Wellington and Christchurch are separated by about 200 miles and the Cook Strait. There are various ways to make the journey. By far the quickest option is to fly. Air New Zealand fly between the two cities in 45 minutes for about £100 or Jet Star’s service takes about 55 minutes for about half the cost. This could be the option if you’re pushed for time but in my opinion you miss out on a treat.
We whizzed past fields with some of those famous sheep, hills, rivers and the Pacific Ocean itself. The commentary told us to look out for seals on the rocks near Kaikoura but however much I squinted and scoured the beach I couldn’t spot one of these allusive creatures.
Had the train departed Picton on time it was due to arrive in to Christchurch just after 6pm. Our earlier delay meant that it was dark before we got in to our destination. I had intended on getting a bus in to town but it was after 9pm, dark and I really hadn’t got my bearing. I ended up getting in a shuttle bus, conveniently there were these minibuses waiting outside the station to take passengers in to town for a nominal per person charge. Since I hadn’t planned on paying for dinner on the train I didn’t have enough cash. Luckily the driver agreed to stop at an ATM in town. He wasn’t very impressed when I then wanted change from a $50 note. But what was I supposed to do?
|Pre-earthquake Cathedral Sqaure – unfortunately the cathedral was destroyed|
Christchurch is a fantastic city and it’s important that tourists continue to make the journey. To help visitors access up to date information following the earthquakes Lonely Planet have released the Christchurch chapter of their upcoming guidebook update as a free download. Visit the fab Canterbury and Christchurch Tourism website for up-to-date information. When you go to New Zealand please include Christchurch in your itinerary and consider my journey as you really feel immersed in the scenery.