Saturday, 28 February 2009

Christchurch to Moeraki

St John arrived safely in Christchurch where he was impressed by our current high standard of living. We even managed a BBQ on his first night (although the cold forced us to put on down jackets). A trip to the local supermarket for beer and supplies prompted the checkout assistant to ask us for proof of age. We were initially flattered that she thought we were all under 25, but became worried when she insisted that we get our driving licences from the car. In the end, we managed to charm her with some chat about the Edinburgh Tattoo, and she let us off – but just this once.

The following morning, we headed into Christchurch for some gear shopping. St John needed new boots, Jen an extra fleece and Andy new walking trousers after finally getting rid of his old ones. The material on them had failed to such an extent that they were only held together with gaffer tape. R.I.P. Nepal trekking trousers! Finding refreshments at a local café, Jen asked for a herbal tea. Confused, the lady dusted off a box at the back of the store and found some smoky Lapsang Souchong. Serving the tea, the lady described the smell as 'beefy'.

We headed down the road to Oamaru, a three-hour drive, in the hope of seeing our first yellow-eyed penguin. Our patience was rewarded by the sighting of one, solitary penguin on the beach. They're apparently very rare – as we could see for ourselves.

We stayed the night at Olive Grove campsite just north of Moeraki, where we met a very nice Finnish couple, Hanna and Toni. They had been travelling in NZ for almost a month and were about to fly back to Finland. We exchanged a lot of stories about travelling and trekking, and they gave us tips for good walks around Milford Sound.

We made a quick stop at Moeraki to inspect the group of almost perfectly round boulders that sit on the beach. They look like eggs hatched out of the hillside.

Read our Dunedin to Porpoise Bay posting.