Armed with one-dollar tickets (acquired from an introductory sale by Jetstar Airlines) for Christchurch, Philip and I took a rare holiday.
We landed in Christchurch airport at about 10:00 am on Tuesday and rented a car from the airport.
We went to the International Antarctic Centre.
Some highlights were watching the penguins being fed, getting a feel of a storm in the Antarctic, and learning about the experiences of pioneers like Scott and Sir Ed. The Antarctic Hagglund ride was amazing.
We then drove to the city centre, and after finding a place to park, we rode the tram.
The driver gave us a commentary of the places we passed. After we got off, we took another tram to hear another driver’s commentary of the same route.
The early Europeans who settled in Christchurch were from England; they brought England with them. Christchurch even has a River Avon.
We had a good dinner at the YMCA, where we spent the night.
After daybreak, we set off towards Timaru. We had breakfast, on the way, in Temuka. We reached Timaru at about 9:30 am, where we met Pastor Alfie Orr, who was our guide for the rest of the day.
We went to Lake Tekapo where the colour of the water changes constantly depending on the colour of the sky.
The Church of the Good Shepherd, beside the lake, was lovely. A glass window in front of the church framed the beautiful lake and mountains. Pastor Orr said that he was glad that he did not have to preach there because he would have to compete with the beauty that was visible to the congregation.
A few meters away, the memorial to the collie dogs without which sheep farming would not have been possible in New Zealand is another attraction.
After lunch, we set out again. Lake Pukaki was our next stop.
We then took a little detour to Twizel for petrol. We could see Mount Cook, the tallest peak in the Southern Alps, quite clearly now, but wanted to get a better view. But we were racing against a cloud that threatened to hide the peak from view.
We got to Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre in a place called The Hermitage, before the cloud could veil the peak.
Driving back in the sunset was pleasant.
It had been a profitable day. Not only had we seen so much of God’s creation, but we had also engaged in spiritual discussions. We returned to Timaru and retired for the night in a motel after looking at the house that Pastor Alfie has been building and saying hello to his family.
The only plan for Day 3 was to return to Christchurch and browse books in a shop called Christian Books that buys and sells secondhand Christian books. Philip has bought from them on line and wanted to visit the shop.
Unexpectedly, after we had done that, we were able to meet up with our friend David from Wellington. We did punting on the Avon together. The punt took us on a one-kilometer stretch along the famous Botanic Gardens.
It was then time to head for the airport and home.