Akaroa



I took a shuttle to Akaroa for a short day trip from Christchurch. It's a little town that was originally settled by French, so a lot of the street names are French. Sometimes it had a European feel to it. I walked around, had a muffin and coffee, and relaxed a bit before heading back to Christchurch that evening.





This was in someone's front yard.



The Garden of Tane is more like a thick patch of woods. I was a little nervous in some parts because it was a tad bit dark and there was no one around. There's also a cemetary there that I checked out.



This is a fantail bird. Their tails open up like fans. They move really fast and they'll follow you. This one was following too closely and it freaked me out a bit. I even started running.

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This is still the Garden of Tane. I was trying to do something silly with my angel friend, but it didn't work. Listen to the birds though. They're pretty cool. The dog just happened to be wandering...

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I got a map from the information center and went on a walk called the Happy Hollow walk. It's a 2-3 hour walk I think. Very nice, I especially liked the first bit, though quite steep. It takes you across farm land, so there were plenty of sheep.







Not sure exactly what this sign means. The end of the walk took me through a holiday park (camp ground) to get back to town.



I like these flowers because they look like they don't have any color, like they are in greyscale.

Christchurch



I took it easy th enext few days. In the evening I went to the internet place to do my income taxes, yuck!. Internet was $2NZ an hour from 6-10pm, so I'd eat dinner, go to internet, and come back to the hostel to watch movies.

This Cathedral Square



The Botanical Gardens are fabulous. When I was here 5 years ago, it was spring and I used to go to the gardens on the weekends with a book and sometimes my guitar. I'd spend hours there, sometimes napping for a few hours.





This is the small Avon river that runs through the city and the park.



This is of no interest to anyone, but this is where I used to work.


One of my favorite candy bars, pink marshmallow and caramel covered in chocolate.


The owner of the hostel has a son in a band called Human.

NZ Immigration

Oh New Zealand, how beautiful you are...but what a pain in the arse. I love traveling, but sometimes it's hard. After the Koala Sanctuary, I had just enough time to get back to the city to buy a toy wombat and head to the airport. Upon check-in I was told I could not be checked in for my flight because I did not have proof of a ticket leaving New Zealand. SHIIIIT!!! I had checked and planned ahead for Australian entry requirements but hadn't checked for New Zealand. So, I had to go to the travel agency at the airport and purchase my ticket back to the US before I could be checked in for my flight. Luckily I'd gotten to the airport with a fair amount of time. The guys at the travel desk were very friendly and they said this happens every day for flights to New Zealand. Ok, all good. But they could have told me that when I bought my one way ticket to New Zealand. They could have said, Oh, by the way, you'll need to bring proof of your ticket leaving New Zealand when you check in for your flight. Because even if you have just an e-ticket leaving New Zealand, they'll still make you go find an internet place and print out your itinerary as proof. So four hours later....I touch down in Christchurch, New Zealand. Yay...

New Zealand is very protective of their agriculture and wildlife here, so they're very strict on what you can bring into the country. Had I checked ahead, I would have known that honey is considered an animal product and is not permitted to be brought into New Zealand. Well, damn it. My precious Tasmanian honey!! I don't buy much stuff when I'm traveling, aside from food and adventure. And I'd debated whether I should buy this honey, but I tasted really good and i thought my mom would really like some. I was at the Salamanca Market in Hobart and bought this Leatherwood honey from this nice couple who run their own apiary. Leatherwood honey has a strong flavor and is unique to Tasmania. I'd bought a jar for my mom and a smaller jar for myself. It was a happy purchase. So, I declared all my food when I entered New Zealand. All of my food except the honey (my precious honey!) was cleared. They even checked my hiking shoes and had them disinfected. They seized my little jar of honey, but I had packed my other jar in my big backpack. Before you leave the terminal, they X-ray everyone's bags to see if you're lying. They found my other jar of honey this way. I got a scolding from the immigration dude for not telling him about the jar in my pack. He didn't fine me though. Whew...that would have been $220NZ. The honey only cost me about $8, but I didn't even get to enjoy it!

By the time all that was over, nearly everyone else from the plane had left. When I got outside, there was only one shuttle left, and I was the last and only passenger. By then it was already 12:30am and I was exhausted and frustrated. I had booked a few nights at the hostel I stayed at 5 years ago when I was working in Christchurch. It's a lovely women's hostel called Frauenreisehaus. They knew I was arriving late, so there was this note waiting for me when I arrived.


I felt much better already! The place hasn't changed much at all. I realxed for a while, had a cup of tea, some instant noodles, read some gossip mags and crawled into my fully made-up bed. What a luxury! It sucks arriving late and trying to make your bed on the top bunk in the dark when everyone in the room is sleeping. Well, sorry for the long boring post. Next!

My room, quite roomy. My bed is the one on the left with the light on.


The green thing is the light switch.

Brisbane - Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary



BEWARE OF EXTREME CUTENESS
The morning of my flight to New Zealand, I had planned to get a $10 haircut at the Brisbane School of Hairdressing. But when I woke up, I felt truly compelled to hold a koala before I left. I think I may have been trying to grasp at anything distinctly Aussie that I couldn't do in New Zealand. So I took a bus to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and saw and held some koalas.


The koala on the right is a southern koala. Same species, but the ones in southern Australia have darker, thicker fur.





The one on the right is the one I held. So cute! Check out the lady holding the one to the left. How precious is that!


Koalas do make noises, too. The male ones make loud growling noises for mating. This one was a kiddie koala, only a few years old.

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This is a mother and a baby koala. I probably disturbed them with my flash. The baby crawled back inside the pouch after I took the photo. The baby was actually eating from the mother's butt. The mums produce something in their faeces that is rich in digestive bacteria the babies need.


On to the roos!
This place also had an area where you could feed and pet kangaroos and wallabies. I was lucky enough to see this mother and joey. Baby koalas and roos all in one day!




Brisbane - Matt Costa

I headed to Brisbane a day before my flight to Christchurch so I could catch Matt Costa at the Zoo. I stayed at Bunk Backpackers because it was only a few blocks from the venue. I had booked an 8 bed female room, but I ended up in a room with 7 other dudes. Oh well, I actually preferred the room to the one Aileen and I stayed in last time. They have walls between the bunks, and the room didn't smell like toilet like the last room.


Matt Costa at the Zoo in Brisbane, April 6th, 2008.





Goodbye Noosa

This was 3:00am. Kate had to catch the shuttle to Brisbane for her morning flight back to Japan. James was determined to make pancakes before she left.



This is a few hours later when I left to go back to Brisbane.

Mt. Cooroy and Cooroora




I'll try to get more on this later. I'm trying to catch up on my blogging.

Noosa - At the beach!

Saturday morning we all got up early and headed to the beach with James to go surfing. Well, James and his dad surfed while the girls sayed on the beach.


This is James taking me out for my first wave. So far it's been my only wave. I rode the wave back on my stomach. Great fun, too bad I had to leave the next morning.


Afterwards, we had a nice brekkie


This is actually a different day, but it's the same beach.

Noosa





We got back to Noosa on Friday and cooked stir-fry noodles and baked banana bread. That night James took us out in his boat on the Noosa River. We stopped in town to get ice cream. I borrowed some of photos from Aileen's blog because I don't have my disc with me. thanks A!