Wednesday, January 6, 2010


After our tour of the West Coast of the South Island we took the train across the island to Christchurch. This train trip, called the TranzAlpine is considered one of the "world's great train journeys" or so say the brochures. It was beautiful. The ride went up and over the Southern Alps mountain range and crossed through 18 tunnels, including one that is 8.5 km (5 miles) long - so long that the tunnel has its own air filtration system. We had nice weather for the entire five hour trip.

Once in Christchurch our couchsurfing host Sue came to the train station to pick us up. She even held up a sign that said Asa/Jaimee so she could find us easily. Sue's awesome. She lives about 15 minutes outside Christchurch with her two kids, aged 19 and 17 as well as two other "flat mates". It was a full house, but there was plenty of room and we had fun hanging out with Sue's family. She even took us mountain bike riding on a nearby track where we did a 15km (9 miles) loop.

Christchurch is a very nice city, and as it turns out a sister city of Seattle. (Links from the Seattle side, and Christchurch side.) We like Christchuch much better than Auckland, which is saying a lot since we liked Auckland quite a bit when we visited in November. Christchurch is very outdoor orientated, very laid back and very clean (yes Michelle, I just described something as clean again :-) There also seems to be a pretty vibrant arts and cafe culture with lots of outdoor cafes and restaurants. We even found an excellent vegetarian restaurant for amazing veggie burgers.

From here we're off to WWOOF on a blueberry farm. They have a website with some information about their operation. We'll be there until next Wednesday when we head to the south of the South Island to do even more WWOOFing at a sheep farm. Then, we'll come back to Christchurch on the 23rd to stay with Sue again. We fly out to Singapore on Monday the 25th but we wanted to come back early to Christchurch 1) to visit Sue and her family again since we're having such a good time, and 2) to check out the World Buskers Festival 2010. The festival includes street performers, comedy shows, musical acts, most of it for free. It actually sounds a lot like the Fringe Festival of Edinburgh which Jaimee and I enjoyed very much when we went to Scotland in 2008.

Finally, here are all our photos from Christchurch.



  1. No more pictures of the vintage machinery? I'd like to add them to my shots from the Lawnmower Museum in Cornwall, UK.

  2. Glad you liked the vintage machinery sign. We stumbled across it by accident. Our driver Sue got a phone call and pulled over to talk right in front of the sign so we didn't actually go to the museum. Interestingly, Sue is a volunteer ambulance driver and the call was about when she was going to do her next shift. For a city of about 300,000 to use volunteer ambulance drivers was pretty amazing to me.


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