception, eager to find our rooms. The YHA hostels might be a little bit more expensive than others we’ve been staying at during our trip to New Zealand but it’s always nice to know that you’ll have nice, comfy beds and decent facilities. There’s nothing worse than turning up to a place expecting lovely things and then being forced to put up with creaky, broken beds and scratchy sheets. I think when you’re absolutely shattered, it’s worth paying a little bit extra to make sure that you’re able to get a decent nights sleep. Not that we had the choice though really, we only ended up there because everywhere else was booked up but I definitely think it was worth the money! Once we’d dropped our bags in the lovely 4 bed dorm we were in and managed to secure a bunk to ourselves, we both went for showers to get ready in time for 7pm. My friend Jordan moved out here 2 years ago so we were going to her flat for tea and I was really looking forward to seeing her again. From going from seeing her everyday at uni to not at all and being in completely different countries has been really quite weird so I was quite excited. When we were picked up and got to hers, it was really nice to see where they lived and hear about what they’d been up to whilst they’d been out here. It was also lovely to be given some ideas of things to do and see and we found ourselves particularly interested in the wizard who is often spotted on the tram or enjoying a coffee down New Regents street. It’s not often you get to see a wizard and we definitely did not want to miss out on that!
After a delicious tea of chilli burritos with nachos and cheese, something which I’ve been really craving at the moment if you haven’t already guessed, we hopped back into the car and went for a drive around. Even though it was quite dark at this point, it was still lovely to have proper look around the city so we knew where we are going tomorrow. It’s never fun when you’re trying to find somewhere to go and find yourself walking around and around in circles for hours. It was also quite interesting to see the many prostitutes down one of the roads in a strange kind of way! At least we now knew to avoid that area at night…. Before Jordan dropped us off she offered to take us to Sumner tomorrow evening for a little walk and a drink which was really nice of her. It’s been so nice to have seen her again that it seems a shame to not meet up again whilst we’re on the same side of the world. It’ll also give us a chance to see a part of Christchurch we wouldn’t have gone to ourselves and that’ll be great too.
We’re now back in the room and it’s time for bed after a long and quite tiring day. As we’ve had quite a busy few days in Queenstown and will do again in Kaikoura, we’re hoping to have a very laid back one tomorrow just to catch up with ourselves and makes sure we enjoy everything as much as possible. There’s no point cramming as much as you can in only to find yourself absolutely shattered and wanting things to end just so you can have a rest. I know from my third year at uni that trying to do as much as possible in a short space of time is absolutely exhausting and if I can, I’d like to avoid that experience during this trip. As far as I know, we’ll be taking our time having a wander around the city and generally just enjoying being there; something which I am more than happy to do.