Photo above of Elle, looking a bit sinister, but in reality just blinking in the camera flash.
We are back in West Island, the land of fire, drought and flooding rain. Before getting into the story of our homes coming (to our 2 boats that is) we had better fill in the picture of our stay in NZ's second largest city, Christchurch.
We aren't great city enthusiasts and try and avoid them like the plague most of the time (O.K. we have spent many months in the Gold Coast, but that was almost obligatory), but rather than brave the holiday crowds around the South Island, swelled by thousands of visiting everyones from everywhere, looking after 2 nicely behaved pussies in a comfortable Christchurch pad seemed tempting.
Of course, given Christchurch's recent history, there was aways the prospect of some catastrophe happening, even if there was no cat-astrophe. As it turned out, everything went smoothly and we got to explore much more of the Banks Peninsula, the wetlands around Christchurch and the nearby Alps and their foothills.
Christchurch has become the NZ epicentre (Wellingtonians may disagree!) of everything revolving on healthy, outdoors activity. Cycle lanes are mushrooming everywhere and there are literally dozens of good walking tracks within close reach of the city.
It seems that Cantabrians like their leisure facilities, as they are seen cycling, jogging, surfing, swimming, walking and skiing (in season) everywhere. A lot of the eastern suburbs are near sea level, so the shit could the fan in years to come with projected sea level rises, but the same goes for a lot of other cities, too.
Tom, trying to get out. Sorry, not allowed after dark! Miiaaoow!
Pegasus Bay, near New Brighton, looking towards the Banks Peninsula
Akaroa harbour - one of two extinct craters on the Banks Peninsula. Akaroa village is on the eastern shore.
Gendarmerie? Akaroa was settled by the French and of course, locals now exploit this little piece of history for the tourists, including it seems, the local cops!
Totara tree, about 2,000 years old, near Akaroa - one the settlers didn't chop down
Alison on a path in the foothills of the Alps on New Year's Day - smoke in the air from the bushfires in Oz.
SH 73 on the way towards Arthur's Pass from Christchurch
Lake Pearson on Highway 73 out of Christchurch
Looking up the Waimakariri River towards the Alps near Arthurs Pass