South Island

27 November 2018

When the alarm when off at 07:00, I was in the middle of a dream, so I told Ian I was doing back to sleep to finish it off… and woke up again 45 minutes later. Eek!

Ian showered while I dressed and prepared breakfast, using up our last bits of cereal and porridge so we didn’t feel too wasteful. As it happened, when Ian took the recycling down to the bins, he discovered that there was a bucket into which you could dispense your leftovers for other guests, and we filled it with Dettol, crisps, rice etc. We also left the remaining gin (I know, I tried to drink the whole bottle!!) for Sharon, the first receptionist we’d met who gave me the running routes, as well as our fridgey stuff. We couldn’t take Cornelia’s brand new unused bodyboard or her bucket & spades either, so we left them in reception too for another family to enjoy. Ian did insist he could squeeze in the cheese grater though… 😂

We caught the little ferry over to Opua, and headed back to Auckland, via Kamo to visit the Post Office, so I could send various bits and pieces home to lighten our load and ensure delivery of some Christmas presents. It was a busy little post office and I had to queue for a while to be served, and in the meantime managed to tape up the box with some sellotape I borrowed from a kind mum next to me, and scrawl an address on it. At the counter, I had to fill in a customs declaration form which included having to itemise everything in the box. Argh, my brain went blank, so I am not sure if I included everything, but I hope so. It cost well over $100 much to Ian’s horror, but it was still cheaper and easier than buying an extra bag and paying for extra luggage…! Fingers crossed it makes it home safely.

We realised that we wouldn’t have time to stop off at Waikumete Cemetery, where one of my recently-discovered relatives is buried, much to my sadness. I was feeling a bit miserable that we don’t seem to be managing to do many of the things I suggest: Hells Gate, Waterworks (adventure park for Cornelia) and now this. Hmmm. Anyway, as I stropped silently, Ian continued on to the airport, still getting riled by drivers who overtook him to get one space ahead. We’ve done so much driving all over the world, and he still gets annoyed by this particular style of driving!

In the back, Cornelia sat quietly in her car seat, first colouring in her fairy book, then watching her Kindle. She is very patient on long car journeys, but I must confess, having the Kindle helps!  We needed to fill up the car with petrol, and managed to miss the turning, which meant a long circular route around the highway to get back to it again, adding an extra half an hour onto our arrival time at the airport.  Anyway, we returned the car easily enough, and piled into the waiting bus which would whisk us off to the domestic terminal.

Check in was quick and easy, and the staff were friendly enough, but just as we were approaching the security lanes for our check in area, a massive stream of people arrived, presumably from another security lane that had been closed for one reason or another, and we became stuck near the end of this queue, clock-watching as the time drew closer for our flight.  I suppose the benefit of not having any spare time means we don’t have to try and keep Cornelia amused or distracted while we wait. She was being especially annoying, dragging me backwards by my rucksack straps and holding onto my leg, so I couldn’t move forward, then yelling and screaming horribly if I removed her.  I managed to get around this by calling her Fido, her pretend dog name, and it worked a treat.  I just told her to “heel” and she stood perfectly by my side.  Genius!

The flight to Christchurch was only due to be an hour and a half, but we took off early and with the wind behind us, the flight time was less than an hour and a quarter.  First time that’s happened, I think!  Cornelia was good as gold on the flight, with only one incident which wasn’t her fault.  She opened the spout of her water bottle, and the change in pressure caused it to shoot out a jet of water and spray our neighbours behind us.  The man was quite stroppy about it and the woman smiled and told us not to worry.  The stewardess had spotted the spout of water and appeared with handfuls of napkins too, which was enormously helpful!  Cornelia tried to make amends by playing peek a boo with the man behind her, but I’m not sure he was any more pleased by her attempts at peace!

We arrived safely in Christchurch and collected our luggage, before making our way to the hire car collection point.  Ian rang Alamo and we were picked up within ten minutes and driven to their depot.  Jeff, the guy who had collected us, was also the person dealing with our car hire, and set about sorting us out.  Frustratingly, our previous car hire at Auckland (with the same company) hadn’t been closed off, so we had to wait while he sorted that out.  Once that was done, we were given a choice of a new Nissan Qashqai or a slightly more used Outlander. We went with the Qashqai, and Jeff opened the doors for us, and even stood in the rain to wave us off.  We couldn’t fault his customer service!

Our Top 10 campsite wasn’t far away – about a fifteen minute drive – and Cornelia joined me in reception as I checked in.  I could tell from her hyperactivity that she was getting tired, but as we hadn’t eaten, I knew we would be going straight out again, and potentially pushing her limits.  I was right.  Argh!  She was awful in the supermarket, and made everything take so much longer than it needed to, and because Ian & I were both tired and hungry, we probably didn’t deal with her very well, which just made matters worse.  I’ll spare you the details, but it was a miracle that we all made it back in one piece, with fish & chips for supper, and breakfast for the morning.  A decent meal helped calm her down ready for bed, then I stayed in with her until she had fallen asleep.  I was bloody knackered from all the emotion of it all, but pushed on through the evening, setting our itinerary and booking up the rest of our accommodation for the remainder of our time in South Island, before I collapsed into our (quite uncomfortable) bed!

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