It’s snowing! We left Lake Tekapo in the morning and as I gathered my belongings to put inside the bus, I was pleasantly greeted with my first snowfall of the trip. Even though I’ve seen snow a handful of times in my life, there’s nothing like the soft falling of snowflakes that will immediately make you feel like a kid again. I had a permanent smile pressed on my face as I scrambled around the lodge taking pictures.
After we rolled out of the Lakefront Lodge in Lake Tekapo, we made a quick stop at The Church of the Good Shepherd, which is the most photographed church in New Zealand. Yesterday, the church was so filled with buses of tourists around and inside the church that it was impossible to get an unspoiled picture, however, this morning we had the church all to ourselves except for a handful of others that quickly snapped their photos and moved aside.
The next stop of the day was in Cromwell for some groceries and a quick lunch. Cromwell is known for their fruit and more importantly is a prime region for growing grapes for the famous NZ pinot noir. Another stop in the small town of Geraldine to buy some cheese! We ran through the last stop and made it to Christchurch around 2pm. Gina dropped us off outside of the YMCA and I walked to the Rendezvous Hotel (no more hostels!) with another passenger from the bus.
I was extremely happy to check-in to the hotel, as I have been staying in hostels pretty consistently for the past two months. It’s so nice to have an entire room to myself and to be able to spread my backpack all over the bed without considering others’ space. I spent the day walking around the town, found a smoothie shop, and met some local students and we had a happy little conversation for a bit.
First Impressions. Christchurch is still a city of rubble. In 2011, the city suffered from an earthquake that is still evident today. The city is currently in the rebuilding phase, but as you walk around you can still see half-standing buildings and lots of empty lots that were once occupied.