Monday, March 10, 2014

New Zealand Day 27: from Tekapo to Christchurch

Last night's clouds cleared overnight and we woke to a sunny blue day. Since B hadn't been able to go on the nighttime observatory tour, we wanted to bring her up the mountain this morning for a hot chocolate at the cafe and a look at the views.

In the parking lot, we found a twin campervan!

I actually spent the whole time in the cafe trying to arrange our lodging for Christchurch. But B and Alex wandered around outside and assure me (with these photos for proof) that the views were great!

This is looking down on the little town of Tekapo:

Some examples of the amazing photography work:

My favorite sign:

Then it was off to Christchurch. A little ways along in our drive, we saw a hitchhiker and pulled over, picking up Sebastian from Belgium, who was finishing up 3 months in NZ and heading for 3 more in Australia.

He stuck with us through a lovely lunch in Geraldine...

...and then once into Christchurch I dropped Alex off at the International Antarctic Centre (the other big thing on his wish list besides stargazing) and Sebastian off downtown.

The following photos are from Alex's trip to the Antarctic Centre, which he has a particular interest in because of his masters work on the solar-powered Antarctic robot. As I write this, he's just finished a day of travel to get back home to NH so is not in a position to blog. He may chime in with more details once he recovers!

The IAC, in addition to being a tourist attraction/museum, is the base for the US Antarctic Program.

An inside snowstorm:

Alex all kitted out. Maybe someday!

He was able to see a couple of the American planes on the tarmac outside.

Love this one:

We settled into the Christchurch Top 10, enjoyed the great playground complete with "jumping pillow," which I'd never seen before, and had Thai food for Alex's last night.

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