--- Gareth and Helen travelled the world! --- travel blog

Christchurch square with the Cathederal.

Christchurch monument

Another part of the newly developed square.

Christchurch Square

Christchurch Square with the Bank Of New Zealand in the distance.

Who's the funky looking gypsy in the corner?

Helen finds a cute duckie in Christchurch Square

The bird on the top seems very comfortable up there.

The view from our window!

The view from the window of our hostel - The New Excelsior.

Here's the map of our journey. Towns with capital letters are where...

This is who we're travelling with - STRAY!

We thought we'd give you an insight into life as a backpacker!...

A typical corridor choc full of dorms. This is The New Excelsior!

The lovely payphone. If we've called you... it's probably been from this...

The very attractive Roof Garden. The American lodges loved all this stuff...

Most hostels have living room / common rooms. This is quite a...

Another piece of propaganda trying to get us to part with our...

A typical kitchen... you keep your food in the buckets - we...

A stark warning - so always carry a pen!


Helen in the kitchen!

Posh equipment. Oh yes. If you can cook Pasta Bolegnese on this...

This is our hostel in Christchurch! Cute innit!?

Helen outside the hostel

This old guy talks his omens to the masses in the square......

Street Chess. This was a particularly cunning and brutal game.

Christchurch's striking art gallery. A beautiful building.

Christchurch Botanical Gardens.

Helen relaxes at the park in the sunshine!

Sometimes the spotlight is not with us, but with other events. It makes us more homesick than ever!

It generally attracts us to internet cafes so that we can crawl through BBC news or whatever else. It's very difficult to get news on the net when you are not in the UK. The BBC website kicks into 'WORLD EDITION' and you have to click on a lot more buttons to get to what you want to see.

Firstly, Gareth can't beleive that John Peel is dead!

He was a radio 1 DJ from the very start and it's a great shock. We've been looking at the tributes on the Radio 1 website. It was a huge shock to read it.


Second - We're reading with great interest about the storms back home. We've seen the reports on the BBC website and we had a picture text from Lynda (Helen's mother) through to our email showing the waves bashing against the front. Gareth's mum also phoned to give us the lastest info. We hear the prom is damaged! Can't believe we missed it all!


Also Arafat very ill? It's all going on!

We're also missing all the (no doubt currupt!!) action from the American election!


Anyway. Back to New Zealand.

Lots of you are wanting to know where we are off to next. We haven't got the info with us now but we'll post it soon. So you know this is what is going on (off the top of our heads):

Friday 8am: Leave Christchurch on STRAY bus.

Stay at Kaikoura (I think that's how it's spelt). It's about 180 km north on Highway 1. There you can swim with dolphins, go whale watching or see the seals. It looks like we're going to whale watch. It's far too cold to jump into the sea at the moment.

The next day we head up to Picton and from there we head on to Nelson and then we're off around the west coast down to Barrytown (early next week). From there we head down to Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers - then head down to Queenstown (we'll be there for a while as there's loads to do) and then over to Milford Sound, which we've heard is very beautiful, very much along the Norweigean Fjord scene.

We keep on to the bottom of South Island to Invercargill and then it's back up to Dunedin (pronounced Dun-eeeee-den with the eeeee being the accented part of the word). Dunedin is home to the world's steepest street!

From there it's back up to Christchurch, where we'll stay for one night. That will be on the 18th November. So we have 3 weeks to get around. The minimum is about 2 weeks. This is Stray's best South Island package, so it should be good.

Stray are not about nights out on the booze or getting lashed (so much!). It's more about wildlife, walks and activities, so should be good!

All going to plan we catch a flight on the 19th November to Auckland from Christchurch which gets in at 12.30pm. The flight from Auckland to Melbourne (pronounced Mel-bun you Pommy!) is at 4.00pm. It should be fine we're told. If the first flight is late it will be ok as they are both Air New Zealand. They've told us that they'll sort it out for us if it goes Pete Tong.

Today we are about to go to the Botanical Gardens for a walk. We thought about going on the gondola but it's really contrived and Touristy. This town has so much more to offer with our precious time!

Gotta dash - have fun guys!

Lots of love Gareth and Helen x x x

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