New Zealand, 2009-12-08

Since Akaroa is in a volcanic crater, we take the far on a tour around the the rim to check out the scenery.  It’s quite breathtaking, for two reasons:  it’s beautiful, and the road is a narrow two-lane road without guardrails, above cliffs, down which locals drive incredibly fast.  Lanaea was actually on “going over the edge warning” duty.

Back in Christchurch, we drop off the car and take the city bus back into town.  There’s been a lot of travel and activities lately, so plan for a mellow day walking the city.  Downtown Christchurch is actually quite small, and by the time we leave, we’ll have walked just about every avenue and alley there is.  Make sure you stop by Litchfield Lanes and Sol Square for some cool little restaurants, bars, and cafes.

In the evening, we eat at the Bodhi Tree again.  We end up seated at a table with a couple, Luke and David, who give great travel recommendation (everyone here seems to have great recs — with the exception of Oxford on Avon.)  They are emphatic that in Brisbane, we should check out Stradbroke Island, for at least 3 days, and stay and Pt Lookup.  They say it’s still relatively undiscovered, but should get there quick.  Dinner is delightful, conversation good, and the day mellow.  It gives me a chance to reflect on quirks and differences between the US and Australia and New Zealand together.

One of the first things to notice is that there’s a distinct lack of presence of police and police cars.  It was several days before I even saw and officer, much less a police vehicle, and could probably count on one hand the total number..  And as mentioned before, there’s a distinct penchant for El Camino’s over pickup trucks.  In New Zealand, there’s also a prevalence of extremely tall (20+ feet) square hedges.  Oh, and 1414 AM is an awesome radio station, but that’s not a difference or oddity.  It’s just cool.


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