Day 17 - Thursday 07 March – Blue and gold…
Our last full day any Zealand although our flight home isn't until 18:45 tomorrow. We drove along to Akaroa in the Otago region of New Zealand and also on the way to Christchurch. We stopped at some amazing viewpoints by Lake Tekapo, including the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd and a memorial to ‘Friday’ (Mckenzie’s Collie dog). Alas we couldn't get near to the church because a Chinese couple were getting married there. But we did see ‘Friday’ and take photos of the Collie dog statue. I like dogs better anyway.
It had been very dry in most parts of New Zealand while we were there and I took photos of a 'two-thirds-empty' river bed as we drove past it.
Akaroa is a very peaceful coastal town lovely old wooden architecture alongside some modern bits. It is a very relaxing place with a tidal Harbour and lots of sailing boats; quite a fitting and relaxed end to our New Zealand tour. We were sad to leave Mount Cook today. We all met at the ‘Bully Hayes Café’ for a three course meal at Explore’s expense this evening. The food was lovely. I had a Thai yellow curry and coconut soup for starter; and Gurnard fish and potato in a rich tomato sauce with steamed veg’ for my main; with Mojito Cheesecake for desert yum!! Amazing food. We both had a glass of wine too.
Robert did some ‘Awards for the best’... Jeff got best arty photographer. I got an award for promoting the New Zealand health services. Neil got an award for his famous quote 'I didn't come halfway around the world to not do the Tongariro crossing'; which was the quote that resulted in us all doing the walk. Some people in the group are going on to travel more. Only a few of us who are still working will be going home. Oh to be young and still working eh? The Akaroa Criterion Motel is lovely. We have got an apartment with a kitchen area, dining table and lovely bathroom. There is even a separate makeup removing face cloth in the bathroom along with everything you could possibly need! I do like the motels here. The lady in reception even went to the shop to get me some gluten-free bread. It's going to be very weird saying goodbye to everyone tomorrow. You're thrown into a group of people you don't know and then just as you begin to get to know them it's time to say goodbye. We've shared our email addresses to share photos. Hopefully we will keep in touch a bit.