Christchurch, Akaroa and home

Our final day in New Zealand, but we still had much to do. We headed out early to Akaroa, a small French settlement on the Banks Peninsula. More winding roads, though the scenery was drier then further south. At Little River we stopped to look at the craft shops, buying some tiny moccasins as a gift for a friends soon-to-be-born baby.

[image:604,left][image:605,right]Akaroa was a quaint little town, full of the usual craft shops that abound in such places. It gave us a chance to look for last minute gifts for family members. Lunch was a tasty local fish and not so good half a lobster from a popular fish and chips shop. There was an interesting paua (abalone) shell and blue pearl display on the main wharf. Apparently, the paua are haemophilic and will bleed to death if cut. This makes harvesting the pearls very difficult.

[image:615,left]Back in Christchurch we took the opportunity to wander the city and take a ride on the tram that loops through the CBD. It’s an informative little trip and good introduction to the city’s attractions. Unfortunately, we were limited in time and soon had to return the car back to the airport.

The need to check in early for international flights left us with plenty of time to waste at the airport and little to do. Unfortunately, we did not realise that the adjacent Antarctic centre was open to the public until 8pm, as it had been strongly recommended to me by a friend who had spent a year at the South Pole. Eventually the time came to board the flight for home, this time on a 747. The flight was rough, and barely gave enough time to watch a movie on the little screens (for the record I saw Thunderpants, which was thankfully short). But as we flew across the island we had a wonderful opportunity to gain one last look at the mountains we had crossed so many times in the last week.

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