6 December 2018
We all woke up at a decent time and while Ian and Cornelia had breakfast, I went out for a short run. I knew I would not be able to go later, because of our flight arriving in Australia late into the evening, and I was pleased with myself for getting up and out. It was very windy – the first mile out was into the wind and considerably slower than my second mile back with the wind behind me!
I scoffed my breakfast and Cornelia watched a bit of TV while Daddy and I packed up. We extended our check out by half an hour because we weren’t in a rush to get to Christchurch and it gave us a chance to pack thoughtfully!
Ian drove the short distance to park next to the playground, where Cornelia and I had walked. We had a wonderful our playing witches and wizards, and finding new ways to go down a slide. It is fair to say that there is no such thing as overuse of the word “Weeeeeeeeeee”!
Once we’d finished in the playground, we walked along the main street, past the impeccably-maintained wall memorial, to a café where Cornelia had a babyccino, and Ian and I had a coffee and tea respectively. Ian also ordered a coffee and walnut cake, which he ended up sharing three ways as it was simply the most delicious coffee and walnut cake I’ve ever had. To our great surprise, Cornelia devoured it – she thought it was delicious! Let’s hope there wasn’t too much coffee in it…! 😳
When we left the café Daddy and Cornelia walked back to the beach and I had a “quick look around” the tourist information and souvenir shop… When we reconvened on the beach, Cornelia was making a road in the sand with a stick, so I joined in and we created a whole town, complete with castle. She then drove me around the town stopping off at the supermarket, swimming pool etc….
Before we knew it, another hour had passed and we needed to be on our way. We decided to take the scenic route along the coast back to Christchurch and we were rewarded once again with magnificent and surreal views, climbing high along winding roads up to the ridge of the mountains that fell into the sea, It was pretty chilly with the temperature dropping to 9* as we turned onto Highway 75 once more, Christchurch-bound.
We were very hungry by now, as it was past 14:00, yet we had seen no cafes on our drive so far. Finally, as we drove into the small town of Little River (which was on the banks of a very large river) we spied a café, thoughtfully named the Little River Café where we had lunch. The food was pretty good, although we had a weird moment when I ordered the soup, and the waitress checked with the chef that they still had some, which he confirmed. Then about ten minutes later, she came out to apologise and say that they didn’t have any soup left after all, and would I mind ordering something else?! I didn’t mind, but it was really weird! Maybe he burned it?! Anyway, I replaced it with a potato and chive cake, asparagus, poached egg and hollandaise. The waitress was lovely and smiley and we very much enjoyed our swift lunch! It was located next to a most unusual accommodation facility – old silos that had been turned into apartments! Very cool!
On we went, arriving at the car hire place bang on schedule at 16:00, and we were on the shuttle bus to the airport fairly quickly. The airport was virtually empty, so Cornelia had plenty of room to play and she tired herself out perfectly in the kids’ play area. Ian and I took turns playing with her in there and looking at the shops. We had about $60 in cash that “needed to be used“ so I bought a couple of gifts. And although I tried to buy a T-shirt for me, neither x-small nor x-large (the available sizes) were looking good!
Our flight was a bit early, and in fact rather than a three hour flight as we had anticipated, it was two hours and 40 minutes. This is the first time we could have quite happily stayed on a plane for much longer! We had loads of leg room, the food was delicious, there were loads of entertainment options and Cornelia was delighted to have a wash bag, stickers, activity book, a blanket and a toy elephant and a little “translator”. Being an A380, the flight was also almost complete silent – an initially unnerving but subsequently welcome silence!
When we arrived at Sydney Airport, I was ready with our customs declarations forms, and we cleared passport control, collected our bags and made it through customs without our bags being emptied, despite the admission of oat bars, shells and jams. Cornelia singing Jingle Bells and having the officials joining in all helped! Despite it being long past 22:00 (NZ time), Bugsy was still in tip top shape, as we clambered aboard a taxi for the mile ride to our apartment.
Well. That bloody taxi driver was a complete rip off artist. He charged us $38 for a one mile drive. Even as tourists, I know that is wrong! He started manually adding to our fare – $16 at least – and when I asked him what that was for, he just ignored me and pretended not to understand / speak English. When he stopped, he said it was $38, to which I said, no, when we arrived it was $32, and he claimed the remaining $6 was for tolls. Then he didn’t have change for a $50 note, so he said, before passing me a $10 note and giving some change to Ian. It turned out this was 80c. Grrrr… anyway, with a child who was tiring, and tons of luggage, I didn’t want a stand-off with him, so we dragged our bags around the corner to our apartment and rang Velvet (our host) to let her know we were here. She was a lovely woman, keen to show us everything in the apartment, and very friendly. But as we had already eaten, all we really wanted to do was get Cornelia to bed, which wasn’t too difficult, amazingly. She was asleep by about 23:30 NZ time (21:30 Australia time). We stupidly stayed up and tried to put ourselves on “Straya” time, meaning that we didn’t go to bed until about midnight. D’oh!